Raise your hand if you can name two dinosaurs from the once-reknown Tendaguru fossil beds of Tanzania. . . . Didn’t think so. After lending their considerable support to the theory of continental drift, these truly remarkable Jurassic beasts seem to have gone out of fashion. Maybe that’s because the excavations in what was once German East Africa took place over a hundred years ago. Or perhaps it’s because the fossils ended up on display in Germany, not in the U.S. More’s the pity.
Here’s a brief sample of what was uncovered:
- The largest complete Brachiosaurus skeleton in the world.
- Bad-ass bi-pedal theropods like Elaphrosaurus, Allosaurus, and the horned-nose Ceratosaurus. Carnivores like T. rex and Velociraptor have got nothing on these top-of-the-food-chain predators.
- Kentrosaurus, which is a stegosaur that sports foot-long spikes down its spine and tail, in addition to the familiar bony plates between its shoulder blades.
I liked that Kentrosaurus so much that I made it the star of my latest Analog story, Dino Mate. Check out the December 2014 issue of the magazine, which just came out.
Yes, this is a reminder that now is the time to read my story, Not with a Bang, in the July/Aug. Analog. It’s about sauropods, triceratops, hadrosaurs, and everyone’s favorite — T. rex. And it also gives me a chance to talk about reviews. Both SF Revu and Tangent Online had good things to say about the story. Believe me, my pulse was racing when I knew they’d covered my story, but before I’d actually read those reviews. What’s a writer to do? Two things:
1. Develop the hide of an armor-plated stegosaur. In this endeavor, it might help to dip into Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections, edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard. There, you can read the myopic, nasty, and wrongheaded claptrap written about Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Sylvia Plath, Flannery O’Connor, and so many others. You’ll almost certainly find some of your favorite authors skewered. But admittedly, I don’t have the stegosaurus thing going on. Or at least not yet. That leads to my second suggestion.
2. Give the task of reading EVERY review to a spouse, close relative or trusted friend. That person must be instructed, in no uncertain terms, to share only the positive reviews with the writer. Does this amount to little more than a vain attempt to look at the writer’s portion of the world through rose-colored glasses? Well, so what if it does? The morning after I read the reviews in Tangent and SF Revu, I cranked out 2000 words of a novel. That would never have happened if the reviews had been crummy.