Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Dinosaur Summer
Greg Bear
Warner Aspect Books, 325 pages

Dinosaur Summer
Greg Bear
Greg Bear's novels include Blood Music (Arbor), Eon (Bluejay, 1985), The Forge of God (Tor, 1986), Queen of Angels (Warner, 1990), Moving Mars (Tor, 1993), and Songs of Earth and Power.

ISFDB Bibliography
Greg Bear Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rodger Turner

Let's suppose you are fifteen or so. School's out for the summer and you're looking forward to goofing around 'til September. You're not sure what your buddies are going to do but you've got a few ideas. Dad and Mom separated awhile ago (she's living in another city) and you're not sure whom you're going to spend the summer with but it'll probably be Dad. He's OK, a bit of a dreamer though. Mom is much more serious and sensible, maybe that's why she's gone. Dad works as a free-lance photographer/writer and, one day, he comes home with a job. He's going to follow the final performance and mothballing of a circus. He wants you to come along. Interested? Duhhh! Whaddya think?

Greg Bear thought so too. This is the premise of Dinosaur Summer. Now, Greg Bear, being the kind of craftsman that he is, has thrown in a few more elements to tantalize. He's set it in 1947, he's added dinosaurs, found fifty years before but out of fashion for the day, he's added South American explorers and dictators and he's built a cast of marvelous characters both real and imagined. Bear tells us they're going to film the story of the dinosaur release back into the jungle. John Ford (of Stagecoach fame) is interested. Ray Harryhausen (geez, I loved his movies) is along as a cameraman. We even get to meet John Ringling North.

Greg Bear is a wizard at blending fact and fiction. He takes us on a shipboard journey from the US down to Brazil and then up the Amazon to the mesa in the deep rain forest where Professor Challenger first discovered the dinosaurs on a lost plateau. The bridge across is rusting, the native Indians are rebelling and the government has factionalized. Nobody and everybody is in charge. Into this morass comes a convoy of dinosaurs who have spent a large portion of their lives in captivity but sense their freedom is only days away.

Not much has gone wrong but not much has gone as planned when they reach the bridge. Bear, via a deft touch and interesting choice of players in the event, puts the good guys on one side of the bridge, the bad guys along with one of the dinosaurs on the other when the bridge topples into the gorge.

"At least until the crew comes back and shoots that son of a bitch," OBie said passionately. "They can rig a rope bridge and we'll swing across, and then, by God..." He stood and brushed off his pants. "By God, I'm going back to Los Angeles and take a long hot shower and never go any goddamned place again in my life."
Anthony shook his head and gave his son a wide, almost maniacal smile. "You all right?" he asked.
"Yeah," Peter said.
"Let me look at you."
Anthony touched his son's arm solicitously. Peter made a face and said, "It's all right, really," and they all froze. Through the whispering harshness of the wind they listened to something, not the venator, something on their side of the chasm, a sound Peter had never heard before...
Now it gets really interesting.

Greg Bear explores the difficulties of a father watching his son mature, a son he has raised, protected and cared for yet knows that he has to let go. From the other side he writes of a son who is trying to shrug off the shackles of youth to show his dad that he can function as an adult. Sure, he'll make mistakes, he'll get into trouble, he'll do foolish things but if Dad has done a good job, he'll understand and learn that it is all part of becoming an adult and his own person. Both come to realization that there is a time when the relationship matures and they'll be able to draw on the strengths of the other and be there to provide support in times of need.

Greg Bear has woven an intriguing blend of real life and the fantastic into an original novel of rivetting adventure. He should be proud to add this one to his catalogue of award-winning fiction.

Copyright © 1998 by Rodger Turner

Rodger has read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in forty years. He can only shake his head and say, "So many books, so little time." More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide