Carnivore by Leigh Clark (1997)

CarnivoreCover blurb

A LIMITED FOOD SUPPLY

In an isolated Antarctic research outpost, a small group of scientists made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. For the first time, modern man would come face-to-face with the absolute ruler of the prehistoric world, the fearsome king of the dinosaurs – the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Blinded by scientific zeal, the researchers thought only of the importance of their find, the contribution to modern science. But soon they were forced to open their eyes to an inescapable fact. Once revived, the specimen needed to feed. And unlike some of his extinct relatives, this one was a…

CARNIVORE

My thoughts

Oh boy.

Here’s the plot: Sixty-five million years ago, a T. rex living in Antarctica is out hunting when the meteor falls and locks the continent in a permanent ice age. Never mind that T. rexes never lived in Antarctica or the continent didn’t freeze over until 30 million years ago. Well, the poor dino dies, but she leaves behind one egg that is frozen in the ice.

Fast forward to the modern day. Antarctic researchers looking for a safe place to store nuclear waste find the egg. They thaw it out and it hatches. Great discovery for science, right? No, quick way to get rich, the base leader says. He and some cronies take the scientists hostage and use nuclear waste to accelerate the hatchling’s growth. (Whaaaa??) Soon they have an adult T. rex on their hands. It gets free and eats or flattens nearly everyone on the base while somehow surviving sub-zero temperatures without so much as a fur coat.

This is a bad novel, make no mistake, from the juvenile prose to the silliness of the situation. (The back cover tells us Clark researched the climate of Antarctica and the “habits and lifestyle” of T. rex. Yeah, right.) The major problem is Clark plays it with a straight face. There is none of the playfulness of Carnosaur, another B-grade dinosaur novel that manages to rise above its pulp origins to become a good read. I’m guessing Clark assumes the people who will read this novel are pretty dumb, so he doesn’t bother to try to put together a logical or even a coherent plot.

Every time I hear someone talk about how hard it is to get a novel published these days, I whip this baby out. Actually, that’s not true. I don’t want to admit I read it in the first place.

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