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Dinosaur Summer

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  697 ratings  ·  70 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 preda ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by Warner Books (NY) (first published January 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.33  · 
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 ·  697 ratings  ·  70 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 action, b ...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!
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Gute ...more
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.
This was an okay novel; I am not sure how I would rate it, overall. I will decide by the end of this review if I will rate it higher than 2 stars this second time around. I first read this novel back when it first came out; we had a special showing of the original King Kong movie in 1996 or 1997 and prior to the showing, Greg Bear, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, and a fourth gentleman came out and spoke before the viewing. It was a lot of fun hearing these men speak (and I was able to meet them ...more
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 din ...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 accompan ...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 tha
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 assoc
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 dri
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 lik
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 predictable
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 dino
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 summe
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 elem
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 — wh ...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 se ...more
Jonah Barrett
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great summertime read for a dino freak like me. Only about the last 1/3 of the book actually takes place on the plateau though. The world’s thoroughly fleshed out, but I wish Bear had focused more on the legacies of other characters from The Lost World, instead of real-life filmmakers from the 1920s-40s. The whole adventure has like .5 women in it, and the whole thing feels like a boy’s club at times. With all that being said, I really do love the world Bear has made, and it’s a great summer adv ...more
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.
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.
Ch.10 - the father/son dynamic at the heart of the story didn’t work for me. As for the rest, a lot on boats & then the Wild West of Venezuela. Dinosaurs aren’t much a part of the book to this point except as cargo so, bo-ring... it’s called “DINOSAUR Summer,” not “ODD FATHER-SON RELATIONSHIP SUMMER ROAD-SEA TRIP (featuring dinosaurs),” am I right?
This started off a bit slow. The idea of finding a lost world of dinosaurs and capturing some for dinosaur themed circuses was interesting. This book picked up when the world of dino circuses were coming to an end and they decided to take the dinos back to their homes. I enjoyed learning about the different types of creatures on the El Grande. Overall, an enjoyable adventure.
Turns out dinosaurs are actually really boring?

Literate writing. The adventure comes way too late; the reader is bogged down in 100 pages of well-researched but dull politics and literal sh*t shoveling before anything interesting happens.
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 ...more
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.
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.
Janet Popish
The first half is kind of slow going, but the second half makes up for it. This seems like a good book for a young teen boy.
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun romp. Drags a little in the middle, but it’s a good tale to take your mind off things.
M.A. Stern
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting fan sequel to Doyle’s The Lost World but at times it feels like a meandering story that is going nowhere.
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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.

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