I became interested in this book after seeing it on the "other books that might interest you" portion of Amazon's web site. As an avid follower of science fiction, particularly hard sci-fi, I was naturally intrigued by the plot. I'll start with the positive elements of this book.
First, the concept of time travel is a tough premise to work with, for any writer. And, for a newbie, Swanwick pulls this portion of the book off quite well. He intrigues the reader by showing possible paradoxes, causality infractions and plain and simple "fun" with temporal mechanics. The science behind this marvel is for the most part unexplained throughout the book - which is something most hard core sci-fi fans will continusouly thirst for.
Second, although I'm not a dino-guy when it comes to my fiction (unless you're talking about Jules Verne), Swanwick does a great job of tapping into the reader's inner-child (you know, the one who was fascinated by dinos as a kid). This makes the story more fun, and provides a few genuinely entertaining moments throughout the book.
Now for the negative.
What is with this author's fascination over the "F" word? I will never understand why writers feel the need to use this modern "uber-cool" gutter-mouth vernacular. It doesn't make the story seem any more "real" to me. I mean, we're dealing with live dinosaurs and time travel, it's not like the gratuitous use of this word will make me relate to the characters in a more meaningful way.
Then there are unnecessary sex scenes. Swanwick, on more than one occasion, goes from technobabble to cheesy romance novel in the space of a few, poorly written paragraphs. C'mon. We don't want this kind of junk messing up good sci-fi. If I want to read about group orgies, I'll buy an adult magazine. Please keep my sci-fi clean.
Overall, this book has a lot of wasted potential. This book could have been a great force to get kids interested in modern paleontology, but instead goes for cheap ratings among the sexually frustrated crowd. It's a good concept gone bad with inadequate writing experience and horrible language. I will not refer this book to any of my friends.