D is for Dinosaur by Rhonda Parrish


D is for Dinosaur by Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Publisher: Poise and Pen Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (373 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

For the fourth installment of Rhonda Parrish’s Alphabet Anthologies, contributors were challenged to write about dinosaurs. The resulting twenty-six stories contain widely different interpretations of the dinosaur theme and span the spectrum from literal to metaphoric.

Within these stories — set in alternative histories, far-flung futures and times just around the corner — dinosaurs whimper and waste away or roar and rage. People can be dinosaurs, as can ideas, fictions and flesh. Knitted dinosaurs share space with ghostly, genetically engineered and even narcotic ones.

Teenagers must embrace their inner dinosaurs in order to find peace and belonging, a dying woman duels a God in a far future city that echoes aspects of our past, an abused wife accompanies her husband on a hunt for an ancient power and finds more than she could ever have imagined and a girl with wonderful magical powers stumbles across the bones of a giant long-dead lizard. And so much more!

Everyone has a hidden side to themselves. Only time will tell if those unexplored parts of anyone’s personality, past, or future will be revealed.

In “B,” Brontë was a teenage girl who was bullied by classmates during the day and who had vivid dreams of being a raptor at night. When she decided to confront the meanest bully, these two worlds collided in unexpected ways. What I enjoyed the most about this tale was how much time the narrator spent planning her revenge. It made me eager to see what would happen next, and it also fit Brontë’s stubborn personality perfectly.

Once again, Ms. Parrish compiled a collection that I didn’t want to stop reading. Every single one of them had something that appealed to me, and there were very few missteps. “K” was one of the few stories that could have used more development. It was about two men named Gunnar and Brynjar who had recently survived a shipwreck and were trying to figure out how they might live on a deserted island. When one of them spotted another ship on the horizon, they had to decide if they’d rather signal for help or rough it alone. While I really enjoyed the premise, the ending was abrupt. I would have preferred to see more time spent on their dilemma before the twist was revealed. There was still so much material to explore before they made their choice.

“H” followed an ancient race that was capable of living both on land and in the sea. When their existence on one was threatened, they’d switch to fins or legs and live in the other one for a few millenia. This was one of my favourite selections because of how beautiful Ms. Engelhardt’s writing style was. She knew exactly how to capture a single moment and share it with her audience using every single sense a human is capable of perceiving. I didn’t want her storytelling to end, and I would love to read a sequel to this if she ever decides to write one.

I’d wholeheartedly recommend D is for Dinosaur to anyone who is a fan of any part of the modern science fiction or fantasy genres. There is something here for everyone!

Comments

  1. I love dinosaurs so of course this caught my eye. I don’t read a lot of anthologies because they can be so hit and miss and not all the stories will be to my taste. So I’m a bit conficted about whether I’d risk reading it. Nice review though!

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