Heroine or Damsel in Distress

Traversing the Parallel Universes of Timeline’s Kate Erickson

  • Kristine Larsen Central Connecticut State University


While Michael Crichton’s novels have been criticized for their shallow characterizations, shifts in the depictions of female scientists made in the adaptation of his works to the big screen raise far more significant concerns. This essay focuses on one such character, Kate Erickson of Timeline, following her evolution from novel through intermediate screenplay to feature film. Comparisons are drawn to Jurassic Park’s Ellie Sattler, demonstrating a troubling trend of diminished scientific agency and increased reliance on romantic attachment. Such characterizations play into common negative stereotypes of female scientists in popular media, as noted by Roslynn Haynes, Eva Flicker, and Jocelyn Steinke, which send a potentially chilling message to viewers about the role of women in science.

Author Biography

Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University

Dr. Kristine Larsen is Professor of Astronomy in the Geological Sciences Department at Central Connecticut State University