Dinosaur Summer Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1 1999
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Remember Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, in which an expedition led by Professor George Edward Challenger discovered an Amazonian plateau where dinosaurs still roamed? In Dinosaur Summer, Greg Bear assumes that Challenger's expedition really took place, and that for nearly 50 years dinosaurs have been relatively commonplace in zoos and circuses throughout the world. But the beasts are not easily kept in captivity, and slowly but surely their numbers are dwindling. Now there is only one dinosaur circus left, and it's shutting down. The dinosaur trainer wants to return his animals to the wild, so an expedition is organized to return the dinos to their nearly inaccessible plateau. Accompanying the group (which includes special-effects master Ray Harryhausen) is 15-year-old Peter Belzoni, the son of the National Geographic photographer covering the story. The boy is about to have the adventure of a lifetime. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
Fantasy built on a fantasyin Bear's alternative 1947, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World wasn't fiction, but fact!mingling real and imaginary characters with a quite unbelievable hodgepodge of defiantly unextinct beasties from the Carboniferous on up. Circus Lothar, the last dinosaur circus, is closing down, and its animal trainer, Vince Shellabarger, is determined to return his charges to their home, the isolated Venezuelan plateau of El Grande discovered by Professor Challenger in 1912. National Geographic's Anthony Belzoni will cover the event, assisted by his 15-year-old son Peter. Filming the cavalcade will be Willis ``OBie'' O'Brien (of King Kong fame) and special effects/animation genius Ray Harryhausen. The tough journey is made more difficult by the Venezuelan Army's quarrel with both the politicos and the local Indians. Still, the expedition reaches the rickety bridge leading on to El Grande, and most of the animals cross safely. But Dagger, a vicious predator, escapes from his cage; predictably, the bridge falls, marooning Peter, Anthony, OBie, Ray, and Billie, an Indian pursuing a spirit quest. After various adventuresthe group is menaced by critters ranging from giant salamanders and hungry therapsids to huge ``death eagles''they make it back, minus assorted limbs and teeth, bearing a couple of precious eggs. Amiable, sometimes stirring incident-packed baloney: a yarn that screams I wanna be a movie! (illustrations) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
But even if you have no idea who O'Brien, Harryhausen, Merian C. Cooper or Ernest Schoedsack are, if you love dinosaurs and/or adventure this book is a can't-miss winner. And as an added bonus the art of Tony DiTerlizzi found throughout the book-in B/W and Color-captures wonderfully the spirit of adventure and imagination that fuels the story.
As an aside, to those who have complained that the creatures inhabiting the plateau are not the dinos they would like to see; What do you want? More of Crichton's Velociraptors and rexes? Hey, don't tell me the Altovenator wasn't cool (and pretty darn close to the real-life Afrovenator.) Likewise, the Death Eagle is quite a remarkable beast and not too far removed from actual prehistoric counterparts in Titanis walleri, Phorusrachus, etc.
So if you love dinos but were dissapointed by some of the less-than-stellar efforts lately (Crichton's "Lost World", both page and screen, come to mind as well as JP3 and Dismal's...er...uh...Disney's "Dinosaur") "Dinosaur Summer" is just the ticket. Dig up those old "Famous Monsters" magazines, pop some popcorn and dig in!
I can't help comparing this to DINOSAUR WARS, another recent dinosaur science fiction offering, and first of a series. In that saga, the entire world is beset by dinosaurs and the human characters are trapped by events beyond their control. The fate of humanity is at stake. Furthermore DINOSAUR WARS' dinos are realistic depictions of known Cretaceous critters, not arbitrary creations like Bear's Venator. This means you can learn about Pachyrhinosaurus, Megaraptor and such while reading a scary and exciting adventure story. Hopp's Professor Ogilvey matches Doyle's Challenger in wit, and exceeds him in hilarity. Bear's Shellabarger and other circus and Hollywood types don't quite cut it, though not bad. Bear's addition of a kid is a good element. On the other hand, the hero of DINOSAUR WARS, Chase Armstrong and the heroine, Kit Daniels, make a convincing romantic pair who add to the overall beauty of the read -- women were almost totally lacking in DINOSAUR SUMMER, as in THE LOST WORLD. DINOSAUR WARS mixes males and females in roughly equal proportions -- rare, for an adventure story.
I thought DINOSAUR SUMMER was an enjoyable book, but whatever you do, don't miss DINOSAUR WARS and the new sequel, COUNTERATTACK.
Most recent customer reviews
This book reads like either, A) an early effort written before a good author learns pacing and plot development, or B) a movie or television treatment flushed out to book... Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2003
Jurassic Park meets Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World in this unpretentious story about a group of adventurers returning circus dinosaurs back to the wild. Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2001 by Rex Babiera
This is an exciting lost world dinosaurs story. It really seems pitched at young readers rather than adults, and not only due to its teenage hero. Read morePublished on May 30 2001 by tertius3
Definitely the weakest of all of Greg Bear's books. Not up to his usual standards of originality or depth. It'd be a good book for Jr. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 1999
I'm not surprised that this book has been underrated by many readers. It comes from another age, when Doyle and Burroughs were the hottest adventure writers around. Read morePublished on July 27 1999 by D. Thierry
Greg Bears new book is a test! A test of one's patience, intelligence and SF devotion. The first half reads like a poorly written travel log and than the plot takes a very... Read morePublished on June 30 1999
I don't know about the Lost World that Bear refers to, but this is certainly a lost opportunity! To get to the 60 pages or so of reasonably exciting (if predictable) material, the... Read morePublished on May 15 1999
This book picks you right up, puts you on its shoulders and strides strongly forth for a REAL adventure. Read morePublished on Feb. 24 1999 by J. Lundgren