Muse du Jour

My name is Marianne Plumridge. I am an artist of mythic fantasy works and fine art images. I also satisfy my creative muse with sewing, cooking, writing and reading. These are my thoughts and adventures with whichever muse drives me each day. You can find more of my art at

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Location: New England, United States

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Field Guide to the Mesozoic Megafauna...a review

by Michael Swanwick

Featuring the British Science Fiction Association Award-nominated “Five British Dinosaurs”

February 2004 – Tachyon Publications; ISBN 1-892391-13-9; 32 pages; Price $8.95
Available on

I first viewed this booklet – for booklet it is – when I received my very-well laden membership tote bag at the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, Halloween weekend in 2003. Initially, I had tossed it aside with the other booklets containing sample excerpts of novels and didn’t look at it again until I was packing to go home. A closer look proved that it was, in fact, a very short anthology of even shorter short stories. And such was my first introduction to reading Mr Swanwick’s prose. I chortled or smiled my way through every one of the eighteen stories: cameos of clever wit and imagination, mostly less than a page each in length. Better yet, they were about dinosaurs. So it was a very nice combination. Also, I managed to finish the book on the flight home. Considering that this was a forty-five minute flight, and I only spent thirty of those minutes reading…well, you do the math.

Anyway, to the meat of the matter: “ ‘ Mesozoic Megafauna” is a delightful collection of dinosaur stories exposing dinosaurs in a myriad of highly improbable, but entertaining situations. Michael Swanwick is an absolute master of extremely short fiction, who can pack quite a lot of story into just a few words, or even just a scene. Mr Swanwick is a multi-nominated award-winning author and I, for one, am looking forward to reading more of his works. In the meantime, why don’t you check out “ ‘ Mesozoic Megafauna” just to find out what the “…old theropod-in-a-rubber-tenontosaur-suit trick…” is; the dangers of dueling with Mosasaurs; how the west was really won; and that proving hypotheses can often be hazardous to health and machinery.

What I want to know is: What happened to the Woolly Mammoth stories? Maybe they’ll appear in the next short short-stories collection. I wish.

Marianne Plumridge


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