Friday, June 22, 2007

Time Safari by David Drake (1982)

Paperback cover blurb


Henry Vickers knows his dinos – tyrannosaurs with six-inch fangs, triceratops whose horns can flip over a truck, and their flying cousins with fifty-foot wingspans and beaks a yard long. Vickers has led more big-game hunters into the past than anybody else on earth, and he’s never lost a client.

But this time he’ll be lucky to bring ‘em back alive. It’s not that the beasts are the problem – it’s the hunters. Especially Andrienne Soames, who’s blond, beautiful and as good with a rifle as anyone Vickers has ever met. The trouble is, Adrienne handles males the way a Black Widow spider does –

And now she’s looking at Henry Vickers…

My thoughts

Time Safari seems to take its name from Ray Bradbury’s classic short story, “The Sound of Thunder.” The time-travel company in Bradbury’s story also is called Time Safari. But where Bradbury used the concept to explore the nature of time, Drake settles for old-fashioned adventure. That’s not a complaint. Time Safari is a fun little book.

The novel is actually three stories strung together, all following the exploits of big-game hunter Henry Vickers. The first is set in prehistoric Africa and features sabertooth cats and early hominids. The second and third stories are set in the Cretaceous and have humans chasing down the most dangerous prey of all: Tyrannosaurus rex. Drake’s dinosaurs are hot-blooded and very hungry, but as usual in safari stories, it is the humans who turn out to be the greatest threat.

Time Safari was reissued years later as Tyrannosaur (see review below), but I recommend reading the original if you can find a copy. The opening story of Time Safari was removed in the reprint, which was a shame. It is a quick-moving and action-packed novel that, at just over 200 pages, is the appropriate length for brain candy such as this. And the original novel comes with an afterword by the author.


  • Drake writes on his web site that while he enjoyed researching the book, it probably wasn’t the best move commercially, although his ability to turn it in on deadline convinced his publishers to give him another project.


  • None

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