Mr. Swanwick has put a unique twist on time travel and basicly thrown out all of the standard thoughts regarding the subject. As an example he makes it clear in his story that a person can travel both forward and back in time and visit themselves and indeed to exchange information and prevent or cause certain things to happen with out collapsing the timeline. He puts his characters into some intersting situations as well as many of the type one would expect in a time travel novel.
It's a fast read even with some hard science thrown in as well as a couple of new ideas regarding Dinosauers. Most of the events are in the age of the giant reptiles bus tenough about the future is reveled to keep it interesting for those that are tired of the Big Lizards.
This report prepared by William Rawls
Eos, Feb 2002, 25.95, 352 pp.
The Smithsonian is considered by most paleontologists as one of the most distinguished museums to work for as Richard Leyster knows and relishes. He is at the top of his game with the discovery of a “gold mine” site filled with dinosaur fossils. What more could a Mesozoic gravedigger ask out of life.
Richard soon answers that question when the enigmatic Harry Griffin offers him an odd proposal. Richard becomes hooked when his strange visitor leaves a cooler containing a fresh head of a Stegosaurus that appears to have just died. The Unchanging provides time travel to selected humans with the only stipulation being not to alter recorded history. If the taboo is broken the contract becomes null and void. Thinking Nirvana while observing live dinosaurs, Richard soon runs into the complexities of paradoxes about himself and danger from those individuals willing to kill to maintain a duplicitous, but hallowed truth.
Readers who want a thrill a paragraph adventure tale need to look elsewhere. Though filled with action, Michael Swanwick's cogent tale is a cerebral look at scientific theories. Both Griffin and Leyster are incredible characters as both have succeeded in their respective endeavors and on the surface happy, but neither feels contented with their achievements because they know the answer to "is that all there is?” Mr. Swanwick's rewriting of his Hugo Award winning short story "Scherzo with Tyrannosaur" is loaded with engaging twists and turns that dinosaurites and time-travelers will enjoy. BONES OF THE EARTH is a fabulous science fiction thriller that readers will conclude the author deserves another Hugo nomination for the story line's captivating brilliance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner