As I complete the writing of my second Dinosaur Wars book and dream someday of seeing it on the big screen, the arrival of Steven Spielberg’s dino series Terra Nova has had me on the edge of my seat (well, couch). Thankfully for my Dinosaur Wars ambitions, I see HUGE differences between Spielberg’s effort and mine. It would seem there is room for my story even in the presence of the eminent director’s latest foray into the realm of extinct species.
Here’s why. First, the dinosaurs of Terra Nova seem incredibly old-hat to me. They’re still the leather-skinned, scaly stompers we’ve seen for years. Where’s the feather coating we now know covered the meat-eaters like the feathers on hawks? What about the fur coatings the plant eaters had? Hasn’t anyone updated Steven on these matters? Click the slasher image to read the Smithsonian Museum’s disapproving review if you think I’m the only one with issues here.
Check out my feathery, extremely bird-like Kra (right) for a look at a much more up-to-date theropod dinosaur. By the way, did Spielberg’s animators use my Gar, the Kra for inspiration when developing their crested meat eating “slasher” dinosaur (above)? I think maybe so. Mine came first, Steve, so nyah-nyah! Click Gar’s image for a more detailed look at his feathers and weapons.
Second, who’s that gray-bearded dude running the show on Terra Nova? Do we really need to escape to a new world where old men are constantly telling us what to do? I’ll hold up my young heroes, Chase Armstrong and Kit Daniels to that old buzzard any day. Chase and Kit are very young and very central to my plots, much like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Sure, there are young people on Terra Nova but the show just isn’t ABOUT them the way Star Wars was about Luke and Leia, and the way Dinosaur Wars is about Chase and Kit.
Third and finally (for now), what’s all that about an apocalyptical future earth and a time-travel escape to the past? Sorry, but I just HATE both of those dramatic tricks. Sure, we all worry about a possible apocalypse some day but right now we don’t live in one. And sure, time travel would be cool but it doesn’t exist–now or ever–otherwise we’d have future people stopping by to visit us all the time. I much prefer the world of Dinosaur Wars, namely THIS WORLD, the one we currently live in.
Even though my choice of having dinosaurs return to earth in a space invasion is a stretch of credibility, the end result is easy to relate to: dinosaurs roaming the present-day plains and mountains of Montana and other parts of the world, and a war against the leaders of the invasion using current-day tanks, helicopters, and guns.
Placing dinosaurs on a tropical island as Jurassic Park did, or in a distant time-travel future or past as Terra Nova does, is a poor choice if you want folks to relate to the creatures and people in the stories. I’m confident that Kit and Chase and their present-day, up close and personal predicaments with dinosaurs, are the best means to present not only an adventure story but a solid romance tale as well.
And I’m convinced Dinosaur Wars will someday be seen as the best dramatic incarnation of dinosaurs, eclipsing Jurassic Park, Terra Nova, and all the others by dint of my having conceptualized the story with all the elements that make up a good tale. I’ll keep writing with the expectation that someday a major motion picture or two or three will result. Check out my books if you haven’t yet, and keep your fingers crossed about the movies.