RAPTOR RED by Robert T. Bakker


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 A spinster Utahraptor searches for love and meat 120 million years ago: lighthearted but scientifically sound dino-kitsch from noted paleontologist Bakker. A consultant for the film Jurassic Park, Bakker is often called brilliant and controversial in the same sentence; The Dinosaur Heresies (1986), for example, presented his thesis that many dinosaurs were warm-bloodedan idea now gaining increasing acceptance. Here, he debuts in fiction with the tale of a female Utahraptor, Raptor Red, and makes the best of an obvious Jurassic Park knockoff by matching the inherent silliness with his own Monty Pythonesque commentary: Characters have claws like ginsu knives, Ghurka knives, ``the most expensive French Cuisinart,'' and so on. When a mouse-sized aegi survives an attack by a giant dino-ostrich, he writes that ``Over a hundred million years later, the flow of aegi genes will produce wonderful creationsgiraffes, elephants...Republican majority leaders. Charles Darwin himself.'' More provocatively, he uses Red's relationships with other dinosaurs to probe current human controversies: Why hate and spite are good from an evolutionary standpoint, why vegetarians are dumber than carnivores, why the odd-looking are rightfully rejected by their own kind, how firm thighs enhance chances of reproduction. The author knows his Disney as well as his dinosaurs: Red loses her mate in the first chapter, scrambles to survive, has a joyous reunion with her sister and her three chicks, and meets a cute raptor. Sister, however, won't hear of a romanceshe needs Red to help feed and watch the kids. The advantage over Disney is that genetic selection and the evolutionary struggle, not a marketing department, cue the plot twists. Science and serious fun blend as Bakker shares his love of dinosaurs: a natural for the next Disney movie. (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-553-10124-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1995