Raptor Red: A Very Short Review

By Brenda Clough

I cannot resist ending our commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice by reviewing one of my most favorite versions of all time.

raptor Raptor Red is authored by Robert T. Bakker, one of the premier dinosaur scientists of our time.  He is known for digging up fossils, not fiction.   Nevertheless his first novel has enjoyed wide popularity and is a favorite on reading list in high school English classes.

Red, a young female velociraptor, resides in Utah 120 million years ago, where she and her sisters are the deadliest killers in the swamps and are about ready to mate.  She is briefly wooed by a preposessing dinosaur, but rejects him when she notices his parasite infestation.  When a far more charming male velociraptor appears she considers him but rejects him as well.  Then, calamity — her sister is injured while hunting.  Distraught, she tries but is unable to bring in enough prey to keep her sister and herself alive.  Things are not looking good!  But suddenly, at the last moment, the attractive male returns.  He brings her a prize beyond price: something dead!  She eats and is revived, the male guarding the prey as she does so.  The sister eats, and recovers.  Off she goes, claw in claw into the Juraissic sunset, with her new-found mate, and they live happily ever after.

As you can see, Bakker was smart enough to steal from the very best.  His dinosaur novel is to be totally au courant with the latest discoveries in paleontology, a sure hook for young male readers.  And by stuffing an Austen plot engine under the hood, he makes it clear how very Darwinian the mating game in Regency England really was!





Raptor Red: A Very Short Review — 2 Comments

  1. Absolutely. It cannot be a coincidence, can it, that the first male is so repellent. If Mr. Collins were a dinosaur, obviously he would have lice! And someone asked Bakker about it — he confessed that he lifted the plot entire!