by Greg Bear
Warner Aspect, ISBN 0-446-52098-5, 1998, 325pp, US$23
This is billed as an alternate history, and it is in the sense that its premise is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s LOST WORLD was non- fiction, and dinosaurs did survive on a Venezuelan plateau. But it’s not alternate history in the sense of looking at what changes there would be in society because of the change.
This is not so much a complaint as a warning. If you like alternate histories for that sociological aspect, you will be disappointed in DINOSAUR SUMMER. It is more aimed at the person who enjoyed THE LOST WORLD and wants to read more about dinosaurs and the lost plateau. The story starts out in a dinosaur circus, but that seems mostly to allow Bear to introduce his human, reptilian, and avian characters before heading back to the plateau. Some of the latter two are real, others are fictitious, and you probably can’t tell the players without a scorecard, which Bear provides in an afterword.
I was really looking forward to this book, but found it a disappointment. Perhaps I was looking for more change in society than the fact that KING KONG flopped. As an adventure novel, it starts off very slowly, and doesn’t offer the reader much to carry hold her interest. I suppose if you really like dinosaurs, they will carry the book, but I found DINOSAUR SUMMER a disappointment.