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Re: Dino fiction



Another interesting story (a short story, this time) about dinosaurs
resurrected from DNA is R. Steel's "The Trembling Earth" (which was in
_Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine_ some years ago, and is probably
in Steel's anthology, the title of which I can't recall...)[Friday is here:
My mind is going, Dave, I can feel it...]

In any case, the premise behind "The Trembling Earth" is that three
Deinonychus are resurrected from preserved DNA and placed in a reservation
in Florida.  The dinosaurs are nicknamed "Michael", "Freddy", and "Jason"
(after the villains of classic slasher-punk film series).  I liked this
story somewhat better than Jurassic Park, because:
a) no cute kids!;
b) Deinonychus is portrayed as fairly quick and bright, but not the
super-dinos of JP;
c) Steel used "Deinonychus" instead of "Velociraptor" (Boola boola)
d) show business had nothing to do with the DNA project (a gripe I have
with a lot of Spielberg's work, not just JP);
e) it was set in the near future, a more appropriate setting for the
technology required in building a dinosaur from DNA fragments (a gripe I
have esp. with the novel of JP: the microelephant was incredibly
unrealistic for 1980s technology).

I've heard rumors that the story was optioned for film, but I don't know if
anyone is producing it at the moment.

Also: re: Anne McCaffery's Dinosaur Planet novels - I found it had a
mediocre plot with some interesting points, but (worse) uninteresting
dinosaurs.  IMHO, not some of her better work.

Also: highly recommended, but no dinosaurs: Julian May's _Saga of Pliocene
Exile_ (4 novels: The Many-Colored Land; The Golden Torc; The Nonborn King;
The Advesary).  Set during the latest Miocene and earliest Pliocene (by the
old definition, the Mio-Pliocene boundary occurs in the last few chapters
of the Golden Torc!), it has one of the best paleontologist characters I've
ever read.  When I started working at the survey, the term "Pliocene Exile"
took on an even greater significance for me...

                                
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.                                   
tholtz@geochange.er.usgs.gov
Vertebrate Paleontologist in Exile                  Phone:      703-648-5280
U.S. Geological Survey                                FAX:      703-648-5420
Branch of Paleontology & Stratigraphy
MS 970 National Center
Reston, VA  22092
U.S.A.