The following paleo-tales are all available on the Web for free, either because the author posted them or because they are now in the public domain. I'm planning a future post about novels in the public domain, so none of those titles are listed here. The titles below are all short stories.
First up is science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer, who has posted several of his short stories on his web site.
- Just Like Old Times -- The mind of a serial killer is transferred to a Tyrannosaurus rex, where he gets to stalk the greatest prey of all.
- Gator -- A scientist investigates the urban legend about alligators in the sewers and finds the truth is more bizarre than the tabloids would have you believe.
- Forever -- Intelligent dinosaurs prepare for the asteroid that will bring their era to a close.
- Peking Man -- A secret history is revealed through the bones of a missing fossil.
- The Dragons of Summer Gulch by Robert Reed -- A tale set in an alternate world where the age of dinosaurs was replaced by an age of dragons. Fossil hunters in what may be the American West fight over some extraordinarily well-preserved dragon eggs.
- The Ugly Chickens by Howard Waldrop -- A ornithologist searches for the last dodos on Earth after encountering an elderly lady on a bus who claims to have seen them.
- The Seven Geases -- A personal favorite of mine, although it is admittedly a strange piece of work. The story is about a snobbish aristocrat who is cursed to follow an archaeopteryx into the bowels of a mountain, where he encounters horrors both mythological and prehistoric.
- Ubbo-Sathla -- A man purchases a strange stone from a curio-dealer and uses it to travel to the dawn of life on Earth, where a great horror awaits. (Try to ignore the ugly reference about the "dwarfish Hebrew" -- early pulp fiction writers were notoriously bigoted.)
Visit the web site's fiction section for a larger list of stories. Below are links to the titles with a paleontology theme. Just be warned that some contain racist attitudes that were unfortunately common for the time they were written.
- The Last Haunt of the Dinosaur by Henry Francis
- Aepyornis Island by H.G. Wells
- The Terror of Blue John Gap by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- A Relic of the Pliocene by Jack London
- The Killing of the Mammoth by H. Tukeman
- The Monster of Lake LaMetrie by Wardon Allan Curtis (gets my vote for the strangest paleo-story ever published)
- The Pterodactyl by Thomas Charles Sloane
- The Ancient Horror by Hal Grant
- The Paradise of the Ice Wilderness by Jul. Regis