Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Six board games for the bored paleontologist

There is no shortage of board games about dinosaurs and paleontology. Most, however, are aimed squarely at kids. And while there are many fantasy- and science fiction-themed board games made for adults, few of them feature prehistoric creatures.

That said, a handful of paleontology-themed board games have come out in recent years that can be enjoyed by grown ups. Chances are I will never get to review most of them—I’m more a miniatures gamer, and I usually only play board games that can be played solo. But I didn’t want to leave them out.

I’ll post reviews of some RPG and miniatures rulesets in coming weeks. In the meantime, here are six notable board games you might find at your local game store or online. In each, I post a link to the game’s BoardGameGeek pages, which has videos and reviews of the game in question.

Pirates vs. Dinosaurs

 

Ahoy! Envision Treasure Island crossed with King Kong and you get Pirates vs. Dinosaurs, a game designed by Richard Launius of Arkham Horror fame. Players are pirates who lead their crews into a dinosaur-infested island in search of lost treasure. I don’t know much about the gameplay, but I do like the cartoonish art.

Triassic Terror

 

Right away any dinosaur lover can spot the errors on Triassic Terror's box art: None of the dinosaurs depicted lived in the Triassic, and T. rex and Stegosaurus lived millions of years apart. Still, board games are rarely concerned with scientific accuracy. Triassic Terror apparently is an area control game where you are trying to build the biggest dinosaur herd, all the while using predatory dinosaurs to pick off your opponents’ herds. It seems to be getting generally positive reviews.

Bios: Megafauna

 

Know how I just said board games are rarely concerned with scientific accuracy? Bios: Megafauna sets to prove me wrong. It is a “simulationist” game in which you evolve your dinosaur or mammal species over millions of years. It has a solitaire variant but I’ve been afraid to pick it up because its rules are very complex. This is probably only a game for the most die-hard of paleontology geeks. Also, the game was previously released as American Megafauna.

Dominant Species

 

Dominant Species is an abstract board game in which players are one of six species trying to survive a coming Ice Age. It is not as concerned with scientific realism as Bios: Megafauna, but again, its rules are complex. Players who do not want to shell out the full price for the board game can instead buy the iPad version. The title also has a card game variant.

EVO

 

In EVO, players evolve their dinosaurs so they can survive a changing climate and other dinosaurs. This game has had two very different editions. The first edition features cartoonish art with a humorous tone. The second edition boasts an odd fantasy theme about tribes of humanoids who live with the dinosaurs and genetically engineer them. It also makes several changes to the rules. Which version is better? I can’t say, but the second version is the easier one to find.

Uchronia

 

Fans of Dinotopia will get déjà vu with Uchronia. This tile-laying game is about building a civilization populated by humans and dinosaurs that work together. The art is quite nice.

If you want more suggestions for games about dinosaurs and evolution, check out 152 Dinosaur Board Games. You can also find a wide variety of titles under the “prehistoric” category on BoardGameGeek.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Crytozoica by Mark Ellis (2010)

Cover blurb

Cryptozoica is not your daddy’s Jurassic Park or your granddaddy’s Lost World!

A non-human language spoken by Biblical patriarchs… coded secrets scribbled in the suppressed logbook of Charles Darwin… an elite society of scholars dedicated to preventing humankind from learning that life’s true origins may lie within a bizarre ecosystem on a forgotten island christened… Cryptozoica.

From novelist Mark Ellis, the writer of Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze and the creator of the best-selling Outlanders series, comes Cryptozoica, a tale that combines history and speculative science with blazing action.

When ex-military officers “Tombstone” Jack Kavanaugh and his partner Augustus Crowe gamble their lives to lead a pair of cynical scientists deep into the tropical cauldron of Big Tamtung, they plunge headlong into the heart of the greatest discovery of all time – and into a bloody confrontation with a misshapen madman who lusts after a miracle but will settle for murder.

On the island christened Cryptozoica the past has not stopped breathing — and can still eat you alive.

My thoughts

“Oh my God!” Bob said. “We found a lost world of dinosaurs!”

“I know!” Larry replied. “We’ll be famous!”

“OK, we’ve got to call someone important, like the U.N. or National Geographic Society,” Bob continued. “You know, have them come in, set up wildlife sanctuary, study the animals…”

“Hold on!” Larry interjected. “I have an even better idea! Let’s call the Chinese mob! They’ll bring in lots of money and hookers and drugs! It’ll be great!”

“Wait, what?!” Bob said.

Of course, there are no characters called Larry and Bob to be found in the pages of Cryptozoica, and the above conversation took place only in my imagination. But it sums up the situation we find ourselves in at the beginning of the book, where the protagonists have discovered a lost world only to sell the information to the Chinese mob, which have put up the funds to turn the island into Jurassic Park, except with prostitutes.

Cryptozoica is, in fact, a cross between Jurassic Park and violent, pulp adventure series like Mack Bolan. It is full of a cast of generally sleazy characters who, after a lengthy setup, find themselves stranded on the lost world and must solve its secrets to survive. That said, it is actually a pretty fun work with some well-written action scenes. The largest flaw comes during the final act, when the plot goes off the rails to delve into wacky conspiracies involving reptoids.

Should you pick this one up? Well, if you like your men to be manly men and your women able to decapitate charging raptors with a samurai sword, then give it a try. If you have a low tolerance for cheese, best skip this one.

Trivia
  • As stated on the blurb, Mark Ellis is best known as the creator of the Outlanders series, which is set in a post-apocalyptic future. According to Wikipedia, the series also invokes conspiracy theories involving reptile people.
  • Cyptozoica is illustrated by artist Jeff Slemons. Some samples of his work can be seen on the book’s website, cryptozoica.com
  • The book should not be confused with the 1967 Brian Aldiss novel Cryptozoic!
Reviews

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Dinosaur Hunter by Homer Hickam (2010)

Cover blurb

Real cowboys still work in today's Montana ranchlands. One of them is Mike Wire, a former L.A. homicide detective who is running the Square C ranch and pining for Jeanette Coulter, its iron-fisted owner.

But Montana isn't home to just horses, cattle, cowboys, and cowgirls. Beneath the earth lie dinosaur fossils worth a fortune. When a paleontologist and his attractive young assistants arrive at the Square C, everything changes. Death begins to stalk the badlands and Mike must use everything he's learned as a cop and a cowboy to save the people he has come to love.

Bestselling author Homer Hickam enters new territory here to write about a world that has fascinated him for decades, drawing on his own experiences fossil-hunting and getting to know the people of Montana. In the vein of the novels of Larry McMurtry and Tony Hillerman, The Dinosaur Hunter pays tribute to the still amazing and glorious American West.

My thoughts

This is a tough review for me because one of my major problems with The Dinosaur Hunter lies with the author’s politics – well, not with Hickam’s personal beliefs, per se, but how he allows his views to shape the novel’s characters. Hickam is best described as a Tea Party Republican, the major difference being that he accepts evolution as a fact. So any characters in The Dinosaur Hunter that conflict with his world view – environmentalists, government officials, Californians – are portrayed as incompetent at best and as evil at worst. This is not a book filled with people with complex motivations.

The heroes of the story are the conservative, hard-working ranchers of eastern Montana, like former L.A. detective turned cowboy Mike Wire. He fled California to move to a place where crime is only something that happens in big cities, and where kids don’t have sex until they’re properly married. (Having lived in Montana for five years, I literally laughed out loud at that passage – Hickam truly is naïve about rural life.) Wire’s life is fine until one day a paleontologist shows up on the ranch where he works, looking to dig up dinosaur bones. Fast forward until nearly two-thirds of the way into the novel, when we have the first murder in what is supposed to be a murder mystery – a murder that Wire mostly ignores. Move ahead until the final few pages, when the bad guys show up, shoot up some people, explain their motivations, and are quickly dispatched to wrap up everything in a neat, tidy ending.

Yes, I’m being harsh, but The Dinosaur Hunter is simply a bad novel. For much of the book, there is no plot, and when one starts to materialize, our hero doesn’t show much interest in it. The characters are negative stereotypes based on Hickam’s simplistic take on politics. (Although that is a weakness of a lot of genre fiction – many liberal authors, for instance, can’t seem to write about businessmen who are not greedy or religious people who are not fanatics.) And the main character is an unlikeable jerk who spends most of his time trying to get in the pants of every woman around him.

If there are any redeeming qualities of the novel, then it is the small lectures we get about dinosaurs and the descriptions of life on a dinosaur dig. But if you are looking for that, there are plenty of nonfiction books that are much better reads than The Dinosaur Hunter.

Trivia
  • Hickam is a former NASA engineer best known for autobiographical Rocket Boys, which describes his life as a child growing up in West Virginia. The book was made into the 1999 film October Sky. His website is www.homerhickam.com 
  • In an afterward, Hickam said he came up with the idea for the novel after being introduced to paleontologist Jack Horner by Joe Johnston, who directed Jurassic Park III.
Reviews

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Dinosaur Feather by Sissel-Jo Gazan (2008)

Cover blurb

Selected by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan as her favorite mystery of 2013 and one of the top ten mysteries of the year by The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Nolan, S.J. Gazan's debut novel The Dinosaur Feather is a classic of Scandinavian noir. With keenly observed and deeply flawed characters, this scintillating thriller uniquely employs one of the most controversial and fascinating areas of contemporary dinosaur and avian research in its diabolical twists. The Dinosaur Feather has been published in more than a dozen countries and won the Danish Crime Novel of the Decade Award. The Financial Times called it “a top-flight thriller—smart and outrageously entertaining.”

Biology postgraduate, PhD hopeful, and single mom Anna Bella Nor is just two weeks away from defending her thesis on the saurian origin of birds when her academic supervisor, the highly respected yet widely despised Dr. Lars Helland, is found dead in his office chair at the University of Copenhagen. The police discover a copy of Anna’s thesis in the dead man’s bloody lap.

When the autopsy suggests that Helland was murdered in a fiendishly ingenious way, brilliant but tormented young Police Superintendent Søren Marhauge begins the daunting task of unraveling the knotted skeins of interpersonal and intellectual intrigue among the scientists at the university.

Everyone involved with the investigation — from Anna Bella Nor to Helland’s numerous rivals to Marhauge’s own ex-wife, who is pregnant with her current husband’s child — has something to hide, complicating the investigation and presenting the detective with the greatest professional and personal challenge of his career. 

My thoughts

Think of The Dinosaur Feather as The Girl with the Dinosaur Tattoo. It doesn’t quite reach the same literary heights as that other, more famous work of Scandinavian crime fiction, but it an interesting read nonetheless.

The plot is a bit convoluted, but the basic mystery involves the murder of biology student Anna Bella Nor’s academic supervisor. Nor didn’t like the guy, so at first the murder is more of an inconvenience given she is scheduled to deliver a defense of her dissertation in less than a week. But as she learns more about him, the more clues she gathers about why he was targeted and the identity of his murderer.

I’m leaving out quite a lot of detail because The Dinosaur Feather really is a novel packed with multiple mysteries, most of them of involving family secrets. The plot touches on dinosaur paleontology, academic politics, sexual desire, and the burden of not being honest with the people you love, but in truth they never mesh particularly well. As a straight-forward murder mystery, the novel doesn’t satisfy given the characters are more wrapped up in dealing with their own problems than solving crimes. It is much more successful as a character study – Nor and the rest of the cast are believable, flawed human beings, and as a reader you become genuinely interested in their fates.

If there is one sour note it a side plot about an ornithologist who doesn’t accept the now widely held view that birds descended from dinosaurs. His story does nothing to advance the overall plot, and the character seems little more than a straw man the author uses to ridicule real-life scientists who hold his beliefs – he is arrogant, wrongheaded, and even a potential pedophile.

Should you pick up The Dinosaur Feather? Many readers of traditional crime fiction will probably find the plot too unfocused for their tastes. But I think that despite its flaws, the novel is worth giving a try, if only for the excellent characters that populate its pages.

Trivia
  • The Dinosaur Feather has racked up multiple awards in its home country of Denmark, including awards for best novel of the year and crime novel of the decade.
Reviews

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards by Jim Ottaviani & Big Time Attic (2005)

Cover blurb

COWBOYS, DINOSAURS, AND SCIENTISTS?!

The wild, wild west provided the setting for some famous battles, but the gunfight at the O.K. Corral can’t hold a candle to the Bone War. In the late 1800s the newly re-United States dug, tunneled, and blasted its way to the Pacific Ocean, exposing rock that hadn’t seen the light of day for millions of years.

Nor had the bones buried in those rocks. Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards is the story of Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, two scientists who found and fought for those bones, and the artist Charles R. Knight, who almost single-handedly brought dinosaurs back to life for an awestruck public.

My thoughts

If there was an award for best title ever for a work of fiction, then it would definitely go to Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards.

Luckily, the rest of this graphic novel is just as good. Bone Sharps is a fictionalized account of the “Bone Wars,” the name given to the bitter rivalry between two 19th century American paleontologists, Edward Drinker Cope and O.C. Marsh. Both men were consumed by hatred of the other, and in the end they would die nearly penniless and alone partly as a result of their feud. But their rivalry also led to the discovery of hundreds of new dinosaur and prehistoric mammal fossils, with Marsh’s work in particular providing some of the earliest fossil evidence to back Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

If I have one complaint about Bone Sharps is that it doesn’t show how each man’s work related to the scientific debates of the time. But other than that I have a hard time finding flaws in this excellent comic. Ottaviani’s writing does a good job capturing personality quirks of each scientist. He also manages tell a good tale without taking too many liberties with history, as revealed in a “Fact or Fiction?” appendix in the back of the book. The cartoonish art could be a turnoff for some readers, but I quite liked it, particularly the use of sepia tones to give the comic’s panels an old-timey look.

Bone Sharps is the best account of the infamous Bone Wars you will find outside reading a history book. Definitely pick it up if you have even the slightest interest in the subject.

Trivia
  • Mark Schultz, creator of Xenozoic Tales, provided the cover art.
     
  • Ottaviani has teamed up with many artists over the years to pen several graphic novel biographies of famous scientists, including J. Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Feynman. His works are available at www.gt-labs.com
Reviews

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sea of Time by Will Hubbell (2004)

Note: This is the sequel to Cretaceous Sea, reviewed below. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the first book.

Cover blurb

Constance Clements, a mine owner in 1880s Montana, knows a lot about the future – because she is a traveler from another time. But she never saw the murder of her husband coming…

Now, the shocked, grief-stricken Con will do anything to get Rick back – even alter history. Teaming up with a renegade time traveler, Con assumes the identity of a woman from the 27th century to try to prevent her husband’s murder. Too late she discovers that she is a pawn in a devious plot to endanger the future of all humanity. Con must gain the trust of a Rick from an alternate timeline, who has never met her, and race to the Jurassic Period – where they will have to outwit an enemy who has mastered both time and space…

My thoughts

Con, one of the surviving time travelers from Cretaceous Sea, planned to live the rest of her life in 19th century Montana. She and her husband Rick have used their knowledge of the future start up a profitable mining operation, and the couple has a young son. Then a mysterious stranger from the future comes asking for Con’s help. When she refuses, reality shifts: In the new timeline, Rick has been murdered and their son died in infancy. The stranger once again appeals for Con’s help. This time she agrees, hoping to prevent Rick’s death. So begins an adventure that will see Con journey to the far future, alternate timelines, and finally Jurassic North America.

Now this is more like it.

Sea of Time is a superior novel to its predecessor in about every way. It has a more interesting plot with better pacing and just enough twists to keep things interesting. Even the dinosaur scenes are better handled, showing Hubbell has sharpened his writing skills in between novels. At 360 pages, the book still feels a little long for the story it is trying to tell, but it is far from being a slog to read. The only downside is readers will need to first wade through the prosaic Cretaceous Sea in order to make sense of Sea of Time’s plot.

Trivia
Reviews

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Have paleofiction news to share? Contact me!

First, a bit of news: Science fiction author David Drake recently announced on his website that Baen will republish the four adventures of his time-traveling dinosaur hunter, Henry Vickers. It will be the first time all four stories appear in a single volume, having previously been published in Time Safari and Tyrannosaur. The anthology will also feature an unrelated, "proto-steampunk" story titled Travellers. Look for Dinosaurs & a Dirigible on Sept. 2.

I hope to share more paleofiction news in the future, but I need your help. Are you a self-published author who wants to get the word out about your new dinosaur novel? Have you learned about a new work coming out in the near future? Then contact me at prehistoricpulp@outlook.com. I won't promise to review every work I come across, and I certainly won't promise a favorable review of your work, but I will at least share the news with the wider world on my blog.

Also, I have cleaned up the comments section and have implemented some new rules for posting feedback, all part of my effort to fight spam. Comments will now be moderated. Don't fret: My only rule for posting is you keep it on topic and civil. Feel free to disagree with my reviews - vehemently if you want - but treat other people's opinions with respect. Again, reach out to me via email if you have any concerns about how your comments were handled.

Cretaceous Sea by Will Hubbell (2002)

Cover blurb

Fasten your seatbelts and remain seated. We’re about to land at the beginning of time.

Paleontology student Rick Clements has been offered a chance to study prehistoric specimens in their natural habitat - not genetically engineered, not state-of-the-art computer generated. They’re real. The most startling breakthrough in science is ready. It’s a time-warp machine that offers the ultimate travel experience for a privileged few - a return to the Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Welcome to Montana Isle, untouched, unspoiled, and unknown.

A group of travelers has arrived at the most astounding resort in history. But their exploration of the past is about to be cut short. The meteor that will turn this paradise of sapphire seas into a wasteland is nearing. And their only chance to make it out alive is somehow survive the disaster that ended the age of the dinosaurs…

My thoughts

Constance Greighton’s father is a jerk, but he is rich jerk, and that has attracted the attention of the mysterious Peter Green. Green, you see, has a time machine, and he wants the elder Greighton to finance his plan to open a luxury resort in late Cretaceous North America.

To sell the businessman on the idea, Green takes Greighton and his daughter back in time to Montana Isle, a small island in the inland sea that once divided the continent. Joining them is Rick Clements, a paleontology student hired for his expertise about the time period. Things go smoothly at first, but what none of the time travelers realize is that the asteroid that ended the Age of Dinosaurs is only a few days away. When it comes crashing down, all hell will break loose.

Cretaceous Sea is a novel with a good idea driving its plot, but the book never really lives up to its potential. One problem is Hubbell doesn’t spend much time fleshing out the Cretaceous world – this is a dinosaur novel with a surprising lack of dinosaurs. Another is that not a whole lot happens within the book’s 340 pages. A good editor could have easily trimmed the novel by 100 pages, which would have resolved many of the book’s pacing problems.

The novel’s two protagonists, Constance Greighton and Rick Clements, are not particularly deep characters, but they are human enough that you care about their plight. And I did enjoy the disaster scenes following the asteroid impact. Cretaceous Sea is not a bad book, it’s just not a particularly memorable one. If anything, it is worth reading for background to its superior sequel, Sea of Time.

Trivia
Reviews

The Doctor and the Dinosaurs by Mike Resnick (2013)

Cover blurb

Welcome to a Steampunk wild west starring Doc Holliday, with zombies, dinosaurs, robots, and cowboys.

The time is April, 1885. Doc Holliday lies in bed in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado, expecting never to leave his room again. But the medicine man and great chief Geronimo needs him for one last adventure. Renegade Comanche medicine men object to the newly-signed treaty with Theodore Roosevelt. They are venting their displeasure on two white men who are desecrating tribal territory in Wyoming. Geronimo must protect the men or renege on his agreement with Roosevelt. He offers Doc one year of restored health in exchange for taking on this mission.

Welcome to the birth of American paleontology, spearheaded by two brilliant men, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, two men whose genius is only exceeded by their hatred for each other's guts.

Now, with the aid of Theodore Roosevelt, Cole Younger, and Buffalo Bill Cody, Doc Holliday must save Cope and Marsh not only from the Comanches, not only from living, breathing dinosaurs, but from each other. And that won't be easy.

My thoughts

The Doctor and the Dinosaurs should have been a book I loved: I’m a big fan of steampunk. I’m an Old West history buff. And, of course, I enjoy fiction about paleontology and dinosaurs.

So why didn’t I like it? The answer is bad writing.

In an alternate history where Native American magic has slowed the expansion of the United States west of the Mississippi River, the feud between 19th century paleontologists Cope and Marsh has escalated to open war. Both men have set up camp in Wyoming in their search for dinosaur fossils, but what they don’t realize is they are digging on sacred burial ground. The legendary gunfighter Doc Holliday is recruited to convince the scientists to pack up and leave. If they don’t, the two camps will face the wrath of the local Comanche, who are using their tribal magic to resurrect dinosaurs to kill the intruders.

At the heart of the novel is a fun idea with a great setting, but the writing is so plain and workmanlike that it drains all life from the premise. The characters – all historic figures – are one-dimensional, with most of their interaction consisting of long stretches of bad dialogue. The plot itself has little in the way of twists, mystery, or menace, moving in a straight line from the beginning to a rushed, deus ex machina ending. As for the dinosaurs, they prove not to be much of a threat – they’re usually dispatched only a couple pages after making an appearance, and in one case, a character takes out an adult T. rex with nothing more than a revolver.

The Doctor and the Dinosaurs struck me as a book that was churned out quickly to make a few bucks for the author. Indeed, it reads more like a first draft than a finished work. There is simply no excuse why a novel with this much potential for fun should be so boring.

Trivia
  • Most readers will find the real-life feud between Cope and Marsh more interesting than the squabble portrayed in The Doctor and the Dinosaurs. A good place to start is with a PBS documentary Dinosaur Wars, which can be viewed online.
  • Mike Resnick is a well-known science fiction writer who has penned numerous works, including several critically acclaimed novels. His website is mikeresnick.com
Reviews

Friday, January 3, 2014

Burial Ground by Michael McBride (2013)

Cover Blurb

When the body of Hunter Gearhardt washes up on the banks of a seasonal river outside of Pomacochas, Peru, with only samples of vegetation, a handful of feathers, two black- and gray-streaked rocks, and a golden headdress of indeterminate origin in his possession, his grieving father launches an expedition to determine how his son died. The party uses these clues to divine Hunter’s route into the jungle, where they find a surviving offshoot of a primitive tribe, long thought to be extinct, and something far more sinister, something that’s been able to avoid discovery for eons for one simple reason: No one leaves the rainforest alive.

My thoughts

Self-published works can be hazardous territory for readers. Most are simply awful, authored by people who have little idea how to write a coherent sentence, let alone an entire novel. But there are a few diamonds among the mile-high mounds of coal. Burial Ground is one of them.

Burial Ground has been favorably compared to Michael Crichton’s works in both tone and theme. The fact is the novel is pretty much a rewrite of Crichton’s Congo, except it is set in South America instead of Africa and stars monsters that would be right at home in Jurassic Park. Businessman Leo Gearhardt launches an expedition to a remote corner of Peru to find out who — or possibly what — killed his son, a geologist who was on the cusp of discovering a major gold ore deposit. One of the few clues are some strange feathers that were found on his son’s body — feathers that don’t match those of any known bird. Gearhardt assembles a small team of scientists and a documentary crew to accommodate him on the expedition, but what they find only adds to the mystery: Why do the natives fortify their village with thick walls? What is the link between the ancient ruins the team discovers and legends about feathered serpents? And what’s up with those creepy butterflies?

I’m being intentionally vague because much of fun of the novel is unraveling the mystery that the author slowly builds. And I do mean slowly given that most of the action takes place in the final few chapters of Burial Ground. Readers with patience will be rewarded with an adventure that’s not particularly memorable but still entertaining, like stumbling upon a B-movie that turns out better than you expected. Granted, the plot may lack originality, and chances are most readers of this blog will figure out what monsters are lurking in the Peruvian rainforest long before they make their first appearance. Still, the author knows how to spin a good yarn that keeps you wanting to know what happens next. Give it a try if you miss Crichton.

Trivia

The author has self-published several novels, most of them thrillers. His website is author.michaelmcbride.net

Reviews

After a seven-year hiatus, Prehistoric Pulp is back

"Where have you been?!"

Well, there was that trip to the Cretaceous, and that encounter with the T. rex with indigestion. Then I had that year-long stopover in the Devonian where the only thing to eat was foul-tasting trilobites. Finally I landed in Ice Age Europe and raised a family with my Neanderthal wife, until she left me for a strapping Cro-Magnon. Still bitter about that, although I admit he was a damn good mammoth hunter.

"Get serious: Where have you been?!"

OK, calm down. I started Prehistoric Pulp seven years ago partly as a way to alleviate my boredom, and partly as a way to share my love of fiction about paleontology. I was living in Bozeman, Montana, at the time -- home of the Museum of the Rockies, which is world famous for its dinosaur collection. I blogged furiously for a few months then, to be honest, life got in the way. I had a bit of financial crisis, which was soon resolved, and afterward I found myself busy with both work and a new group of friends. There also was the fact that I soon ran out of things to write about, given there isn't much fiction published about dinosaurs and the prehistoric world, except the many books that come out every year aimed at children. Just look at the seven years that have passed since my last post: There are probably fewer than two dozen novels that have been published in that time that deal with paleontology.

I always promised myself I would return to Prehistoric Pulp because my love for the subject matter never went away. I was hesitant because of my long silence, and I had a couple career changes that necessitated big life adjustments on my part. Now here I am, living in Washington, D.C., and I feel I have the time and stability to return to writing about paleontological fiction.

That said, this is not going to be a blog that updates frequently, only because of the scarcity of the subject matter. But I am currently working on new reviews and new essays, with the hope of blogging at least once a week.

I'm also working to clean up the site. The comments sections are littered with spam, and some of the links need to be removed or fixed. Please bear with me as I make these changes.

Now, enough of all this boring personal crap. Let's get back to the fiction.