Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review: Dinosaur Wars - Earthfall by Thomas P. Hopp

Every so often, you come across something that looks so completely and utterly ridiculous, you just have to check it out. Maybe it's a bizarre restaurant or shop. Perhaps it's a late-night movie or a new television series. Sometimes, it's a book you've seen in a free book promotion email.

A book about dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs...with lasers.

From the Moon.

 I saw this in a book promotion email a couple of months ago. It was free, and shockingly, the vast majority of reviews were very favorable. Not only that, it was selling surprisingly well. And let's face it, look at that friggin' cover. I mean seriously - look at it. Tanks, attack helicopters, a cowgirl, a freakin' Tyrannosaurus Rex, a comet or spaceship or something falling from the sky, and A Giant Laser Beam From The Moon. 

Does it sound like one of those SyFy Channel movies you watch at two in the morning when you're kinda drunk but too wired to actually go to bed? Yes it does. And to be fair, the whole plot and the storyline comes off something like those movies, but in the best way possible, if that makes any sense. The book is pure pulp science fiction - if you strip away all the 21st century tidbits, this could have been written in the 50's, printed as a series in some sci-fi magazine, or showing up on a spinning book rack in a garish little paperback. Heck, it could be some black & white drive-in theater movie blending cowboys and army men and scientists and guys in funky rubber suits and stop-motion animation. I wouldn't be surprised if the author's agent isn't farming around the movie rights to this - not because it'd be some huge blockbuster, but because it just feels like it should be on the little big screen of direct-to-flatscreen fame.

Oh, what's that? You want a plot? ::sigh:: Fine. One day a gigantic friggin' laser from the southern pole of the Moon starts blasting key military, communications, and other infrastructure installations all over the globe. At the same time, massive spaceships crash-land all over the world, disgorging thousands of dinosaurs, as well as dino-men piloting chicken-legged attack mechanoids that probably look something like this. Chase, a wildlife re-introduction specialist in Montana, teams up with Kit, a rancher's daughter who wants to be a paleontologist, and Dr. Ogilvy, an actual paleontologist. Together, the three of them try to survive while being attacked by T-Rexes, Utahraptors, and laser-toting dino-men. JPL scientists, NORAD staffers, and some plucky U.S. armored cavalry types serve as secondary characters. The action is pretty non-stop, but although the characters aren't hugely detailed, there's enough meat on their bones, figuratively speaking, to serve us sufficiently well over the course of the novel.

Right now, Earthfall, the first of the series, is free. There are two other books in the series, with a fourth, I believe, on the way. The author, Thomas P. Hopp, is actually a full-blown biotechnology scientist, and although there's plenty of science fiction in this book, it's dressed up nicely enough to serve its purpose. If you like sci-fi, like dinosaurs, like Jurassic Park-esque plotlines, and like free ebooks, go pick this one up.


Justin Aucoin said...

Look out, Sharnado. There's a new sheriff in town.

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, as a big kid, I really really want to like anything with dinosaurs in it. I'm giving it a look see.

Celeste said...

This is gorgeous!

jenn.knorr said...

Thanks for the review. Is it very gory? I have an upper elementary kid who loves dinosaurs. I read the first chapter and it sounds like something he could get into--but not if it gets too violent and gory. Thanks.