Tag Archives: dinosaurs

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”

This film was released the summer of 1975 and helped coin the term, “summer blockbuster.” After seeing the film people were afraid to go swimming, and they couldn’t get enough of it. What film am I referring to? Well I’m sure if I played you the titular score that won John Williams an Oscar you would know.

The film is Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, which was based on the novel by Peter Benchley. I’m certain many of you have seen the film, whether it was when it first came out in theatres (I was not yet born, however I did ask my father his thoughts on the movie when it first came out and he said he jumped many times in the theatre), or on Blu-Ray/DVD/Streaming or however you watch your movies. I remember the first time I saw the film; it was our last day at the cottage. I really was too young to have watched it, because when we went for our last swing, I was terrified that a shark would come up from the murky depths and eat me. (Never mind the fact that we were at a lake that could not possibly hold sharks.) Since then in the back of my overactive mind I always thought, “What if?” Of course someone decided to make a movie of sharks surviving in freshwater lakes so clearly I wasn’t the only one with that fear. I am proud to say that I have since swam with sharks a few times (they were small sharks of course and didn’t really come near me), and I am well aware that being bitten by a shark is extremely unlikely as they would much rather not be around humans. However, I still get excited hearing about monster movies and shark movies coming out, and this summer we have two big ones, both of which I am excited to see.

The first is The Meg which looks incredibly cool, hilarious, and full of jump scares. The film asks the question, “Could the Carcharodon megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive…and on the hunt?” (IMDB) Does a giant 70-foot prehistoric shark attacking boats sound like your cup of tea? Check out the trailer if you’re not certain, they make excellent use of the classic song Beyond the Sea.

The second big “monster” movie coming out is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to Jurassic World and part of the Jurassic Park series, which was based on the books by the late Michael Crichton. This film looks like a fun romp at the movies, with some new dinosaurs, more evil scientists and Jeff Goldblum back to reprise his role as mathematician Ian Malcolm who still believes that “life finds a way”.

In honour of these summer monster blockbusters coming out I thought I would include a few shark/monster books that will whet your appetite and give you something you can really sink your teeth into, if you get my drift.

jaws Jaws by Peter Benchley

Benchley’s first book ever to be published turned out to be a huge hit, and had a young Steven Spielberg behind the camera directing the movie. Sink your teeth into the novel the film was based on, and experience the suspense and horror in a whole new format. A perfect beach read, and perfect for those visiting Amity Island. We also have the film Jaws in our collection to borrow should you like to revisit this scary movie or experience it for the first time.

 

jurassic park Jurassic Park and The Lost World Michael Crichton

A wealthy businessman wants to create the most amazing theme-park filled with dinosaurs cloned by scientists, and tests this theme-park out on his grandchildren and paleontologist Alan Grant. Giant dinosaurs created in a lab around humans, what could go wrong? The sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World, continues where the first book left off six years later with more dinosaurs and everyone’s favourite mathematician. These books are both exciting, filled with suspense and asks ethical questions, some of which have come up recently with talk of de-extinction, a topic which Britt Wray explores thoroughly in her novel Rise of the Necrofauna: A Provocative Look at the Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-extinction.

cujo Cujo Stephen King

What happens when a good-natured St. Bernard becomes infected by the rabies virus? Naturally, he becomes a menace to a small town in Maine. This suspenseful novel explores the relationship one has with man’s best friend and the heartache one experiences (and terror) if that relationship changes. Leave it to Stephen King to take a sweet, loving animal and change him into a terror.

 

hatching The Hatching series Ezekiel Boone

I know I’ve written about this series before, but I just finished the last book in the trilogy, and am just getting over my spider nightmares. These books may not be for the arachnophobes out there, but they are still an exciting read. A plague of man-eating spiders descend on the world attacking, and eating those in the way, but this is just the first wave, there are more to come and it is up to spider expert Melanie Guyer and others we meet along the way to stop them before the whole world is destroyed. These books are excellent, short and quick reads that play like an action movie, which make them perfect summer monster reads.

river River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

This book is a bit of an odd duck, it is a novella nominated for the 2017 Nebula Award, set in an alternate history of the United States during the 1890s. In this alternate history feral hippos have roamed unchecked in the Mississippi River. They were originally brought over by the government to eat the invasive water hyacinth and would then become food to the humans, however now they have become wild and it is up to Winslow Houndstooth and his crew to corral them. We all know that hippos are fast and with their powerful jaws can snap someone in half, so to hunt one would be extremely dangerous, and Winslow has many to hunt. Part western, part horror, part action/adventure, this novella is the perfect summer read, and as a bonus includes wild and feral hippos.

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

A blog post 65 Million Years in the Making

“Now, eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour, right?”
– Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

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It’s cool to talk about dinosaurs again, you guys! On June 12th, Universal Pictures will be releasing Jurassic World. Jurassic World is a direct sequel to 1993’s original Jurassic Park, pretty much ignoring the events of Jurassic Parks 2 and 3. This is probably a smart move, as I tend to remember those second and third movies being sad echoes of Spielberg’s brilliant original masterpiece. I still remember seeing the original Jurassic Park at the Grant Park cinemas. It was the first movie I saw after those theatres converted to digital sound, and I’ll never forget the scene when the T-Rex attacks and the first sign of it was when those cups of water started to shake. The sound was so crisp and clear in the theatre that our seats actually rumbled a bit.

But enough about me and my sudden geeking out about Jurassic Park. Did I mention I was at opening night when they re-released the movie in 3D a couple of years back? And I don’t even LIKE 3D. I even have a Jurassic Park coffee mug.

So to celebrate the 12 year old in all of us, let’s take a quick look at some of WPL’s dinosaur related fiction in preparation for Jurassic World. See you opening night!

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Jurassic Park: Michael Crichton

Well it’s probably best to start with the original novel. Arguably Crichton’s most famous novel, it tells the story of a mysterious theme park on an island off of Costa Rica on the eve of it’s opening. I’m trying to stay spoiler free, but is there such a thing as spoiling something that’s 25 years old and has had movies and book sequels spun off of it? Okay, let’s just say there are dinosaurs on the island and stuff happens.

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The Lost World: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Best known for creating Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Conan Doyle also wrote a series of fantasy novels. The first one in this series was called The Lost World and followed the adventures of Professor Challenger as he led an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon Basin where prehistoric creatures have somehow survived. This series of books became very influential for other 20th century fantasy writers including Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury.  J.J. Abrams said that The Lost World was one of the inspirations for his TV Series Lost, and Michael Crichton himself paid tribute to it by calling his 1995 Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World.

Dinosaur Summer: Greg Bear

Another homage to Conan Doyle, Greg Bear sets this novel in Conan Doyle’s “Lost World” universe. Dinosaurs are real and have been “domesticated” to the point where they are a part of “dinosaur circuses.” The plot of this novel concerns an expedition to return the remaining dinosaurs from the last dinosaur circus to the plateau in the Amazon Basin where they came from. I’m sure it all goes fine.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth: Jules Verne

Another scientifically questionable tale ( I guess that’s why they call it FANTASY), this novel is about an expedition to the centre of the Earth that starts through an Icelandic volcano. Now I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure going into a volcano, especially one of those disruptive Icelandic ones, is a bad idea. But guess what? They are okay and there are all kinds of prehistoric things living down there. It’s a pretty fun tale if you just decide to go with it.

Dinosaur Thunder: James F. David

Speaking of “going with it,” Dinosaur Thunder makes Jurassic Park look like a PBS documentary. This book has so many temporal disturbances and alternative timelines it even has a T-Rex living on the Moon, you guys. It’s a pretty high concept thriller, but if dinosaurs are your thing, check it out.

Kamandi Archives: Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby was a giant in the world of 20th century comics, creating (or co-creating) most of the original Marvel lineup including Captain America, The Avengers, and the Fantastic Four. He also worked for DC comics where he created Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. Kamandi actually takes place in the distant future, after “The Great Disaster” reduces the Earth to a prehistoric state. Granted, there aren’t dinosaurs as much as super-intelligent mutated animals in this series, but it was an excuse to mention Jack Kirby.

Anonymous Rex: Eric Garcia

It seems like I’ve been listing these titles in order of “most plausible” to “least plausible.” If this is the case then let’s finish up with Anonymous Rex, possibly the least plausible of the whole bunch. The idea in this story is that the dinosaurs only faked their extinction and live among humans in latex costumes. Vincent Rubio is one of these disguised Dinos ( a Velociraptor, no less!) who also happens to work as a Los Angeles P.I. The story itself is quite funny and fast-paced, and might be just the thing for a quick backyard read this summer. It even hatched a sequel called Hot and Sweaty Rex. If you read the first one, you might as well keep going.

-Trevor