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Dinosaur Summer

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  669 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Peter Belzoni is dreading summer in Manhattan. Then his father, photojournalist Anthony Belzoni, offers the youth a job, a byline in National Geographic...and a trip to South America. For the Lothar Gluck Circus, once the world's foremost dinosaur attraction, has gone bankrupt. Left behind is a menagerie of avisaurs, centrosaurs, and ankylosaurs, as well as one large ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by Warner Books (NY) (first published January 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  669 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ack. Barely two pages in and reading "prodigy" for "prophecy." Not an auspicious start....

But I did love Doyle's story of Challenger's 'discovery' so I'll continue for now.

Ok done. Well. I was working through it, thinking two stars, until the last third, when it finally got interesting. The adventure, and the world-building, and the character development, and the exploration of ideas, all got more interesting there. Still, three stars is plenty. After all, it doesn't have Doyle's writing, or the
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately the first half of this book was extremely slow-going & I had an off-on relationship with it that precluded any real involvement. Remembering all the characters after taking numerous breaks from this book was also a challenge, especially since they were mostly really sketchy, undeveloped and unbelievable (even thought some of them are based on real historical characters). Overall it was somehow too adult for kids, but too childish for adults. The second half developed some ...more
Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA readers, dinosaur aficionados
A solid adventure yarn, set in 1940, using the events of The Lost World as a jumping off point to create an alternate history in which live dinosaurs are a matter of fact. The main character is a 15 yo boy who accompanies his father in the group of men returning the captive dinos in the last dino circus to the wild.
I especially loved the descriptions of the colors and patterns of the dinosaurs - very vivid!
Andrew Post
Plodding and poorly phrased

The first part of the book was unnecessary. The second part was wooden, with long, cumbersome sentences and phrasing, and too many historical characters crammed in for their own sake. Short on action and long on underdeveloped plotlines and characters, that's this book.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of Greg Bear's writing, most of the time. I'm fascinated by his hard-sci-fi approach to writing and have loved his books, from Darwin's Children and Moving Mars to Blood Music and Vitals. A few have been a bit lackluster, but I wouldn't rate any of them less than 3 stars. Dinosaur Summer is no exception. While it veers from the futuristic sci-fi of many of Bear's other books, it's a fascinating look at an alternate history with a strong paleontological and evolutionary look at ...more
Lisa Wolf
A big, old-fashioned adventure story, Dinosaur Summer starts from the premise that the events of The Lost World (the 1912 novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, not the Michael Crichton novel) are real. In Dinosaur Summer, Conan Doyle and his fellow adventurers discovered a hidden world in South America -- and now, 30 years later, dinosaur circuses are so commonplace that the public is no longer interested. When the last dinosaur circus closes down, 15-year-old Peter and his journalist father ...more
Steve Joyce
Book One was pretty boring. Book Two was a little better but not by much.

What didn't work for me:
_the whole struggling dinosaur circus / apathy towards dinosaurs angle was weak. I doubt that the world would ever grow stale over such rare animals.
_the name-dropping. Sorry. Appendix explanations aside, no amount random throwing out names like F.D.R., Stalin, Hitler, Ringling Brothers, on and on, etc, etc will make anyone (at least, not me) feel immersed in the 1940s. It takes more writing than
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read-in
Dinosaur Summer by Greg Bear reads like a "boy's adventure story". Think Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, and Huck Fin. There was action and adventure on almost every page. Plus Dinosaurs. Who does not get a thrill when they think of dinosaurs, and who does not secretly wish they could see one up close and in person, a herbivore one anyway. This novel is set in an alternate world where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World was real. The novel was excellent and motivated me to head over to The ...more
Tom Quinn
I did not know a lot of things going into this novel. I did not know it was a young adult book. I did not know it was an unofficial "sequel" to The Lost World, or at least a fan piece taking place in that universe. I did not know it was a sensitive coming-of-age story.

Lesson learned: don't grab books just because they have dinosaurs on their covers.

2 stars out of 5. Too slow for too long, and when the dinos do show up they take a backseat to the myriad problems of troubled marriages, problem
Jan Strnad
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adults
As a major dinosaur/King Kong/Harryhausen fan, I really, really wanted to love this book. It's about a boy's summer with his father, Ray Harryhausen, Willis O'Brien, and the makers of King Kong, as they close down a dinosaur circus and return to The Lost World of Arthur Conan Doyle to free the dinosaurs to the wild.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that it should have pushed all of my buttons, the writing is just too flat to engage me. The style is a rather lackluster, declarative one that I
Eric Farr
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won't claim that Greg Bear's Dinosaur Summer is necessarily the best book that I've read over the past year, but it is decidedly my favorite.

Dinosaur Summer starts with the premise that the events of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World more or less happened. The world discovered still-living non-avian dinosaurs, which understandably caused something of a disruption. Circuses full of these prehistoric survivors are popularized as more and more adventurers swarm the Venezuelan tepuis; movies
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
review of
Greg Bear's Dinosaur Summer
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 18, 2015

Once again, I can accuse myself of being in my '2nd childhood' b/c this is a bk targeted at younger readers or for "kids of all ages". It was only over a mnth ago that I read Robert Heinlein's Space Cadet (see my review here: ). The problem is, I really enjoy reading these things, I read this one quickly & even though the trajectory of the plot was somewhat
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Dinosaur Summer" is a dino-crazed teen's dream novel. What if dinosaurs are still around, tucked away in a tepui deep inside the jungles of South America and discovered accidentally by a brave white explorers in the late 19th/early 20th century.
The novel is based in the 1950s or so, where dinosaur circuses have become all the rage in America. Now the circuses on a wane and the costs are too high for the promoters to maintain the shows. The last circus is dismantling its operations and the
May 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“Adventure is nine tenths misery and one tenth disaster.”

I picked up Dinosaur Summer on the recommendation of a popular bookstore’s employee. I’ve found a number of good books this way, but I didn’t love Dinosaur Summer. I suspect the employee in question read the book when they were younger and had some nostalgia surrounding it.

Dinosaur Summer follows Peter, a boy living with his father, Anthony. Anthony is a down-on-his-luck journalist, but Peter is hoping to travel someplace fun for the
I don't have a lot of experience with Greg Bear, but this was a fun first introduction. It reads young, and would be a good fit for a library's middle grade or junior fiction section, with illustrations that back up that placement. With a touch of alternate history to it, a touch of the traveling carnival, and a big dollop of adventuring in the exotic wilds beyond the protective walls of Western civilization, this would have been my SHIT as a tween.

That said, yes, there are some problematic
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greg Bear is a great writer, and objectively this is a good book. But I am not the target audience and it took me a month to slog my way through something that should have taken just a few days. That’s not really Bear’s fault;I should not have picked a book about a teenage boy going on an adventure with a bunch of grown men and dinosaurs. (Side note: I can only remember two female characters [minor characters, too!] in the book, and only one of those had a name.) It’s an interesting premise — ...more
Edward III
I admit I’m somewhat negligent when it comes to Greg Bear. He’s an SF icon with a wide body of work, most of which I haven’t read. I plan to change that. I like Bear’s style, his prose is easy and fluid, and it dragged me through the book. Great writer. A master. It hurt me to give the book three stars, but Dinosaur Summer didn’t grab me. I understand he was writing a version of The Lost World. I get it and read this book to learn from it. Here’s what I learned. Don’t spend 2/3 of the book on ...more
Sara Streit
For the young adult in your life that is looking for a longer novel featuring dinosaurs and fantasy without any of the more troublesome coming-of-age plot lines that typify the genre.

I'll hold onto it for my tween boy who will benefit from the simplistic sentence structure and vocabulary as English is his second (reading) language.
Mark Smiley
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book, as well as Michael Crichton, and many other novels about Dinos, I was happy to read this. It had a nostalgic feeling to it, a YA flavor of it happening back in a time when it might just possibly have happened. The inclusion of actual people here and there added to the mystique and pull of the book.
Definitely adventurous and fun.
Rob Markley
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Modern science fiction attempting to meet up with Jules Verne - the idea is okay but this is not one of Bear's best books and ultimately is a bit of a bore
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This book was not what I expected. I kept wanting more from the story but I never got it.
Matthew Comer
May 25, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You would think a book that has tyrannosaurus rex in it would be much faster paced, but no. This book is a complete snore.
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful and exciting story about an effort to return dinosaurs that had been kept in a circus back to their original home in the jungle in South America. There is a strong tie-in to the book "The Lost World" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story takes place in 1947 and you have to stretch your imagination to accept that dinosaurs are still around in 1947 but the author pulls it off. Some of the players are movie people and they are constantly filming everything and one can imagine what the ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

A vast range of giant reptiles thought to be extinct since the Mesozoic have in fact survived in isolation for seventy million years on the hidden plateau of El Grande, Venezuela. Professor Challenger found their lost world - 'the rotting tropical regions of Hell...'

Creatures of legend were brought north as circus exhibits - caged, and of only passing interest. Fifty years and two world wars later, Lothar Gluck's Dinosaur Circus is the last of its
Lucy Takeda
Yes, I know people and dinosaurs did not really co-exist. A lot of the " science" in this book is questionable or just wrong. ( By the way, this is being written by an English Major.) I would actually rate it 2.5. It was fairly entertaining.
A teenaged boy in 1947 gets taken on a trip with his dad to do an article about the closing of the last dinosaur circus in America. The kid's parents are divorced; mom has written the she is a little too busy to have Peter that summer. Dad is an adrenaline
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I enjoyed this 1998 tribute sequel to Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. In this alternate world, the events of The Lost World are taken as true, and by 1949, the public has grown tired of the display of dinosaurs, and the circus acts that display them are going out of business. Young Peter Belzoni joins his down-and-out photographer Dad on a movie expedition to return the last of the circus dinosaurs to their native El Grande tepui in South America. As a young man growing up, Peter is both ...more
Lianne Burwell
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: alt-history, sf, dinosaurs
Peter and his photographer father are chosen to accompany the last dinosaur circus as it returns the dinosaurs to the Lost World (Doyle's book was history, not fiction) in 1947.

The first half was a little slow, until they reach the drawbridge that divides the Lost World plateau from the rest of South America. At that point, between an angry carnivorous dinosaur and uncooperative local military, everything goes wrong, and things get excited.

I bought this book when it was first released in
Nov 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like Greg Bear's books for their big science fiction ideas.... interstellar ecology and justice (The Forge of God/Anvil of Stars), an infinite universe created by humans living in an asteroid starship (Eon/Eternity/Legacy), genomic computers determining the course of evolution (Darwin's Radio), the world being absorbed into a unified mass of self-aware protoplasm (Blood Music), intelligent cities made of living parts (Strength of Stones), technologies that can move a planet across the galaxy ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading this book on Kindle (I bought it in hardback when it first came out, from London's Forbidden Planet) has reminded me just how good it was, and how it's begging to be filmed with today's CGI able to do full justice to Bear's imagined dino species.

A 'alternate reality' story, this novel assumes that Professor Challenger's trip to the Lost World was no work of fiction, but reality!

Mankind has since grown bored with dinosaurs, having utilised them as they have all other species, and we
Nick Cincotta
May 26, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It has an interesting premise, what is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor challenger's Lost world has been a reality. Dinosaurs exported to circuses, then returned home. This book was increasingly difficult to get into. While it was an easy read, the characters do not grow on you and at times the story was difficult to follow. It felt like it took forever to read a minimal amount of the book. The best part of the book is where Bear described what was real and fictional. Again interesting ...more
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Greg Bear is one of the world's leading hard SF authors. He sold his first short story, at the age of fifteen, to Robert Lowndes's Famous Science Fiction.

A full-time writer, he lives in Washington State with his family. He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear. He is the son-in-law of Poul Anderson. They are the parents of two children, Erik and Alexandra.