By: Mike Resnick
301 pages (trade paperback)
Dinosaurs and laser guns in the old west…
Doc Holliday, Theodore Roosevelt, and some friends defend themselves from the dinosaurs the Comanche have resurrected in an effort to remove a couple of overly enthusiastic paleontologists from digging in their sacred burial grounds.
What was so surprising about this novel is how much I learned about history and the history of paleontology from reading it. I was expecting a fun dime novel style adventure, which it was, but it was also filled with real life historical figures. I never thought Doc Holliday and Theodore Roosevelt could be so interesting and I never knew about the bone wars between Cope and Marsh. Their rivalry was so intense, you would think it would have to be fiction, but these things really happened. It was clear the author did his research.
I don’t read westerns. My only experience of the genre are movies like Cowboys and Aliens and the Lone Ranger remake, but put a bit of steampunk on the cover and I’ll read anything. The story was fun, moved quickly enough, and was filled with surprisingly interesting historical characters. It had an alternate history vibe, but in the way where you feel like it could have actually happened that way without the history books finding out.
You would think that reading fiction is purely about entertainment and imagination, but there are some books out there that entertain but also teach without you even knowing it. I was curious from the beginning about which characters were really real, and there was a handy appendix in the back of the book with quick biographies of the real life historical characters. Sometimes the truth is more interesting than fiction.
Ultimately, I got more out of this book than I anticipated and that makes me happy. I definitely intend to read more books by this author in the future. Until next time…