Monday, August 23, 2021

Deathbeast, by David Gerrold (author), Andy Caploe (narrator)

Audible Studios, May 2014 (original publication 1978)

Time travel. Dinosaurs. A Captain Ahab-like hunt for a Moby Dick-like tyrannosaurus rex.

A group of six hunters and two guides "flash back" to 100 million years ago, to hunt dinosaurs. And specifically, the lead hunter, Ethab, is determined to bag a T. Rex. And he's not interested in the advice of the guides, Meghan and Loevil, that the hunters who have died on previous expeditions, have been the ones who insisted on going after T.  Rex.

Things start to go wrong immediately upon arrival, when they arrive practically on top of a deinonychus, a roughly man-sized predator who responds to their sudden intrusion by attacking. It loses the fight, but not by much, and a significant portion of their gear is damaged or destroyed.

Much of what follows is Ethab's determination to get a T. Rex, the personal conflicts amongst the expedition members, and the reality that T. Rex isn't the only dangerous critter in the Cretaceous, even ignoring the newly arrived humans. We are apparently supposed to see Ethab as very charismatic, and certainly two of the three women, Nusa, and the rather smarter and more sensible Meghan, see his that way. I, on the other hand, found him just arrogant, self-absorbed, and with an unhealthy obsession with proving his manhood through killing. The violence, and its effects on both the dinosaurs and the humans, is fairly realistically described, but I thought not excessively so.

It's worth noting that this book was originally published in 1978, we did not yet know that the an asteroid killed off most of the dinosaurs (all except the avian dinosaurs), or that dinosaurs had feathers. Those are things that might look like inaccuracies to a current reader, but reflected what science knew at the time.

There's action, excitement, and internal character development, though I can't say I liked where all of that character development went. Overall, it's a fairly fast-paced and exciting read or listen, and I enjoyed it. I don't see it as a likely reread, though.

I bought this audiobook.

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