Dinosaurs in Fantastic Fiction: A Thematic Survey

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McFarland, 2006 - History - 220 pages
With the first illustrated edition of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1867, readers began a fascination with the concept of dinosaurs and prehistory. Although rudimentary paleo-fiction had actually gotten its start decades earlier, it was the partnership of Verne and illustrator Edouard Riou which gave dinosaurs a visual life and essentially set the stage for their artistic and literary depiction. Over the next century or so, writers would time and again come back to dinosaurs as an element of fantastic fiction, often using these creatures--through the venue of the written word--to reflect the world of the writers' own time.
From Jules Verne to Michael Crichton, this literary survey examines how paleoliterature originated, developed and matured from its inception in the 1820s to the present day. It follows historical trends on the crafting of classic dinosaurs, investigating the enlivened figurative and metaphoric meaning of fictional dinosaurs and related prehistoria. Also discussed are the ways in which dinosaur fiction mirrors contemporary ideas about subjects such as geology, the Cold War, environmentalism, time travel, evolution and bioengineering. Texts included are limited to those which are available in English and which emphasize dinosaurs, although other favored pseudo-dinosaurs are sometimes discussed.
Featured authors include Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, and Poul Anderson, among others. In select cases, the novelizations of movie scripts are also utilized. An appendix provides brief summaries of deserving dinosaur texts, organized alphabetically by author. Illustrations and an index are also included.

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Page 9 - Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.

About the author (2006)

Allen A. Debus is a dinosaur sculptor and author of multiple books. He writes regularly for Prehistoric Times, G-Fan, Mad Scientist and Scary Monsters, and was a contributing editor of Fossil News: Journal of Avocational Paleontology. He lives in Hanover Park, Illinois.

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