Mini-Review – Prehistoric, edited by SJ Larsson

PrehistoricPrehistoric is a collection of thirteen science fiction short stories edited by SJ Larsson, themed around humans and dinosaurs coming into contact in generally bloody ways. Overall, it’s not a bad collection. I admit to a fondness for dinosaur stories, and there are some good ones, here.

People who aren’t prone to dinosaurs, military science fiction, or monster stories might find themselves struggling. I wouldn’t have minded seeing a greater variety of dinosaurs, as T-rex, various raptors, and ankylosaurs tend to repeat throughout. And some of the stories don’t do fantastic service to the inclusion or depiction of female characters, in my opinion (though some do).

My present system for quick-reviewing short story collections is to copy and paste the contents page into my bullet journal and use coloured highlighters on title and author to indicate my feelings about a particular story. Red is bad. No highlight stands for a story that’s readable, neither bad nor good. Yellow is good. Green is fantastic.

Using that system, Prehistoric earned no red or green from me. The tally stands at:

Readable 38%
Good 62%

I view that as a ration justifying the purchase price.

The stand-out story of the collection is Alan Baxter’s Jeremiah’s Puzzle, which I won’t spoil but does have a T-rex action set-piece that would be splendid committed to film. (I’m thinking very natural Doctor Who adaptation.)

Also in the upper range of the good category:

Operation: Severn, William Meikle
Extinction, Rich Restucci
Closure, Tim Waggoner

Others getting the yellow highlighter of general goodness:

Apex, Jeff Brackett
The First Man On Earth, Geoff Jones
Lost Island, David Wood
Mantle, Rick Chesler

As I say, the remaining stories were not at all bad. I count “readable” as praise of any story’s chief virtue rather than damning faint praise. For a between-Jurassic-Park-movies fix of human on dinosaur survival of the fittest clashes, Prehistoric fits the bill well

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