Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When a mystery man walks into his office and makes the offer a lifetime, to study dinosaurs in the wild, paleontologist Richard Leyster has no choice but to take him up on it. However, time travel isn't as simple as it first seemed...
Michael Swanwick has been on my radar for years after some praise by China Mieville but I never took the plunge until several of his books popped up for cheap in one of my daily ebook emails.
People either seem to love or hate this book, which I can't fathom. It's was a pretty middle of the road book for me.
The books starts out great. If a shady government type showed up at your office with a ***spoiler*** in an Igloo cooler, you'd be powerless to resist as well. Leave it to the government to muck up a simple thing like time travel with bureaucracy...
The idea of studying dinosaurs in the wild gets complicated by fundamentalist extremists who want to discredit the notion of time travel in order to uphold the young Earth theory. Griffin and company ferret out the mole and try to get our scientists back to the future.
Oh, yeah. Things get timey-wimey right off the bat. Griffin, the military man in charge, works for The Old Man, a much older version of himself. Multiple versions of other characters are wandering around and people in the know are wary of violating the laws of causality and creating time paradoxes.
The meat of the book is the fate of the sabotaged expedition. Swanwick blessedly dipped in and out of their lives and didn't inflict the misery-porn that was their day to day existence upon us. The revelation of who the time travel came from was very satisfying to me, as was the consequences of the rest of the book.
Swanwick posits a lot of questions about dinosaurs, extinction events, and things of that nature. Some of the theories were really fun to think about, like dinos communicating through infrasound.
Oddly enough, I found the science behind the story to me more logical and thought out than the motivations of some of the characters. It's definitely not a character book unless you're into insta-love or insta-hate that later transforms into love. Also, there could have been more dinosaur action.
All things considered, I enjoyed this time travel yarn. Bones of the Earth was a solid $1.99 purchase and I'll be happy to read the other Swanwick books I have on my kindle. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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