The Lost Dinosaurs Of Egypt (review)

Looks like there is still one more post in my influences series for Narmer and the God Beast.

That last influence being . . . The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt.

This book ended up being a really inspiring read although I’ll admit that I did put it down once, and did not finish it until long after I’d written both NATGB and my novel set in the same universe.

Essentially, The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt is more about people than it is about dinosaurs. It tells the story of two discoveries within the Bahariya Formation in Egypt. The first, is the original survey of the oasis during 1910 and 1911 by a German paleontologist named Ernst Stromer. Stromer is credited with the discovery of several dinosaurs from the region, namely: Aegyptosaurus (currently the name of my novel), Bahariasaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and the incredibly weird and bad-ass Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.

We also get the story of the ‘Bahariya Dinosaur Project’ which consisted of many paleontologists and geologists (in no particular order): Joshua Smith,  Matthew C. LamannaKenneth J. LacovaraPeter Dodson, Jennifer R. Smith, Jason Charles Poole (called Chewie by the group), Robert Giegengack and Yousri Attia. It seems they found many different fossils during their trip in the 1999 and the winter of 2000, but will mostly be remembered for their discovery of a new Sauropod named Paralititan Stromeri (the God Beast in NATGB).

Sounds Awesome, Why Put it Down?

Correct it is awesome. I learned so much reading this book, but when I first picked it up, I was simply not uncovering the types of information I was looking for. I think I came to the book hoping that it would be more dinosaur centric. I had read the wikipedia pages for each of the dinosaurs referenced above and was completely fascinated by them. I wanted to go deeper into what they were like and how they really lived. What did they eat? How did they move? Or raise their young?

And to TLDOE’s credit, it does open with a pretty speculative section about the Paralititan which the Bahariya Dinosaur Project found, but it is only a page or so long and then we move on to the tragedy of how the dinosaur fossils were lost. This section is mainly about air force pilots, and military technology. World War I things.

It just wasn’t what I came to the book for . . .

But after trying again?

Picking up the book later though, after most of the writing was complete, I found it much more enjoyable. It was cool to see the parallels between Stromer’s work, and the Bahariya Dino Project’s (they even discovered some of Stromer and Markgraf’s old dig sites with plaster still in the ground from nearly 100 years ago!). I found the history of paleontology discussed within the book fascinating. And was proud to recognize a few names I learned in Why Dinosaurs Matter (indeed the author of that book, Kenneth Lacovara, was part of the ‘Barhariya Dinosaur Project’).

Generally getting to know the team members of ‘The Bahariya Dinosaur Project’ was fun as well. Apparently two members of the team are drummers (Lacovara, and Joshua Smith) and they recounted a bit about traditional Egyptian music and drumming which, as a drummer myself, I probably could have read a whole other book on (makes me wonder if there’s some deeper connection between liking drums and liking dinosaurs?).

There was also some really interesting information about traveling in Egypt, and what to watch out for, both in terms of people and wildlife (apparently Egypt is home to the most venomous scorpion in the world, foot long poisonous centipedes and camel spiders which apply an anesthetic to their prey before eating them . . . they’ll have half your face chewed off before you even wake up from sleeping . . . nope nope nope!)

But I think what I enjoyed the most which the book also explores, is some of the science behind Geology and Paleontology. I didn’t know much about how things are named or even what the different time periods of the earth’s history were. This book found a way to describe all of that without making it a boring lecture.

Finally, there were the fossils themselves. Not everything discovered at Bahariya was a dinosaur, and this book delved into those other finds a bit as well. I learned about prehistoric marine snakes (Simoliophis), some whales (Zeuglodon Osiris or Basilosaurus), and Paleomastadon. All creatures I’d like to add to future Egypt and dino adventures (one even has Osiris in the name . . . it writes itself really).

Then, towards the end of the book, what the Oasis must have looked like 95 million years ago. THIS!! This was what I had been wanting to read the whole time. I learned about prehistoric mangrove forests which Paralititan’s long neck would have helped it eat huge swaths of without having to move much (so the general conception of sauropods having long necks to reach high branches seems debunked in Bahariya at least where the long neck would have helped them reach outward not upward). And (at least part of) the answer to the mystery of how so many theropods (the clade of which all meat eating dinos are a part of) could have existed in the same area. They were feeding on the massive Paralititans!

So . . . it was good?

Yes! The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt was an incredible read. Packed full of information, and generally well written. The copy I’m using is from the library, but I will probably end up buying my own copy to serve as a reference going forward. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a good Dino read.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading all of this. Please let me know what your favorite dino is in the comments. From Bahariya? Or anywhere really. See you next time!


Still here? Awesome. I hope you enjoyed The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt (review). As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was a major influence on my own story, Narmer and the God Beast. I revealed the story’s amazing cover art and blurb a few weeks ago, illustrated for me by Lee Eschliman and I’ve been posting a bunch about my influences for this story all last month. The story’s official launch was on October 4th. If you like anything you’ve seen so far, you can head over to Amazon and order it now.

If you want more of my writing, please check out my fiction page, or consider signing up for my newsletter at https://jdweber.news/EgyptAndDinos. It will give you access to exclusive fiction, special offers, and just my general life and nonsense (here’s a sample newsletter). Just for signing up I’ll send you an email with the very first story I ever wrote about a Warlock Doctor.

Thanks for your time, and I hope to see you around here more!

ICYMI: Narmer and the God Beast Live on Amazon!

Well, the title pretty much says it all, but I’ll still put a little bit of text here because I’d like to reward you for the click.

Monday saw the release of the first story in my ‘Egypt and Dinosaurs’ universe. Narmer and the God Beast tells the tale of a boy and his dragon, only that boy is a young king Narmer, the first Pharaoh of Egypt, and the dragon is a 30 ton dinosaur (paralititan stromeri, the Tidal Giant, to be precise). Together they can unite Egypt, but first they must endure and overcome Narmer’s brother Bahek’s cruelty . . .

I had an amazing cover done by Lee Eschliman, and have been ranting on all month about my influences for the short story and how the idea came to be. You can see the list of posts here:

Finally, if you’ve liked anything you’ve seen on this page so far and are hoping for more of this kind of thing in your life, I recommend signing up for my newsletter. It gives you access to exclusive fiction, special offers, and updates about my general life and nonsense (here’s a sample newsletter). Just for signing up I’ll send you an email with the very first story I ever wrote about a Warlock Doctor.

Anyway, thanks all for reading. This has been something I’ve waited so long to share with everyone, and a bit of a wild ride to get to this moment. I’m so thankful I was able to do this at all, and I’m hopeful there will be so much more where this came from (read as sequels and a novel! Lol).

As always, please let me know your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading all this and I’ll see you next time!

From the Primordial Ooze: The Genesis of an Idea

In Ancient Egyptian myth, it was thought that the world rose up from the primordial waters of chaos, in the form of a mound or pyramid (known as the Benben). From here the sun rose up next, thus creating the sun god (Ra or Khepri depending), and thus allowing other gods, people, and wildlife to form upon the mound (world).

With just four more days until the release of Narmer and The God Beast, I thought it might be fun to go over NATGB’s own creation story . . . how did this somewhat crazy idea rise up from the chaos.

Full disclosure: I’m not the only person in the world to think about dinosaurs roaming Ancient Egypt. I’m not even the first.

According to World News Daily Report (who’s slogan btw is literally: “Where Facts don’t Matter”), a Dr. Nabir Ibn Al-Sammud, “…one Egyptology’s most eminent figures”, has found a series of stone palettes that prove dinosaurs helped build the pyramids. Ancient Egyptians supposedly tamed “beastly creatures” of “enormous size” which were “tamed and used to carry the large limestone blocks that compose the pyramids.”

Wut?

If this sounds ludicrous, and patently false, it’s because obviously it is. We’ve got the last dinosaurs going extinct 65 million years ago, and the first humans emerging in Africa 2 million years ago. In my mind, there seems to be no chance the two could have lived together.

However, if you’re still not convinced, No It Is Not has done a full take-down article, explaining that Nabir Ibn Al-Sammud is not even a real archeologist, and that the image of him next to a dinosaur carving is a doctored image of Dr. Don Patton, an avid creationist.

What’s perhaps the best part about all of this, is that there is so much misinformation around this one crazy idea, that even when articles try to prove it false, they still make mistakes. For instance, the blog for Michigan State’s ANP364: Pseudoarchaeology class (which I would soooo take) posted the article: Did Dinosaurs Build the Pyramids? NO! in which they give reasons for why the idea may have come about (long necked creatures on the Narmer Palette), and decrying it as “pseudo archeological insanity” (which it is). They continue on to discuss Serpopards (which I should really find a way to incorporate in my setting), and then state that despite everything they have mentioned earlier, Egypt and Dinosaurs do have a connection.

What could it be? Well apparently, “In 2014 a small raptor skeleton was uncovered in a small section deep within The Great Pyramid of Giza.” But check the date on the article they cited (the one I just linked) . . .

April 1st 2014 . . .

Are there any holidays on that day which might make us doubt the validity of something published online? The article cites a French archaeologist Avril Sap, of which I could not find any other publications for except another Egyptian Streets article about ‘Extraterrestrial Activity’ Discovered in King Tutankhamun’s Tomb . . . also published April 1st (of 2016).

I think someone is having a bit of fun 🙂

So what do we do in the face of such blind misinformation and conspiracy?

Join in obviously. (I mean heck The Dinosaur Lords exists)

Write a short story about the friendship of Narmer and his Paralititan companion, and their first step together in conquering the Two Lands and uniting this Great Egypt. Begin studying hieroglyphs in your spare time. Read about Bahariya Oasis and the dinosaurs which where discovered there back in the early 1900s and then again in the late 90s. Play a lot of Assassin’s Creed Origins and wish the next boss fight was against Spinosaurus. Post about influences on your blog. Write a novel . . .

Like the Benben mound which rose up out of the primordial ooze, this one idea has risen up from the chaos of the internet, and inspired an entire world of myth and stories I’m just brimming to tell. But it all started here, with a simple conspiracy about Narmer and his God Beast.

Thanks for reading this somewhat wild ride of a blog post. What’s the craziest conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard? Where was the most surprising place you heard is touted as fact? Please leave your answers in the comments. I’m sure there’s all kinds of stuff I haven’t even hit the surface of.


Still here? Awesome. I hope you enjoyed From the Primordial Ooze: The Genesis of an Idea. You’ve pretty much just witnessed the creation of Narmer and the God Beast. I revealed the story’s amazing cover art and blurb a few weeks ago, illustrated for me by Lee Eschliman and I’ll continue to be putting out posts about my influences for this story all month until the story’s official launch on October 4th. If you like anything you’ve seen so far, you can head over to Amazon and preorder it now.

If you want more of my writing, please check out my fiction page, or consider signing up for my newsletter at https://jdweber.news/EgyptAndDinos. It will give you access to exclusive fiction, special offers, and just my general life and nonsense (here’s a sample newsletter). Just for signing up I’ll send you an email with the very first story I ever wrote about a Warlock Doctor.

Thanks for your time, and I hope to see you around here more!

Paralititan Stromeri: The Tidal Giant

Well, here we are, 17 days away from the release of Narmer and the God Beast, and we’re gonna just keep marching along doing posts about what went into this short story (although more realistically, even though the short story is what’s complete, all of this really set up the larger universe which hopefully a novel will be set in!).

Next up on the docket? The God-Beast itself, Paralititan Stromeri!

Hah! No. That’s a paradiddle and a stromboli.

Sorry, bad joke (for any drummers out there looking for actually funny jokes, I recommend Jens Hannemann (Fred Armisen)’s Complicated drumming. I pretty much die every time I watch Just in Time.)

Anyway, Paralititan Stromeri, meaning “Stromer’s Tidal Giant” is the second star of the show. Now you may be wondering why I picked this dinosaur to play beside Narmer when there are so many others I could have chosen.

And this is a great question. One that has several answers:

  1. It’s huge!!! The latest estimates say that these creatures would have come in at 88 ft. long, and weighed 30 tonnes (from the wikipedia page). These are monument sized animals. When it was discovered in 2001, “Its 1.69-meter-long [about 66.5 inches] humerus [was] longer than any known Cretaceous sauropod.” (Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt, pg. 5). When asked how the creature might compare to an elephant, Matt Lamanna — a grad student on the team who discovered this beastly animal — responded: “This animal is as big as an entire herd of elephants.” (LDoE, pg. 6)
    Needless to say . . . it’s a big boi.
  2. It’s Egyptian!! Well kinda. Mostly it’s bones were found in the Bahariya Formation, which is located in the Bahariya Oasis in Egypt. Assumedly, back in the days of this majestic creature, the land looked very different, and it’s my understanding that things get pushed around quite a bit because of plate tectonics etc. but for my purposes, this thing is Egyptian. Other dinosaurs found in the area (and with which Paralititan would have lived) like Aegyptosaurus, and Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus have Egypt in the name so . . . I’m counting it.
  3. It just seemed to fit. I’ve often heard about the “Boy and His Dragon” trope, in which a young boy finds a dragon’s egg, or something similar and it hatches, blah blah blah. Well one of the original conceptions of this particular story (though not the universe) was “What if I told a ‘Boy and His Dragon’ story, but the boy was Narmer, first Pharaoh of Egypt, and the Dragon was a 30 ton dinosaur?” The rest was history . . .

Like Narmer, there is not much left behind by these surely amazing creatures. From what I can tell, only three types of bones have been found by which to identify them (Kenneth J. Lacovara identified them. I’ve written about him before in my review of his book: Why Dinosaurs Matter).

This ended up being perfect, because it meant that I could weave this creature’s story however I needed to in order to tell the story I wanted to tell.

So what story was that?

Well, imagine the rippling emerald water of the River Nile as it rushes toward the Mediterranean Sea. Imagine the warmth of a golden sun, and the relief of a young Paralititan as it dips its head into those cool depths for a drink. Imagine its whip-like tail splashing as it plays . . .

Imagine the crocodile as it slips silently into the water, hungry for its prey . . .

And that’s it for now. Another 17 days and you can read the rest. You can check below the separator for details.

In the meantime though, what is your favorite dinosaur? What setting would you love to see it in? Answer in the comments!


Still here? Awesome. I hope you enjoyed Paralititan Stromeri: The Tidal Giant. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was a major influence on my own story, Narmer and the God Beast. I revealed the story’s amazing cover art and blurb a few weeks ago, illustrated for me by Lee Eschliman and I’ll continue to be putting out posts about my influences for this story all month until the story’s official launch on October 4th. If you like anything you’ve seen so far, you can head over to Amazon and preorder it now.

If you want more of my writing, please check out my fiction page, or consider signing up for my newsletter at https://jdweber.news/EgyptAndDinos. It will give you access to exclusive fiction, special offers, and just my general life and nonsense (here’s a sample newsletter). Just for signing up I’ll send you an email with the very first story I ever wrote about a Warlock Doctor.

Thanks for your time, and I hope to see you around here more!

Dinotopia: A Remembrance and Review

For the next post in my series of “influences” posts for Narmer and the God Beast, I wanted to review (gush about) a veritable classic.

DINOTOPIA!!

There’s almost nothing to critique about this book. I mean, I’m sure there probably is, but reading it, I’m so dazzled by the grandeur and majesty of what’s happening in the images, that all I can think about is how beautiful they are. And how much THIS IS THE WORLD I WANT TO LIVE IN!

Ok. . . deep breaths . . .

I’m ok.

Anyway, in case you couldn’t tell, I really enjoy this book. I keep enjoy in the present tense, because I don’t know that I’ve ever really stopped reading it. Published in 1992, I was pretty young when this book came out, which I think only made it more relevant to me as I grew older.

I think the early 90’s were a good time for dinosaurs. In August of 1990, one of the most complete T-Rexes ever found was discovered by Sue Hendrickson. November of that same year saw the release of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park which would become a huge blockbuster film in 1993 (a sequel novel, The Lost World, was published in 1995). And many more discoveries continued to keep dinosaurs in people’s minds.

For me, I think I experienced a bit of an intense interest in dinosaurs between ages of 2 and 6, and while — considering all the dino craze I’ve just described — I can’t pinpoint exactly which discovery or fiction put me onto dinosaurs, I can say my interest in them never completely faded like in most children. Certainly Dinotopia never did.

Tell me these couldn’t be Hieroglyphs!

The island presented in Gurney’s book is so idyllic and serene, with intelligent dinosaurs that have language and a culture of their own . . .

So different than the terrifying raptors or the indominable T. Rex portrayed in Jurassic Park.

Despite my love of Crichton’s classic, Dinotopia always held a special place for me.

** Fun fact, the first story I ever tried to write (when I was still in elementary school) was called Eventutopia and was pretty much a mix of Star Wars and Dinotopia. Boy do I wish I had saved that word doc haha.

So when it came time to start writing my own dinosaur story, it was only natural that I read through this classic once again. It had been quite a while since my last read through, and I wondered if Dinotopia would still hold up, after all these years. My only clear remembrance from the story was of the iconic Skybax, soaring above the city, or under the archways of Dream Canyon. But I could not remember much of the plot at all. I was slightly nervous that perhaps I was wearing rose colored glasses after all, and that as an adult, I would not find the story nearly so enchanting.

I needn’t have worried. It was as wonderful as I remembered.

Dinotopia is very much in the travel-log vein of fantasy, in which the main characters simply explore an unknown land and experience its wonders (and there are so many wonders to behold!). I suppose that you could criticize the story somewhat, in that there is not really a particularly strong narrative drive. But I actually think this is a feature, not a bug. Each of the images shown seems to pick up a narrative thread that the actual text may leave behind, but because it’s just an image, the reader is able to fill in the gaps with their own imagination.

It was perfect for inspiring me in my own writing . . . and then sending me into a crisis . . .

I pretty much froze dead in my tracks when I saw this image. This was (more or less) my idea, already realized by a master with which I could never compete. I had not remembered this from my reading as a kid, but here it was.

Did I just copy Dinotopia? Had this been hiding in the back of my mind, influencing me without my knowledge (or permission).

The answer is, to a certain degree, probably yes, but what I’ve come to realize is that just because something influenced my writing, that does not necessarily mean that I’ve copied it. This is one image in a book of many, and my Egyptian Dinosaurs will invariably be different than whatever Gurney had in mind while painting this. I’ve actually kind of come to see this image as a reassurance, that my love of both Ancient Egypt, and Dinosaurs (and wanting to combine the two) is not so far-fetched. That maybe some others will enjoy it, just as they (and I) have enjoyed Dinotopia.

Have you read / enjoyed this classic? What’s your favorite image? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to talk some more about this book!


Still here? Awesome. I hope you enjoyed Dinotopia: A Remembrance and Review. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was a major influence on my own story, Narmer and the God Beast. I revealed the story’s amazing cover art and blurb a few weeks ago, illustrated for me by Lee Eschliman and I’ll continue to be putting out posts about my influences for this story all month until the story’s official launch on October 4th. If you like anything you’ve seen so far, you can head over to Amazon and preorder it now.

If you want more of my writing, please check out my fiction page, or consider signing up for my newsletter at https://jdweber.news/EgyptAndDinos. It will give you access to exclusive fiction, special offers, and just my general life and nonsense (here’s a sample newsletter). Just for signing up I’ll send you an email with the very first story I ever wrote about a Warlock Doctor.

Thanks for your time, and I hope to see you around here more!

Narmer And the God Beast Cover Reveal!

As I alluded to in my July Newsletter, I have worked up a short story in my ‘Egypt and Dinosaurs’ setting. It is called Narmer and the God Beast. As I so eloquently put it then:

“I even paid for a cover and everything . . . “

https://alligatorsandaneurysms.wordpress.com/2021/07/02/july-newsletter-new-fiction-master-of-secrets/

Well, that cover is here. It was created by illustrator Lee Eschliman who is absolutely fantastic. You can take a look at his other work on instagram. Lee’s artwork has been in my life since I can remember. One of his logos graced the deck of my very first skateboard (if you can believe I used to skate) and he’s influenced several of my hobbies overs the years. I was absolutely ecstatic that he was willing to craft the cover for my story. It turned out simply amazing.

Anywho, without further ado, here’s the cover for Narmer and the God Beast (and the back cover blurb to pique your interest):

Had I anything in my heart but hate for my brother and pity for myself . . .

I may have suspected I was about to meet a god.”

Broken and bleeding into the cool Nile waters – shattered by his brother’s cruelty – young Narmer pays the crocodile no heed as it enters the stream. Let it come.

But the hunter swims on, and only then does Narmer know its aim, the defenseless god-beast drinking and playing up-river.

Dinosaurs will again roam the desert sands, uniting the disparate Two Lands into one great Egypt, if Narmer can drive off the crocodile, if he can endure his brother’s malice.

If he can save this sacred creature and be saved by it . . .


So, there you have it. Narmer and the God Beast is officially announced. The launch on Amazon will take place on October 4th, but you can also preorder it now. I’m going to be doing a series of posts this month about my influences for the story and how it came together so stay tuned for those. Some stories and teasers in this world have already been posted on this blog so look for them on my fiction page.

And finally, you can just follow my progress on things and get quarterly updates and new fiction by subscribing to my newsletter at https://jdweber.news/EgyptAndDinos. For signing up, I’ll send you a copy of the first story I every wrote about a warlock doctor.

See you next time!

*Update 9/14 – I’ve begun posting some of the “influence” posts I mentioned before. Here’s what I’ve completed so far:

July Newsletter + New Fiction: Master of Secrets

So this post is a little wonky (and looonnngg oops), but basically, I have a newsletter which I’m going to put out quarterly. I’ve copied the July letter into a post so folks can see an example of what they’d get by signing up. Mostly it’s updates about my life and writing which I might not post on the blog. Also, each quarter I’m going to try to include a new piece of fiction, that is exclusive to the newsletter. This month’s piece is Master of Secrets which I’ll explain more about in the letter.

**Please also note that if you sign up, you’ll immediately receive the first piece of fiction I ever wrote about a Warlock Doctor. It’s kinda fun I think.

Anyway, here it is! Enjoy!


Hi all,

Welcome to my quarterly newsletter. You’re probably here because you clicked the subscribe link on my blog. I hope you did that because you’re interested in keeping up with me ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak. If not, please feel free to unsubscribe.

Still here? Awesome! So basically what you’ve signed up for by getting this newsletter, is MORE access to my random thoughts which might at first seem a little scary (unsubscribe is still just a click away), but you will also get quarterly updates on different writing projects I’m working on, how the process is going, sneak peeks and exclusive content. Ya know standard newsletter stuff. Hope it lives up to the hype! Read on to find out . . .

Announcements:

This section is pretty self-explanatory. In it I’ll cover anything that I feel needs to be announced. Right now (7/2/2021) things are chugging along pretty well but everything should be business as usual for a while. Some things are in the works which will get announced soon, but those announcements will likely be sent out over the blog, not exclusive to the newsletter (sorry).

Writing:

Another self-explanatory section. Here I’ll go over any writing projects I’m working on and what I feel my accomplishments during the quarter have been. Right now, those projects are mostly Blogging on A&A, and my novel (and associated short fiction).

Blogging on A&A:

It’s been almost five months since I reintroduced myself to blogging with I’m Baaaackkkk!, and I think it is going pretty well? I’ve certainly been enjoying it. Since my return, I’ve been trying to post book reviews on Wednesdays and short fiction and miscellaneous posts on Fridays. I’ve done 17 reviews, mostly about Hugo Award finalists, and 9 pieces of my own original flash fiction. It’s been a wild ride.

Also, during May, I participated in #WyrdAndWonder, a month-long celebration of the Fantasy genre. The post I’m most proud of is #MapMonday: Using Emerging Tech for Fictional Maps, but there’s a lot of fun posts for it, so be sure to check out my #WyrdAndWonder Wrap Up Post.

#JurassicJune was kind of a bust for me, but I did read and review a great book called Why Dinosaurs Matter by Kenneth Lacovara, and did a fun Jurassic Park Book Tag.

Two more posts I’ll mention because I enjoyed writing them are Ancient Egyptian Doggos! and On the Scholomance as a Twisted, Evil Eudaimonia Machine.

Ancient Egypt and Dinosaurs:

I won’t say a ton about this right now, as almost everything in this category is still a work in progress but considering this quarter’s “exclusive fiction” is a random scene in-world, y’all gonna know about it. The premise is simple (but hopefully fun and unique): What if there were Dinosaurs in Ancient Egypt?

I’ve written a short story in this world called Narmer and the God-Beast which I’m going to publish on Amazon. I even paid for a cover and everything, which is like 88% done and I’m sooo excited to show it because it looks great even now but it’s not done. Expect more on that coming soon!

I’ve also written a novel in this setting which will be torn to shreds, critiqued in July. I’m hoping to pitch this more traditionally once I have feedback and have done rewrites. It’s been a ton of work, and will probably be a ton more, but I’m already pretty proud of it, so hopefully I’m not delusional, and it’s alright. Look for more on this coming soon . . . but not that soon.

Finally, I’ve been working on a companion piece to the novel tentatively called The Ore of Ra Nt-ka, which will follow a merchant, Beqsu, through a similar track as the MC’s in the novel, but with different goals and motivations. I’ve posted teaser of this piece on the blog as Beqsu Takes a Leap.

Ultimately, it’s just an alternate perspective. I decided to do this because I wanted to spend more time in the world before diving into a sequel (too much work lol), and thought it might be cool to try to get it on Kindle Vella which will be live in late July. I can already tell I will not be able to make this deadline but am still going to pursue the piece and see what comes of it.

The ‘exclusive’ fiction at the bottom of this post, Master of Secrets, is a deleted scene from that work in progress. You’ve seen a preview of it on the blog as well. I hope you like it!    

Convention stuff:

Not much happening in convention world. I reserved a room for Discon III at the OMNI. I’m really looking forward to this con as I’ve never been to a Worldcon before, and am not sure how many others I’ll be able to go to (traveling to them is usually cost prohibitive). But that’s not until December so I probably won’t have much to say about it until then. But get hype! It should be fun.

Random:

Usually, I might write something here that’s been on my mind lately, about any topic, but I think this post has gone on long enough already. Future me will do better . . .

Besides, I just want you to read the fiction!  

Newsletter Exclusive Fiction:

Master of Secrets

By JD Weber

Khueninput looked into the glowing red eyes of the god-beast before her and wondered if the Lord of the Sacred Land really still protected her, or if she was being a fool to keep the dead priest’s body hidden.

Quite a bit of rumor and myth surrounded the legendary creature which stood snarling and hissing in her face, and she was horrified to say that every terrifying story she’d heard about Ra Pt-r appeared to be true.

This one stood roughly the height of a man, and walked on two sturdy legs, its head and torso leaning forward, while its tail stretched out behind it. The beast had two forelimbs which protruded from shoulders barely distinguishable from its thickly muscled neck.

But mostly she focused on its jaws, which were filled with an innumerable array of jagged teeth. Sickle shaped claws tapped ominously on the sandstone floor.

Khueninput clenched her fists and decided to direct her outrage to the very-much-still-living priest who controlled the creature.

“It does not matter how many godlings demand entrance to the embalming chamber, Ra Nt-Ka’s authority does not supersede that of The Great God Anubis. None can enter while he is here.”

The man before her curled his lips into a leer and simply raised his eyebrows as if to say “Oh really?” 

Khueninput did not let her fear of the creature weaken her stern gaze, much. If the god-beast wanted inside the embalming chamber there was little she could do to stop it. Better shore up her position before the priest grew tired of playing with her, and let the beast loose.

“A blind man can see that Ra Pt-r is controlled by your red magic. If you release it, it will not be the godling who must recite the confessions before The Court of Ahseer. Do you think the Scales of Anubis will balance for you when you’ve broken the Jackal’s own laws? None can enter while he works. None but the dead can know his mysteries.”

“There is one who may enter,” said the priest looking amused. “Hery Sesheta, the Master of Secrets.”

Real anger flared in Khueninput’s gaze now. “That is no longer my rank within his cult Setek Peribsen.”

“A shame,” the priest said with a feinted nonchalance, as if the temple storeroom where out of Bahriyan wine, and he’d have to drink something else of lower quality.

Ra Pt-r crouched as if to strike.

“Do not go against him Setek Peribsen” said Khueninput, in a hiss that would have made a cobra proud, despite her desperation. “You will not survive it. He is the Dog that Devours Millions.”

“I’m here by Chaotic God’s own decree!” burst the priest. “You do not think the Great God Set will protect me from the whims of his own son? A child no less? You truly believe your dog will be able to stand against The God of Storms himself?”

“Anubis is also known as He Who Eats his Father.”

She let the silence fall heavy between them.

The priest’s face did change, if only briefly.

So he’s heard that name as well, perhaps there is some truth to it then . . .

“Fine!” He said finally. “Let the dog play with his bones. Your only delaying the inevitable. That man was in league with The Assassin, and he will answer for it. Set will have his vengeance.”

“Then he’ll have to seek it in the Duat.” Khueninput replied cooly.

The priest was all bark now.

He huffed and made a show of whirling his black and gold vestments, as he tried to storm out the mortuary. Ra Pt-r looked at her with an almost pleading eye before stalking slowly behind him, chittering softly.

Khueninput sagged against the door behind her, her breath escaping in a long and ragged gasp. She realized with quite a bit of detachment, that her hands were shaking. She was still fighting for control of them when she felt more than heard, a voice call out from inside the embalming chamber.

You may enter . . .   

Khueninput’s heart leapt in her chest. Could it be? The Lord of the Sacred Land had just asked — no ordered her — to come into the sanctuary and share in the Mysteries of the Sky, Earth and Netherworld. He had not done so since . . .

She did not allow herself to think about the last time he had allowed her anywhere near an embalmer’s bench. She might never allow herself to think of that day again.

But neither would she allow herself to ignore his command.

She fumbled at the door, unable to work the latch correctly when suddenly, the door disappeared, a simple archway now before her.

The Keeper of Keys.

The Opener of the Ways.

She entered slowly, keeping her head bowed in respect to the great deity, but she could not help but scan the embalming chamber in search of the jackal god.

She saw much before she found him.

The room was dimly lit, shadowed so that Khueninput could just make out the shelves of herbs and animal fat used for embalming. Alabaster jars — each carved to resemble a different son of the falcon god Horus — waited to be filled on the workbench nearby. A small vat of natron salt had been rolled in, and several spoons, knives, a chisel, and spatula, rested on its unopened lid. Only the heap of linen seemed to have been disturbed by the god in his work.

It did not feel right.

The priest, Ra Nefer-Ab, or the beauty of Ra, lay wrapped and shrouded in long strips of linen on a large stone pedestal. His posture seemed tense, somehow rigid as if trying to break free of the binding of the cloth. He was contorted ever so slightly so that his face peered up at the Jackal God looming over him, and though she could not see his face, Khueninput would have guessed the man in pain.

For his part, The Lord of the Sacred Land looked just as she remembered him. In this form, he had the body of a man but wore the head of a jackal. He wore a simple white skirt which contrasted sharply with the onyx coloring of his skin. Around his neck he wore a linen scarf adorned with a double fillet of blue lotus and cornflowers woven upon strips of pith, twisted in a bow at the back of his neck. Small veins of gold pierced the dim along his arms and chest, stress fractures, as if his shape were ready to burst from the pressure of his holy blood and power as a god. Sandaled feet revealed silver toenails and when the god turned to finally acknowledge her, he looked upon Khueninput with eyes inlaid with gold, calcite, and obsidian.

Not for the first time Khueninput felt her heart drop out of her chest, and her pulse begin to race. Sweat beaded upon her brow, and her pupils dilated more than the darkness of the room should allow. To look upon the Great God Anubis was to look upon death itself.

It was to look upon eternity.

Anubis motioned for her to join him at the pedestal and then turned back to the priest lying upon it.

Khueninput heard the man’s voice in her mind as it had been during life, though his lips did not move to speak.

“Please,” Ra Nefer-Ab said. “I have not uttered lies.”

He who Sits Upon the Coffin nodded.

“I have not uttered curses.”

The jackal god nodded again.

“I have made none to weep”

Khueninput sucked in her breath in surprise as she put the pieces of the room’s puzzle together, as she realized what felt off about the scene. None of the herbs on their shelves had been removed, and the canopic jars had remained empty. The natron’s lid had not been removed and the tools were still dry and sterile. The process of embalming took seventy days of painstaking ritual and work to prepare the body for its journey through the Duat, and yet before her was a completed mummy, lying before Anubis and —

Answering the Negative Confessions . . . 

“I have not worked witchcraft” Ra Nefer-Ab continued.

The Jackal God reared back slightly and tilted his head to one side, as if trying to identify some unknown sound in the distance.

You aided the Chaotic god. Used his magic.

Ra Nefer-Ab’s voice was pleading. “I was possessed Great One! The Chaotic god forced the enchantment.”

The Great God Ahseer will not care whether you were forced, his hatred for Set is too strong. If you held his magic, Ahseer will condemn you.

“But the other Gods.” Ra Nefer-Ab begged. “Surely they can be persuaded.”

Anubis thought for a moment and then nodded for the priest to continue.

“I have not attacked any man.”

You killed two soldiers in Set’s temple . . .

Ra Nefer-Ab’s voice sounded as if his body were wracked with sobs though it lie motionless on the bench. “Please. I am not a man of deceit.”

Anubis looked thoughtful for a moment before nodding.

It is true, you are not, but as you are you will not pass The Court of God’s judgment. Take this.

Anubis opened his jet black palm to reveal a small nugget of gold, carved and shaped into the form of a scarab.

Swallow this before you speak false, and Khepri will protect your heart.

“OH! Thank you!” Ra Nefer-Ab cried. “Thank you.”

Anubis reached behind him for the embalmer’s tools and selected a golden adze Khueninput had not seen when entering. The Jackal God touched the adze to the mummy’s lips and light began to shine forth from the priest’s body. It swirled and roiled until finally it had collected into the shape of a bird with Ra Nefer-ab’s countenance. The golden scarab hung from a small chain around its neck. The priest’s Ba nodded once to the Lord of the Sacred Land and then flew towards the archway through which Khueninput had entered. She saw now that it did not lead out into the streets of Edfu, but into a shimmering field.

The Jackal cleared his throat and Khueninput turned quickly back to him in surprise, remembered who she stood before, and then dropped to the sandstone floor in a bow. With her head still lowered to the floor, the Great God spoke.

Outside, in the face of Ra Pt-r, you held your ground. Loyal, after all this time.

Yes Great One. Always,” she said, and realized that she must mean it. To speak something in The Two Lands was to make it true.

She had not looked up at the Great God when she spoke, but at her words, the shadow looming over her seemed to move. She lifted her gaze slowly and found the god’s hand proffered out to her, palm open as it had been with the priest only moments before.

A golden scarab rested in his palm.

Now it was her turn to rear back slightly in confusion.

“Great one I cannot take this, I’m not worthy of it.” She held his crystalline gaze as long as she dared, but then lowered her eyes as he wrapped her palm around the amulet.

Then find someone who is. I have faith that when you do, you will no longer need its protection.

She raised her eyes again, wanting to ask what the Lord of the Sacred Land could possibly mean by such an order, but he was gone.

Khueninput startled as a knock came at the door to the embalming chamber. The door, not the archway which had only moments ago lead unto a paradise which she could only presume had been The Fields of Aaru.

Khueninput got up off the floor, and steeled herself, expecting Set’s priest to have returned. But when she opened the door, she found a young woman in a white robe standing before her, a jackal-head mask tucked neatly under one arm.

She was one of the lower priests, ranked as W’b or maybe not yet initiated into the earliest rites.

“Are you ready Hery Sesheta? Your boat to Hardai is nearly ready to leave.” Khueninput blanched slightly at the use of her old title, but the woman did not seem to notice. She just continued on in a perky voice as if she were about to visit the market to shop for some new jewel.

“I can walk with you to the docks if you like.”

Khueninput looked at the women suspiciously for a moment, feeling the weight of the gold scarab in her palm.

Would it really be that easy?

No she decided, and told the priestess to go onward without her. She would catch up soon.

Khueninput took inventory of the things she’d need for her journey home, and quickly gathered them to her person. She elected to wear what little jewelry she had instead of packing it, and then found another W’b priest to take her luggage to the docks.

It felt strange leaving the priest’s mummy on the stone slab alone, but the other priests of his order, and whatever family he had near the temple would come soon to seal him in his tomb. She had done her job, and should be on her way to the docks.

She walked out into Ra’s light and couldn’t help but feel a bit giddy as she walked the thoroughfare to the docks.

Anubis, Lord of the Sacred Land, was giving her a second chance . . .

It was nearly impossible not to skip her step with excitement.

As she walked, she noticed the young woman from before, lingering near a merchant’s stall, eying his wares, but not daring to approach. When the woman caught site of Khueninput approaching, she quickly scurried off in the direction of the docks.

This only brought the merchant’s attention onto Khueninput, and he began lavishly heaping praise upon her beauty, complementing the jewelry she already wore, but also adding how much better she would look with one of his pieces resting gently around her neck.

She laughed slightly and was about to continue on, when she noticed he also had jars of incense to sell, and wax candles, always a commodity in the Great Jackal’s temple, or any other god’s shrine.

She knew the ship was supposed to leave soon, but she could not help but approach the merchant’s tent. He seemed slightly stunned at first that he’d actually managed to hook a customer, but he recovered quickly enough and began pull forth some of his finer wares for her to peruse. After he’d set out the leopard’s skin, and giraffe’s tails he began to launch back into his pitch.

Khueninput held up a hand to stall him.

She hefted a jar of incense, feeling its weight in her palms and judging it to be similar to that of the golden scarab within her pocket.

“Made with cypress?” she asked raising the jar of incense to her nose to smell.

“No Hery Sesheta. Pine resin.”

The merchant had a small scale on the table as well, and she placed the jar on one of its plates, declaring her intent to purchase. The merchant rubbed his hands together eagerly and began adding weight in Deben to the other side. He added many more than needed to balance the scale, and yet the jar remained firmly rooted against the merchant’s table.

“Your weights are false. I’ve already weighed the jar in my palm, will you not even try to hide your lies?”

But Khueninput found herself smiling.

This man would surely need the scarab’s protection when he finally went before the gods, perhaps she should give the amulet to him.

But that couldn’t be what the Jackal god had meant with his order could it? Simply give the amulet to some wretched street merchant who probably had cheated his own grandmother before coming to Egypt.

Khueninput thought of the Great God weighing Ra Nefer-Ab’s answers as he pleaded on the stone slab. If the man had been against Set, perhaps he was indeed a worthy spirit after all. Anubis had seemed to consider more than the literal interpretation of the man’s confessions, he’d considered the intent of the words behind them. He had protected a man who’s intent sought peace and order over the chaos of Set’s reign even though he’d needed to kill to do so.

Khueninput eyed the traveling merchant as he left her side to hawk his wears at another potential customer — somewhat rude but certainly not damning — walking by, and weighed scales in her own head.

Unfortunately, the man who’d come to hear the merchant happened to be none other than Setek Peribsen. His captive god-beast looking plaintively onward with glowing red eyes.  

“I saw him Neb,” the merchant said when Setek Peribsen finally reached the stall.

“Well? Tell me! Which way has he gone?” Setek Peribsen did not seem to notice Khueninput yet, focused as he was on the Chaotic God’s command to find this . . . Assassin.

“It all happened so fast, I can hardly remember.”

“Perhaps north?” the merchant continued looking past the great temple as if he might still be able to catch sight of the man in flight.

The priest’s hand moved to cover his mouth, but Khueninput could still see his eyes shrink with a kind of shrewdness as they searched his countenance. All the merchant’s wares may as well have been more sand among the dunes for all the interest anyone payed them now.

“I remember you,” the priest said, removing his hand to reveal a set jaw and stern bearing. “Beqsu, from back at the monument. Of course it would be you who I must bargain with. What’s your price.”

“It should not be hard to pay. It is only what you already owe.”

“Hah! What I owe. Perhaps I could give the eggs of Hunta Ari Pet back to you.”

Khueninput could feel herself startle at the mention of such a valuable item, but she quickly schooled her gaze.

The priest of the Chaotic God continued. “But then scales would again be unbalanced, and it is your life that would be required to balance them. Luckily I have Ra Pt-r here to collect the toll. Tell me which way he went.”

Khueninput felt herself beginning to shake with rage. She’d been on the other side of Ra Pt-r’s gaze, understood the terror the merchant must be feeling. To threaten someone in this manner, to control the god-beast as he did . . .

It was an abomination.

But with Ra Pt-r poised to strike, there was little she could to on exact revenge upon Setek Peribsen, nor should harming him be her purpose here. She thought of the god she served, his likeness perched atop a coffin, loyal to the dead inside. She thought of Anubis handing the golden scarab to Ra Nefer-Ab, and later to herself, protecting them from the judgment of Ahseer, and the jaws of The Devourer Ammit.   

The words left her mouth before she could think. “The man you seek went south.”

The merchant turned to glare at her, and she could tell by his expression that she’d guessed correctly. She glared back at this Beqsu. “Tell him the rest. You have nothing more with which to leverage the scales.”

The merchant looked as if he might burst he held in so much pent up anger, but eventually he sighed and the anger flowed out of him with the escape of his breath.

“He fell from the sky like the God’s ore itself and landed in the reflecting pool. When he emerged from the waters he fled south, heading towards Nile.”

Setek Peribsen looked thoughtful again, raising his hand to his chin. He turned to Khueninput. “The Chaotic God has blessed me,” he said finally. “I’ll admit that after our dealings outside the embalming chamber, I’m surprised you’ve come to my aid.”

Khueninput smiled. “You’ve not reached Aaru yet Setek Peribsen. The water from the reflecting pool must have cleared your fugitive’s scent. That is why Ra Pt-r couldn’t track him. You’ve been searching too long. He must be half way to Nubia by now if he managed to catch a boat heading that way. 

“It will break the god-beasts to try and catch him now.” Khueninput believed that this notion did not upset Setek Peribsen very much. He almost looked excited by it.

“Perhaps I can ease your journey,” Khueninput continued. “I have a ship which has not yet left the docks. I could send it south along The Great River if I had cause.”

That shrewd look came over the priest’s face. “And what is your price?”

“Give me the Hunta Ari Pet eggs and you can have the ship and everything on it. Send it whichever way you choose.”

Setek Peribsen considered for a moment.

He would be a fool not to take the deal. The sky lizard’s eggs were worth their weight — or perhaps considerably more if measured by the merchant’s false scales — in gold, but they did not come close to the price of ship. And it would certainly shorten The Assassin’s lead on the Chaotic God’s agents.

“And what need do you have for them. I pray you’re not simply going to turn them over to this vagrant.” He motioned towards Beqsu.

“I will do with them as the Lord of the Sacred Land commands me.”

Setek Peribsen did not seem appeased by this answer — a fact that probably gave Khueninput too much satisfaction — but he could not see the trick within her words and so he begrudgingly brought a linen satchel forth and handed them over. Khueninput handed over the deed to the ship, and smiled as she watched both priest and Ra Nt-ka disappear towards the docks.

“What is this?” said the merchant, unable to restrain himself any longer. “Some kind of revenge because I cheated you? Those eggs are mine!”

Khueninput looked over to him.

“You should not have cheated me merchant, but no this is not revenge.”

“Then what? Cruelty?”

Khueninput sighed. “No. Not cruelty either. If we’re counting, I believe I just saved your life from that god-beast.”

Beqsu began to look indignant so Khueninput quickly continued. “Listen. In the short time I’ve known you, you’ve tried to cheat me, and scam a priest of the Chaotic God Set. You claim these eggs are yours, but you neglect the fact that to come by them, you must have stolen them from godlings in the first place, or at the very least traded with someone who did, which will not be better in the eyes of Ahseer.”

The look that came over Beqsu’s face at her words filled Khueninput with some measure of hope and affirmed her resolve.

Grief.

“I was not always like this,” Beqsu said. “In Nubia, it was not like it is here in The Two Lands. It seems like every day I must commit some crime in order to survive. What you saw today was not even the worst of it. It does not bother me anymore.”

“Well at least repay your debt to me. I’ve saved your life.” Khueninput said. “Come with me to Hardai. Spend some time in the City of the Dog, I think you’ll find it is never too late to turn things around.”

“I thank you, Hery Sesheta, for saving my life from the god-beast but I’ve come too far. Any debt I owe you is not so great as what you’re asking me to do.”

Khueninput held forth the patted the satchel at her waist.

“Come with me. Try. If we fail, these eggs are yours.”

Beqsu looked thoughtful for a moment and then smile came across his face. “Fine.” he said then laughed “What is one more trial? Perhaps you will save me after all.”

Khueninput looked the merchant in the eye, a smile forming on her own lips.

Perhaps you will save me as well . . .


If you made it this far I’m impressed. You must like what you’re reading? If you’d like more of this coming directly to your inbox, go ahead and sign up for my newsletter.

Thanks so much for reading. Leave any comments you feel in the comments section. Until next time . . .

Jurassic Park Book Tag (#JurassicJune)

JURASSIC PARK, 1993. ©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

It’s hard to believe that Jurassic Park first released in theaters today, June 11th, twenty-eight years ago. In honor of its birthday, and to help celebrate #JurassicJune, I’ve decided to do another book tag because . . . well because they’re fun.

I believe it was Port Jericho who originally created the Jurassic Park / Jurassic World book tag. I took out the Jurassic World questions to keep it pure JP although I suppose it doesn’t much matter.

I discovered the tag on The Literary Phoenix‘s website. Here is their take on the tag.

Rules are simple:

  • Link the original post, and whoever tagged you – I did above and nobody tagged me 😦
  • Pick a book that fits each quote theme.
  • Have fun!
  • Tag 3 or more people.

I think that’s all the logistical stuff so, let’s get started. In the immortal words of Samuel L Jackson:

“Spared no Expense”

A series that seems to go on forever. / The most expensive book you’ve purchased.

For me. The Wheel of Time was this series. Clocking in at some 20 books, and 4,410,036 words, much like a male caster of Saidin, I burnt out hard somewhere around Crown of Swords (book 7). I thought the prequel, A New Spring, would get me back into the series, but I was wrong.

I think the most expensive book I’ve purchased (that wasn’t a textbook), was Jurassic London’s last book, The Extinction Event. It’s a gorgeous (in my mind) dino-skin leather bound which only ran me like $45. I got number 85 of 150.

“Life (uh) finds a way”

A book with amazingly intricate worldbuilding. / What crazy extremes have you gone to in order to get a book you wanted?

Since I just finished The Empire of Gold I’m gonna go with the Daevabad Trilogy for amazingly intricate worldbuilding. Emphasis on the ‘amazing’ part. I’m sure I’ve read books that were more complexly developed or intricate, but this series is perhaps the most spectacular world. Lots of time and energy went into developing this world and very little of it is mundane by any definition. Simply put, it’s great.

As for extreme lengths? I waited in a suuupperrr long line for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. It was a whole thing. People dressed up. We all waited around outside of Borders until midnight. Some of my friends and I continued to wait in the line after the midnight release for several more hours to get our copy. Somebody drove by and shouted the ending as we waited.

My friend left us and ran across the street to Safeway where there was no line and was already through several chapters by the time we go our books. I don’t regret a second of it.

“Hold on to your butts”

An extremely fast-paced book. / What’s the fastest you’ve read a book, and what book was it?

In terms of pacing, I’d have to go with Dean Koontz’s Velocity. It’s kind of right there in the title. It’s been years since I read it so I don’t really remember much of it other than I pretty much crushed through it. I haven’t read a Koontz book since so perhaps it literally wasn’t my speed.

I read The Great Gatsby in a day one summer because . . . well it was assigned summer reading and I only had one day left before my first class. Naturally we didn’t discuss it until the end of the semester. I held onto everything pretty well I feel like but I’m a bit bitter I rushed through it.

“Mr. Hammond, after careful consideration I’ve decided not to endorse your park.”

A book you refuse to read (or finish).

I was pretty much resolved to NEVER read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. 1966 winner of the Best All-Time Series Hugo Award. I understand Asimov is important to SFF (some might even argue [ahem] ‘foundational’), but this seemed like too much. I just can’t imagine any story being soooo gooood that there will never be anything better. Especially not something written in the 50’s.

But, we’ll see. I hear Apple is making a TV show of the series so . . . perhaps I’ll have to give it a shot eventually.

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

A book that left you going ‘Why?’

Without a doubt, Robert Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters. I read Starship Troopers in school, and remembered it being pretty good (and I loved the movie though they’re really not that similar I don’t think) so my expectations were high. It was pretty much embarrassing.

Essentially, some slugs (from space!) get loose in Iowa, and start mind controlling people by jumping on their backs and ordering them around to set up a new society. The government reacts but is completely ineffectual. For some reason I’m sure I can’t remember, the MC is tasked with stopping the whole deal with a secret agent lady who’s totally badass until she starts working with our MC.

I don’t really remember much else except he keeps asking her to marry him, and she keeps saying no for reasons that make no sense to the MC but are pretty much: “Ew get away”. By the end of the book I’m not even sure whether she says yes or not but I think it would be giving Heinlein too much credit to think it wouldn’t end in a yes. Oh, and to make sure you don’t have a slug on your back controlling you, everyone needs to go around shirtless . . . no exceptions.

I finished that book hoping it would turn, or get better, and when I got the end I was just like “Why? Why does this exist? And why did I do this to myself?”

Oh well.

Dada daa da da, Dada daa da da . . .

Welp, that’s it. The post is over. I realize after writing this whole thing, that it actually has very little to do with Jurassic park which it was meant to honor, but I think that’s ok.

I might try to do some more posts about it, as #jurassicjune continues (there’s a marathon of the first three movies on Saturday!) so keep a look out.

What are your answers to these questions? Any thoughts on the books I mentioned? Or on Jurassic Park? Just leave em in the comments. See you next time!

Oh! And I’m supposed to tag three people. I only managed two. I’m tagging:

Tar Vol on and The First Line Reader

Celebrating #DinosaurDay with a Review of Why Dinosaurs Matter

Oooh

So apparently June 1st is #DinosaurDay. I’m not really sure how one celebrates this holiday . . . but I’m going to celebrate it by posting a book review because that’s pretty much what I do here on this blog.

Anyway, moving right into then, this book was interesting to me for several reasons, the first being it was a TED Talk. I haven’t actually watched Hunting For Dinosaurs Showed Me Our Place in the Universe yet, as I didn’t want to get the book and the video confused if there were subtle differences. I’ll probably watch it after this.

The second being its author, Kenneth Lacovara. His name sounded super familiar to me, but I couldn’t figure it out. Turns out he was part of the team that discovered Paralititan Stromeri which I’d done some research on for my WIP. The story of this awesome dino is written about in a book called The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt, which I started, but ultimately never finished and had to return. There’s apparently a documentary by the same title which is only two hours so . . . maybe I’ll watch that instead.

So was this book any good? Do Dinosaurs actually matter? The short answer to both is yes; the book was good, and dinosaurs matter, although I’m dubious that the book actually proves this.

What I enjoyed most about the book, was that it explained (in simple terms) some basic concepts that I’ve felt were necessary to understand when doing research about dinosaurs, such as what is considered a dino, and why (apparently it has something to do with their hip bones). He talks briefly about how the classification of dinosaurs works and which recognizable dinos go in each classification. Sauropods have long necks, while Therapods are the big Carnivores. Ornithischia has the duckbills, horned dinos, and armored dinos etc.

I also enjoyed the parts in which Lacovara actually discusses some of the adaptations dinosaurs had, and why they helped them survive in the environment they lived in. If you were ever curious as to why a T-Rex has such short and stubby arms, then go ahead and read this book.

Another fun part of the book was learning about how some of the first dinosaurs were thought to have looked. We’ve come a long way in our understanding of some of these creatures. Apparently, the way to go further is 3D printed Dinosaur robots! (I picked the wrong career . . .)

My only dislike, was how much time was spent talking about the history of paleontology and the importance of the “deep time” perspective. He discusses how ancient and medieval civilizations, essentially didn’t have the tool set to make the discoveries that where made later on, once Darwin had published On the Origin of Species (though it is interesting that the author seems to celebrate Charles Lyell, and James Hutton as being the true pioneers that set up the ‘headspace’ for Darwin’s theories). In general, I felt it painted ancient peoples in a bad light while trying desperately to do the opposite.

I wondered if a few things in the book were in need of updating (this is copyrighted 2017). He briefly mentions Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus, but our understanding of that weird looking fellow seems to be changing constantly. Another thing that stood out to me, was that he whole heartedly references Mary Anning being the inspiration for the ‘she sells sea shells’ tongue twister (he even cites a New Scientist article). While I’m glad he talks about perhaps the first woman paleontologist in his book, I think it’s pretty unlikely the tongue twister is a reference to her. There’s actually quite a bit of evidence it’s not. I’ve requested the article he cites from the library, so perhaps I’ll do a follow up.

Conclusion?

In general, I greatly enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and though the author can get long winded about a few things, his writing style is generally engaging, and it’s clear he’s VERY experienced with his subject matter. Perhaps my favorite parts were the ones in which the author actually talks about dinosaurs. He’s correct to think they’re fascinating, and I think this book is strongest when he focuses on the wonder they invoke and the reason for that wonder. The title asks if dinosaurs matter, to which I would say ‘who cares?’ We don’t need a reason to enjoy them as much as we do . . .

That’s all I have for this, thanks for reading and please leave some comments below if you thought the review was useful or even if you just wanna talk about dinos . . . I’m always up for that. Happy #DinosaurDay!