Wednesday, May 25, 2011

REVIEW: Love in the Time of Dinosaurs by Kirsten Alene

Somehow, having sampled some of the other Bizarro titles available (Haunted Vagina or Ass Goblins of Auschwitz anyone?), I expected something a little more . . . well, bizarre with my first Bizarro read. Instead, while Love in the Time of Dinosaurs is definitely surreal, it's still very much accessible, and really not that far removed from some of the more experimental 1970s science fiction.

At it’s simplest, this is the story that works on two levels – the first being the war between gun-toting monks and crazy-ass dinosaurs, and the second being the forbidden love between one unusual monk and an even more unusual dinosaur.

For the sake of argument, let’s start with the monks. These guys are well-armed, trained to fight, absolutely fearless, and stunningly resistant to injury. Somehow, they’re able to continue on despite the loss of entire limbs and major organs, continuing to take the fight to the dinosaurs until a spare body part can salvaged. This remarkable degree of physical adaptability accounts for some of the more surreal aspects of the story, such as the monk with nothing but a hand grafted below his abdomen, making the difference between standing and sitting as simple as flexing those fingers.

As for the dinosaurs (who are referred to as the Jeremies, for reasons never quite explained), they’re just as smart, just as vicious, and just as awesome as Jurassic Park led us to believe . . . except they’ve armed themselves with instruments of lethal destruction. Think improvisation, akin to Ash from the Evil Dead movies, and you begin to get a sense of their insanely mechanized blades and biochemical tools of mass destruction. For the most part, they’re portrayed as an unstoppable force of aggression, but we get glimpses here and there of their vulnerabilities – and that’s where the story begins to get interesting.

A female, bipedal, duck-billed dinosaur named Petunia (who lacks the spikes and armour of the Jeremies), serves as a bridge between the species. It is through her relationship with the hero (a monk whose name we never do learn) that we not only find a story of forbidden love, but one of cultural understanding.

If you come to Love in the Time of Dinosaurs simply for Bizarro action and surreal disaster, then you will not go away disappointed. This is absolutely a fun and frantic read, with some really inventive battle scenes that are equal parts G.I. Joe cartoon, Platoon/Saving Private Ryan double-bill, and Call of Duty multi-player madness. If you’re hoping for a little bit more to hold your attention, I daresay you won’t be disappointed either. There’s definitely more to the story than I expected, and I’ll be curious to see what Kirsten does next.


Remember, buy a copy of Love in the Time of DinosaursFelix and the Sacred Thor, or How to Eat Fried Furries this month  and you have the chance to be entered in a draw to win 1 of 2 "whole damned sets of 2010 NBAS books, signed by the authors." Make your purchase, send a confirmation to, and they'll draw for the winner at the end of the month. Good luck!

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