Look closely at the three indentations to the left of my hand. They are tooth marks in this leg bone of a triceratops. Ouch! If you’re wondering, this is a cast, not the real fossil, thus intended to be touched.
Some calendars say it’s yesterday (May 15) and others put it on June 1. But hey, we can celebrate twice, right? Truth be told, for me most days are dinosaur days.
Do dinosaurs still exist today? Who better to ask than 6- to 10-year-old children? In advance of National Dinosaur Day, Mattel surveyed a bunch of kids in Great Britain. A third answered yes, they still roam the Earth right now. Well naturally, lots of these kids want a T. rex as a pet. I kinda wish they’d asked those kids how many wanted to be a T. rex. How about the kids in your family? How many of them think that one day it will be possible to own or be a dinosaur?
Reminder: My monthly newsletter focused on this dinosaur survey and other topics. Please feel free to subscribe if you’d like to get the inside scoop before I blog about events. (You can always unsubscribe.)
I’m thrilled to say that my interactive fiction game, T-Rex Time Machine is but one of a double handful of science fiction and fantasy works written by Taos Toolbox alums in the past year or so. Hope you’ll check out the wealth of reading featured on Walter Jon Williams’ blog. They all make great last-minute gifts for yourself or someone else!
Cath, Chris, George & Chia (a/k/a the Unreliable Narrators) interviewed me about T-Rex Time Machine for their podcast! It was great fun talking to these talented writers about dinosaurs, creating an interactive fiction adventure, and much else. Have a listen.
While you’re at it, have a look at my game. It’s your chance to take your best friend back millions of years to see living dinosaurs.
Look! Look what a terrific cover for my interactive fiction RPG to be released soon. I don’t think the talented folks at Choice of Games could have gotten me a better cover for my game! I do hope you’ll all take my time machine out for a spin when it’s gassed up and ready to go. Oh, and when you get to the Cretaceous, keep your eyes out for that T rex.
Calling all lovers of stories about slipping into the past, seeing living dinosaurs, getting a do-over for a crucial event, saving the future, and wrestling with the paradoxes of time travel: Check out this wonderful anthology of 20 time travel tales. Editor Zach Chapman has done a terrific job of assembling an entertaining collection of remarkable stories by Robert Silverberg among others.
It includes my very first story of the time travel adventures of Marty Zuber, “Not with a Bang,” which was first published in Analog. You’ll learn the real reason the dinosaurs went extinct.
When writing about dinosaurs and other creatures tromping, swimming, or flitting through the Mesozoic, it becomes necessary to refer to a whole bunch of them. What exactly are they called? I’ve decided to invent my own collective nouns.
An aerie of Archaeopterx
An ambush of Albertosaurs
An array of Oviraptors
A battery of Baryonyxs
A brood of Brachiosaurs
A colony of carnosaurs
A drove of Dryosaurus
A herd of Herrerasaurs
A horde of horned Hadrosaurs
A mob of Mosasaurs
A pack of Pachycephalosaurs
A terror of Tyrannosaurs
A troop of Triceratopsians
Naturally, one needs some collective nouns for those being who may interact with the dinosaurs, such as—
A passel of paleontologists
A panic of proto-mammals
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.