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A Twist in the Tale
on November 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.