[Stay tuned for a contest at the end of this post.]
When did you first encounter dinosaurs? In a children’s pop-up book? A school field trip to the local museum? On the big screen in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park? Maybe in the classic King Kong, or the not-so-classic Doug McClure fantasy outings (okay, we’ll let him off for The Land That Time Forgot)?
I think everyone is on some level fascinated by dinosaurs—either giddily on the surface (Me! Me!), or deep down in the primal swamp of the subconscious (also me). Over-sized mythological creatures like the dragon, the kraken, and the Roc are frightening and attractive to us at the same time because while we can imagine them being real, we know they aren’t/never were. Not so the case with dinos. They occupy a unique place in our imaginations in that they really did walk the ground we’re walking and could easily—but for fate’s intervention—be stalking us now. And we’re discovering new, bigger ones all the time!
To answer my own question, I first encountered dinosaurs as a five year old one Sunday afternoon, when my dad and I watched Ray Harryhausen’s brilliant cowboys and dinos film, The Valley of Gwangi, on TV. Those cowboys on horseback lassoed that scary Allosaurus and tried to capture it but it kept biting their ropes and getting free and eventually it ate one of them and just like that I was hooked on dinosaurs. Forever.
When I was 13, Spielberg’s Jurassic Park blew my mind. Later I discovered Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World and Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Land that Time Forgot, and I fell in love with the romance of prehistoric adventures. Especially Victorian/Edwardian English adventures.
So when it came time to write my first steampunk novel (after The Mysterious Lady Law, a novella), there was only ever one choice. The frightened five year old, the ecstatic thirteen year old and the spellbound man all agreed—wind back that clock, that Prehistoric Clock—and let’s have the adventure of a lifetime.
For a chance to win a free eBook copy of Prehistoric Clock, simply leave a comment on this post. I’ll pick the winner on Friday 10th Feb. Good luck!
Robert Appleton is an award-winning author of science fiction, steampunk and historical fiction. He lives in Bolton, England. Soccer and kayaking are his two favorite outdoor activities. Though he’s traveled far, he loves the comfort of reading books or watching movies at home. His mind is somewhat mercurial. His inspiration is the night sky.