The Truth About Dinosaur Lords

Great cover

Great cover

I’ve been looking around and haven’t seen a lot of negative press about Dinosaur Lords. Which honestly, I wouldn’t have expected based on the premise alone. I also haven’t really seen a lot of press at all about The Dinosaur Lords which is very surprising considering how excited it seemed like the zeitgeist was to read it. However, after reading a bit into the book, I’ve decided that something should be said. Here goes:

The Dinosaur Lords has a really cool premise. I can’t believe no one has done this before. Unfortunately, I felt there were some problems with the execution. Mostly, I found the writing style did more to obscure what was happening in each scene than show us. I recommended this book to a friend before reading it and each day we’d meet up and be like “So what happened in here?” Nine times out of ten one of us was like “OH! Now I get it”.

All of that being said, it’s still a good read. I think the sheer coolness of KNIGHTS RIDING DINOS!! will be enough for most people to enjoy it. And honestly, it should be enough.

I’d love it if someone took the time to make a map of Paradise. When I first cracked open the book and saw the Portrait of La Merced I was like “Finally, a fantasy novel that doesn’t have an overbearing map that I won’t look at”. Then as I got into the book further, I realized that is exactly what the book needed.

I guess the the last thing I’ll say is, this book is not yet “… a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones” as promised by GRRM. It is dark enough in places to be like GoT and has dinos (so Jurassic Park) but it somehow seemed to fall short of that mark. Its obvious to me that this is going to be a series, but I think this opening could have benefited from a little more closure. I feel like I watched the first part of a miniseries which just ended after 450 pages and I’m not sure what larger story each character’s plots are involved in. Or whether or not they relate at all.

I hope there is a sequel to this, but I’d like to see it carefully done. I think that is all. Don’t murder me in the comments.

Short Fiction Review: The Way of Cross & Dragon!

Oh man. Another doozy from George R. R. Martin. This week’s short fiction review is about his The Way of Cross & Dragon. At least this one wasn’t completely revolting (I found Meathouse Man pretty disgusting but still worth reading). However, it was certainly another ‘Thinker’. I suppose that is good. Why read if you don’t want to think?

So what did this story make me think about?  A couple things really:

1) People really shit on the Catholic Church

In my mind I want Damien to look like one of these guys!

In my mind I want Damien to look like one of these guys!

I suppose I’m just tired of this motif. There is no doubt in my mind that the One True Interstellar Catholic Church is supposed to revert us back to a period in the Catholic Church’s history, probably the late 1100’s and early 1200’s (really it’s the Inquisitors that give it away). And even though this story is supposed to take place in the future, it feels like we are in the past. It also feels like any form of organized religion is fake or inauthentic, and that belief is for fools. That it is simply constructed to distract us from the harsh and terrible world we live in, or to control the dimwitted masses. I’m kind of over that twist. I’d like to see the Church catch a break once in a while.

Of course I could be misinterpreting the setting. I’m open to suggestions. AKA please comment.

2) Entropy: Really interesting way to look at the world

Entropy is 100% my favorite theme in Sci-Fi and Fantasy literature. Not so much from the everything breaks down and nothing lasts perspective. That’s pretty depressing and not a whole lot of fun. More from the perspective that things must be torn down to be built up. That the universe is constantly changing and from the ruins of something that once was, something else will be. Pretty dramatic stuff right?

The Way of Cross & Dragon seems to frame entropy as a contradiction. After listening to a huge speech about how everything eventually breaks down, the main character seems to be stuck in a seemingly everlasting cycle which will continue on forever. Pursuit of truth is the only true constant.

Is it possible that she's better looking as a brunette?

Is it possible that she’s better looking as a brunette?

3) This story has to be the precursor to GoT

Also, this Judas Iscariot fellow (at least the way he is constructed in The Way of Cross & Dragon) seems to resemble Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones an awful lot. Actually, the only difference I can see is that Judas is a dude. Anyway, I haven’t been reading GoT but I’ve been trying to keep up with the HBO series. Obviously, now I’m going to start looking for any type of biblical references in her character (although at present they are eluding me) as the story progresses. Maybe I’ll find something, maybe not.

Again, if you already know of some of these please comment.

And finally:

4) I think this is as happy as an ending gets for George R.R. Martin

I’m really starting to feel like George R.R. Martin just doesn’t do happy. I sincerely hope that he’s more cheerful in person than some of his writing. This is the second short fiction piece I’ve read by this author and for the second time I’ve need to put it down and go do something else to distract myself. He gets heavy and he does it quickly too.

Anyway, reading back over this post again, it would seem that I didn’t enjoy The Way of Cross & Dragon. That isn’t true. I did enjoy it and would certainly recommend it to anyone reading this post. I really liked the juxtaposition of elements in the story which were supposed to represent Entropy, with those elements which were supposed to represent Immortality. Order from chaos, chaos from order, etc. I think he could have pushed a little harder on in the setting. The inauthentic church motive seems a little tired to me, but this story was written back in the 80’s so maybe it was a fresher idea in that time. I think that’s all for now. If I find any good GoT tidbits relating to this story I’ll be sure to add them. Or maybe just do another post.



Orcs, Bears, and Assholes!

So here’s the deal. It’s probably been about a month or so since I posted, and it’s simply time to get back on the horse. I’m weeks behind on my Archer posts and haven’t watched The Americans in a few weeks either so . . . what to post about.

Another book review? Takes too long. Trying to post each week. Can’t finish a book in a week and do everything else at the same time.

Start a new TV series and try to post about that? Ugh too inflexible with the scheduling. Always have to watch when I’m free and then usually am not free afterwards to write. So when am I free?

Sundays. There are a bunch of good shows on Sundays. The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones is coming back soon. And Mad Men!! But all of those shows have had multiple seasons and to try to do another recap series is probably not the way to go.

I’ve been reading John Scalzi’s serial every tuesday, but it looks like Ron Hogan has already got the lock on that. (He does some good posts about The Human Division and has got a lot of insider info which is nice.)

But that doesn’t mean I can’t do something similar. There aren’t any other serials around that I know of to review but . . . I could still review short fiction each week and it probs wouldn’t take that long for me to do.

So that’s what this post is. My first short fiction review!! Ok don’t get too excited. The story is called Orcs, Bears, and Assholes and it’s by Robert Bevan. Intriguing title right? Just wait until I tell you the premise. It’s about a couple of kids who end up inside a role playing game (I’m assuming this all has something to do with D&D. He sets up the whole thing in another story called Critical Failures which I haven’t read yet but certainly plan to) and have to survive the game. In this short, our friends Cooper, Julian, Dave and Tim realize that the treasure map they’ve been following is completely bogus. When they try to make their way back to town, they are warned about a pack of orcs blocking the road and robbing travelers. Since they need to use the road, they are gonna have to face the orcs, but believe me when I say that they are certainly trying to avoid it at all costs. Oh and a bear shows up, and they run into a group jerks who tell them to get lost as the group tries to help (god what assholes right?).

Anyway, the whole thing unfolds in a pretty hilarious way with most of the humor coming from applying some of the sillier aspects of role-playing games to real life. I always hoped that somebody would apply this type of thing to literature and finally I’ve found a good example of it. I’m sure there are more but this one was especially comedic. Plus, it’s only 99 cents on Amazon, so no skin off your back if you end up not liking it. But I think you will.

Anyway, this week’s short, incase you missed it, is Orcs, Bears, and Assholes by Robert Bevan. Go read it. And then come back next Monday for the next short (my free time is on Sunday so this ain’t getting posted til Monday). Also, sorry for being a little link happy this week. Just trying it out. Anyway. Laters!