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End of An Era [Paperback]

Robert J. Sawyer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 19 2001
Archaeologist Brandon Thackery and his rival Miles 'Klicks' Jordan fulfill a dinosaur lover's dream with history's first time-travel jaunt to the late Mesozoic. Hoping to solve the extinction mystery, they find Earth's gravity is only half its 21st century value and dinosaurs that behave very strangely. Could the slimey blue creatures from Mars have something to do with both?

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Don't pick up End of an Era unless you're prepared to have a good time. Robert J. Sawyer's novel is a lively mix of time travel, dinosaurs, and a classic love triangle. It's a lot of fun, a bit like listening to a musician who you know is playing for the sheer joy of it. End of an Era pays tribute to those old time-travelling dinosaur-hunter stories where one misstep changes the course of history. Sawyer updates the science, both physics and paleontology, and adds an old-fashioned career/romance rivalry between the two time travellers. When he throws in a mystery regarding the gravity of Earth in the distant past, along with some fairly strange Martians, the whole thing becomes the SF equivalent of a new roller-coaster ride, made up of familiar parts but shinier and more thrilling than the old one. End of an Era is the kind of book with pleasures for both the new and experienced SF reader. The story on its own terms is entertainingly written, and for the reader of the classics can enjoy spotting the references and tributes to stories past. --Greg L. Johnson

From Booklist

Veteran archaeologist Brandon Thackery fulfills a dinosaur lover's dream when he and colleague-best friend Miles "Klicks" Jordan take history's first time-traveling jaunt back to the late Mesozoic. Hoping to solve the great mystery of dinosaur extinction, Brandon and Klicks use the newly discovered Huang Effect to backtrack into Earth's 65-million-year past. There they discover not only that the earth's gravity is half its twenty-first-century value but that the beings responsible for this are blue-slime creatures from Mars that manipulate the dinosaurs like pawns. Meanwhile, back in an alternate time line in which no Huang Effect exists, Brandon discovers an outrageous laptop diary, apparently written by himself, that relates all these incredible adventures; he tracks down a previously unknown Dr. Huang for an explanation. Sawyer parlays his enduring enthusiasm for dinosaurs--his last three novels featured them--into refreshing fun and thought-provoking entertainment. He'll satisfy his own fans and those of dinosaurs and old-fashioned time-traveling yarns, too. Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars End of an Era Indeed Feb. 13 2004
By A Customer
This is the first of Sawyer's books that I did not enjoy. I thought the combination of dinosaurs and time-travel would be a winning combination. That's what I get for thinking. The plot was boring and a bit far-fetched for my tastes. There's a certain level of believability that I like and this one didn't fall within the parameters. The characters were dull or irritating. The dino encounters were lackluster. The plot was, to me, a bit silly. The sub-plots, even sillier. I would be more specific but it would require me to give away plot points in the book. I may be critical but I don't wish to ruin anyone elses read. They may find the book delightful. I did not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review Of "End Of An Era" By Robert J. Sawyer Jan. 9 2006
Dinosaurs are fantastical creatures that once existed. How cool is that?! Stories about dinosaurs are cool too, if told well. End Of An Era is a fun, quick read about scientists travelling to the Mesozoic, hoping to figure out why dinosaurs became extinct, when they discover that aliens had something to do with it. The story has elements of Robert Heinlein's classic The Puppet Masters, along with interesting facts about dinosaurs, and a compelling story.
All of Sawyer's books are interesting to read, and I've read most of them. My main complaint is his writing style: it's simple; he seems to intentionally write with little imagery or style, using colloquialisms and cultural references too much. Yet, his ideas are fascinating, and he knows how to get his point across. I've read most of his books more than once; they are fun to read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Twist in the Tale Nov. 23 2003
This book has an intriguing idea for an alternate history of the earth. And, true to Sawyer's roots, it takes place in Canada and mentions real Canadian locations and institutions, such as the Royal Tyrrell Museum of dinosaurs in the badlands of Drumheller, Alberta. Two scientists go back 65 million years to the extinction of the dinosaurs, to try to verify the cause. The expedition is launched from the Royal Tyrrell Museum Field Station at Dinosaur Provincial Park in an under-equipped time capsule. What they find is much more than just dinosaurs. They find an alien life-form from Mars using the dinosaurs as vehicles. The two scientists disagree on whether to bring the aliens forward in time to save them from the drying-out of Mars.
There's another twist to the tale: this is about alternate histories, after all...
As usual, Sawyer's prose is no more than workmanlike, but he keeps us intriqued with a flow of new ideas, cutting between his alternate histories, and enough personal conflict and feeling to get us involved with his main character.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rollicking fun Feb. 27 2003
By A Customer
End of an Era is rollicking fun science fiction with many twists. Plots and ideas come naturally to Sawyer but the seams pop when he attempts modern characterization. Give him credit for trying, though.
While I love his page-a-minute ideas, his explanations of mundane events strain credibility. For example, why was the time travel venture so low budget they needed to buy second-hand goods (p. 53)? His explanation of a world recession (p. 95) is ridiculous - Sawyer has never been good at economics but this just made me laugh. Meanwhile, Sawyer would have us think a time travel venture needs good PR (p. 53). Also, why were 2 rivals (only 2 for this mission?) sent back in time? The explanation on p. 148 was hardly satisfying (i.e. mission control spent a lot of time debating it). Finally, why doesn't Thackeray identify himself as a doctor to a fellow scientist (p. 78)? The scientist refuses to listen to him until Thackeray mentions he's a doctor on p. 132. The reason for the delay, of course, is to have the resolution of this plot line occur later in the novel.
Despite these minor quibbles, the novel's far-fetched ideas had me smiling throughout the book. The writing is crisp and the twists hooked me until the end. Sawyer's knowledge of paleontology and physics kept the science fiction elements believable. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking fun science fiction. Like many of the reviewers, I also enjoyed other Sawyer books such as Terminal Experiment and Starplex.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tyrannosaurs and . . . Twinkies?? Feb. 28 2002
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Robert Sawyer restores the "science" in "S-F" as no other writer can. As he transports two men 65 million years into the past, he offers us a sampling of everything from the anthropic principle through geology to zoology. He's able to reconcile the paradoxes raised by time travel [including a nod to the most famous example, Ray Bradbury's "The Sound of Thunder"] and set them aside plausibly. Sawyer also illuminates the contribution of Canada's researchers in nearly all these disciplines with subdued fervour. And scourges politicians for their failure to support science. All this in just over two hundred pages is no small feat.
The theme of End of an Era recounts the probable cause of the dinosaurs' extinction. Sawyer uses the story to review the thinking resulting from the Alvarez proposal that a wandering asteroid so disrupted the environment that all the large sauropods died out, leaving the planet an open niche for mammalian life. If an asteroid didn't kill off the dinosaurs, what did? The most discussed option is an era of massive vulcanism which would have the same effect. But Sawyer, with his gift of imagination, introduces a new option. Again, his concept has a sound scientific base and he describes it at some length. His presentation is impressive and well delivered. And a terrifying surprise.
Along with his scientific foundation, Sawyer paints realistic characters. The protagonist is a paleontologist with the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto [Sawyer's lucky, he lives close to his sources], and one can't help but wonder who the model might be. Brandon Thackeray, in the midst of devastating mid-life crises, is chosen as one of the two time travellers. His team-mate couldn't have been a worse choice for such an assignment - he's taken up with Brandon's ex-wife.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love roberts books
enjoyable escape to watch over and over, love sci fi channel shows, added to my collection for rainy days and wintery nights
Published 13 months ago by Gerri
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Odd
I was expecting more of a "Jurassic Park" novel, so thid was a bit of a surprise. It's an OK read, but the characters are one-dimensional. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by dandysmom
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Dino book I read (jeff)
End of an Era is a great book about two scientists who go back in time to see how the dinosuars died. It has some mystery, and theories on how the dinosaurs died. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Time Travel with a Twist
END OF AN ERA is a time travel novel back to the era of dinosaurs. Not only do we find dinosaurs but the galaxy itself is active with sentient beings - including Martians. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible edibles
This one really got me thinking. Dinosaurs infected with intelligent viruses? Like Dinotopia meets The Body Snatchers. Time travel. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Alway Good Robert Saywer
If you are looking for a entertaining "what if" type author, Robert Saywer is the author to buy. Read more
Published on July 30 2002 by Shane Jaworski
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprising cartoon
With this one, Sawyer bends the rules a little more. The basis of this novel are less... convincing than what Sawyer usually offers. However, it also is lighter. Read more
Published on July 25 2002 by Yves-François Blanchet
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent light read
Intersting premise, but not a serious sci-fi novel. Maybe I'm spoiled by the likes of "A Fire Upon the Deep," "A Deepness in the Sky," The Heechee books, the... Read more
Published on May 5 2002 by James R
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
While not as good as some of Sawyer's other work (e.g., Far-Seer, Starplex, and Factoring Humanity), it is a good book. Read more
Published on March 21 2002 by Ken
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