Mysterious and mighty, they were as untamed as the primeval forest, feared by lesser creatures for their brutal power. Small and lithe or large and lumbering, they ruled a wild world – and millions of years later, they continue to rule our imaginations…
Dinosaurs II is one of the best short-story collections about dinosaurs that you can find – if you can find it. It features 11 stories that were originally published in science fiction magazines. As a result, the story quality is much better than later anthologies where most works were commissioned for the books and the editors lazily crammed in any submissions they got, regardless if they were readable or not.
The book kicks off with a Reginald Rivers tale by L. Sprague de Camp titled “The Big Splash,” which has the safari guide leading an expedition back in time to witness the asteroid (or comet) impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. Other stories concern a serial killer whose mind is transferred to a T. rex; a security guard who must guard a certain purple dinosaur that turns out to be the real thing; a trio of “raptors” that are resurrected in the present day; and a redheaded virgin who studies dinosaurs in the nude, much to the delight of the guy assigned to protect her.
There also are a couple tales by Isaac Asimov and Clifford D. Simak about the real reason dinosaurs went extinct.
The stories are pretty strong, and in each case you could tell the author was having fun with the subject. Only the final story, “Trembling Earth” by Alan Steele, came off as a little forced, partly because of the odd story structure Steele used to tell it. Another story, “Dinosaur Plies” by R.V. Branham, isn’t a story at all but rather… well, I’m not sure, but it’s only five pages long. Anyway, Dinosaurs II is definitely a book worth picking up. I’m sure there are a few copies collecting dust in a used bookstore somewhere.
- “The Big Splash” by L. Sprague de Camp
- “Just Like Old Times” by Robert J. Sawyer
- “The Virgin and the Dinosaur” by R. Garcia y Robertson
- “The Odd Old Bird” by Avram Davidson
- “Bernie” by Ian McDowell
- “Small Deer” by Clifford D. Simak
- “Dinosaur Plies” by R.V. Branham
- “Day of the Hunters” by Isaac Asimov
- “Herding with the Hadrosaurs” by Michael Bishop
- “Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny” by R. Garcia y Robertson
- “Trembling Earth” by Alan Steele
- This is a sequel to Dinosaurs!, an anthology published in 1990. Baen Books recently republished both as ebooks that can be purchased from the publisher’s website.