Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This actually turned out to be a wonderfully scientific time-travel SF that fairly shined in theories and all the species of dinosaurs, and we got a treat of actually living there for a time... with complications, of course.
I mean, we have the more pedestrian complications of bureaucracy and directors and academics scheduling a time to go time hopping, but we also have the little issue of religious nuts, too... and OF COURSE we never found a footprint of a human next to a dinosaur's then the time-travel never happened, right? LOL
And then there's Swanwick's interesting treatment of time-like loops and the interesting revelations of where the time travel tech came from, too, not to mention seeing the novel turn into a survivalist's dream, too, and that's just a cool feature of the novel.
I mentioned that I loved the scientific theories, the grounded and detailed and clear explanations for some wild, wild ideas about infrasonic communications among the dinosaurs, the way they could listen to the earth to find safe locations, and how all of that got screwed up after the world was beat like a gong that went on for a hundred years. :) Hell, he even says that it's impossible to prove, but what an idea! I may have to hunt down the original theorist and read more, if it isn't Swanwick. :) All of this was probably my favorite part... but there were two other areas that really caught my attention.
There was the whole problem of extinction. Not the theories, but of our extinction. This was a seriously interesting tangent.
And then there was the whole reaction to it, too, as well as after we learned what the time-travel really was, or what happened to those people who step outside of time. :) And if that wasn't enough, there was also a beautiful introspective answer to the whole question.
Why are we here? Is it enough to just know and have experienced?
I love these kinds of novels that frame the little questions in the big ones and mirror it all back. :) I've always loved Swanwick's works, too, and while it's probably my least favorite, it's still damn worthy SF. :) This isn't some throw-away time-travel novel. It never even glosses over the awesome science bits. It is full of interesting people in awesome situations.
Now, oddly enough, I've been reading a lot of time-travel stuff this month, and this one is a mite more serious in tone and execution than the others, combined, but that doesn't mean it wasn't awesome in its own right.
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