Dinosaur Wars by Thomas Hopp bills itsself as Jurassic Park meets Star Wars. Despite the concept, it is rated fairly highly, star-wise so it’s another one that can only be really bad or really good.
WHY I PICKED IT UP: My fiancee Julie recommended it to me for my freebook Friday segment because it’s free everywhere right now. I’ve been trying to veer away from smashwords fantasies, but LOOK AT THIS FREAKING COVER ART. How could I resist?
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED:
Page eight, at the word “Pteronychus”–a dinosaur which is for some reason known to the characters from a fossil. Self discolsure time: I love dinosaurs. I don’t remember becoming interested in dinosaurs; in my earliest memories, I already know all their names, vital statistics, and appearances. Now I don’t claim to know everything about dinosaurs, but I was not able to find any reference to this creature outside deviantart and Hopp’s own blog.
Pteronychus, translated according to my limited knowlege of Greek, means Wing-Claw but it is not described as having wings in the book. I hate to be a dino-snob, but this confuses and infuriates me! Why not pick a dinosaur that really existed and educate people about it?
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING:
I wrote to Mr. Hopp on his blog, asking for clarification of this decision. He describes himself as a scientist, and has the education to back it up, so he must’ve had a reason to make this choice, and I want to give him the opportunity to clarify that–it’s possibly there is a dinosaur I haven’t heard of, or some other explanation, in which case, I’ll be okay with that. If he writes me back, I’ll feature it here on the blog.
If this turns out to be an invented dinosaur, it would have been fairly easy for Hopp to quickly explain this was a newly discovered species–and I’d be okay with that–(new dinosaur remains are discovered fairly frequently) but unless it has wings he needs to change the name.
Other than that, the book is generally well written. We start with a park ranger tagging animals when things fall from the moon and a mysterious aircraft falls from the sky, and as he goes to investigate with others in the area. Clearly building to the precipitating event, and using hooking us based on what we know from the jacket synopsis.
I really hope I hear back from Hopp. Scientific accuracy is a big thing for me in sci-fi, at least to the extent it’s possible.
Am I being too fussy? Or do you agree about using extant dinosaurs? Tell me whether I’m being a douche in the comments.