Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Mini-Review: Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick

Sometimes worlds do actually collide. While my alter-ego on the internet (who I colloquially call Neth) is well known in certain areas of the internet, I do have a real world identity that includes me being a trained geologist. While it’s not the cliché that many would think, I do love dinosaurs. Neth loves what he’s read from Michael Swanwick and when Swanwick writes about dinosaurs in Bones of the Earth (Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon) worlds collide.
In many ways, Bones of the Earth is Jurassic Park written by a much more likeable author. They both involve dinosaurs, they both involve science fiction (genetic engineering in Jurassic Park and time travel in Bones of the Earth), and they are both something of a thriller in nature easily adaptable to the likes of Hollywood. My instinct is to call Bones of the Earth a smart person’s Jurassic Park, though I admit that this is likely due to my dislike of Crichton and doesn’t really reflect what I actually thought of Jurassic Park the first few times I read it (I loved it back in the ‘90s).
Regardless, Bones of the Earth is an intelligent mash-up of dinosaurs and time travel where paleontologists are presented with an opportunity to study actual living dinosaurs in their actual habitat. As expected, it follows the rubric of presenting a few somewhat crazy ideas as scientific possibilities in a thoroughly entertaining manner. Where Bone of the Earth does distinguish itself is in the people. This book is as much a story of how people and their personalities interact with others and in time – after all, time travel often presents the opportunity for a younger self to interact with an older self. And time travel paradoxes are always fun.
Bones of the Earth is fun and I very much enjoyed it. Swanwick is a very good author and everytime I read his books I wander why I’m not reading more of them. The book is probably best summed up in the simple equation below.
Dinosaurs are cool. Time travel is cool. Dinosaurs + time travel = really, really cool.


Bob Milne said...

Awesome. I've been meaning to read this for a while now, but haven't talked to many people who have read it. Nice to know that somebody who reads AND knows dinosaurs enjoyed it. :)

Neth said...

Well, keep in mind that some the 'scientific findings' about dinosaurs in this book are pure science fiction. But they are fun, entertaining, a cool sort of 'what if'.


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