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Dinocalypse Now by Chuck Wendig
Review by Drew Bittner
Evil Hat Productions  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781613170345
Date: 01 May 2012

Links: Author's Website / Series Website /

In the early 1930s, as FDR rallied a broken nation, a handful of men and women stood against bizarre threats to humanity. They were the Century Club: Jet, Mack, Sally, Grey Ghost, and their friend, the simian Professor Khan. When the team tries to foil an attempt on the President's life, however, they realize that a new danger is loose... and seeks to kill the Century Club first!

In Dinocalypse Now, Chuck Wendig slips into a whole new genre: steampunk/superheroic alternate history. His Century Club is a group of adventurers and thrillseekers who just happen to save the world when it needs doing. Whether it's time travelers, alien invaders or weird technology gone wrong, the Club is always there. But now, the threat appears to be an unsuspected race of highly evolved dinosaurs, who want nothing less than to regain mastery of the Earth.

Before they know it, black dirigibles are in the air over New York City. The dinosaur invaders have strange mental powers as well, which nullifies the Club’s technological advantages like Jet’s jetpack. The New York contingent must hide in the tunnels as the invasion itself is launched, struggling to survive before they can even consider a counter-attack.

Meanwhile, in London, Professor Khan attempts to contact the Club's chapter houses around the globe, only to find that they are all empty…or held by enemies. The brilliant gorilla must decide if this is a battle he can fight, even as jungle drums and the blood of his own primal nature thunder inside his skull. If only his conquering warlord father weren’t in the picture as well…

Based on Evil Hat Production's roleplaying game Spirit of the Century, Wendig creates a thrilling retro-pulp adventure, with the promise of more to come. The dinosaur invasion is deftly set up and cleverly explained, kicking off with a falling man and culminating in a truly epic battle against genuinely strange enemies. It rarely gets better than this. The heroes are all clean cut and yet not cookie-cutter perfect—Mack and Jet tussle over Sally’s affections, while Professor Khan battles self-doubt and his own instincts—while the saurian villains, Gorilla Khan and more are wonderfully evil without being cliché.

With a story that spans continents, flinging weird science and human heroism against an impossible danger from the primordial past, Wendig has something really terrific here. I can’t wait to read more.

Highly recommended.

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