Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Upcoming title: Dinosaurs by the Decades

Despite the popularity of dinosaurs, there are few books that explore the animals as a pop culture phenomenon. Now you can add one more to this short list: Dinosaurs by the Decades by Randy Moore, coming in July.

From the description:
Providing an appealing chronology of "all things dinosaur," this book covers these ancient creatures' roles and surprising importance in science, religion, and society at large.

This exhaustive, up-to-date book contains more than 2,000 entries about dinosaurs and dinosaur-related topics. It provides not only detailed information about their discovery, underlying science, and recent technologies and theories but also encompasses all of the facets of dinosaurs in society—for example, their use in consumer marketing and promotion, popularization of dinosaurs in the media, as "proof" for both evolutionists and creationists to substantiate their claims about life's origins, and as cultural artifacts.
The book is priced at $89, which is high but not unusual for a title from a small press. As for the author himself, Moore is a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota who has written a handful of titles, mostly about the evolution-creationism debate.

As for other books that explore dinosaurs in popular culture, the title most relevant to this blog is the 2006 book Dinosaurs in Fantastic Fiction by Allen A. Debus. The author also penned a sequel of sorts, Prehistoric Monsters: The Real and Imagined Creatures of the Past That We Love to Fear, in 2009. Paleontologist Jose Luis Sanz wrote Starring T. rex!: Dinosaur Mythology and Popular Culture in 2002. Art historian W.J.T. Mitchell gave his own post-modern spin on the topic in his 1998 book The Last Dinosaur Book: The Life and Times of a Cultural Icon.

The subject even has its own magazine. Prehistoric Times is a quarterly publication all about prehistoric animals in science and pop culture, with a heavy emphasis on the latter. Every issue contains reader-submitted art along with reviews of current toys and books about paleontology. I'm a big fan of the magazine and have been getting it for years - I recommend it if you have even the slightest interest in the subject.

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