Apr. 15th, 2013

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So I just finished reading All Yesterdays, which is a book studying the science/art of depicting prehistoric animals (specifically archosaurs and mostly dinosaurs, I do wish the book had covered some prehistoric mammals) in art and speculation. It's a fairly short book, but what is there is for the most part very meaty, and the authors definitely accomplish what they set out to do, which is to encourage the reader to set aside current and past trends and 'habits' in prehistoric speculation. Each section is accompanied by an original speculative illustration of a prehistoric beast that aims to break free of previous, tired interpretations and include new information and theories on behavior, appearance, diet, and how all of these factors may have been tied together. The authors don't assert that their interpretations are correct, but rather that more diversity in depictions of these animals would be a good thing to see.

I did find parts of the text to be very dry (especially at the beginning), but most of it was very readable as a layman in the field of paleontology, although I did find myself frequently stopping in the middle of reading to Google a species of archosaur or a particular piece of art being referenced. (Here is the illustration by Luis Rey mentioned in the Glorius Mud chapter: a painting of dromaeosaurids and troodontids playing in the snow. You're welcome 6 u 9!)

I'd recommend it as a good read for anybody who really loves prehistoric beasts and/or drawing them - and I'd also recommend it to anybody who's a creator of speculative fiction, because the authors really do a good job of pointing out aspects of animal life that are often neglected in fictional depictions of beasts real and imagined. They also outline their own approach in exploring these areas of prehistoric animal life.

I bought my (digital) copy right here on Amazon. If you are looking at buying a copy, I'd only recommend getting the digital copy if you have an actual ereader - I read my ebooks on my computer, and in this case that meant I did a lot of clicking back and forth to look at the art at the start of each chapter again as they referenced it in the text. Since the chapters are fairly short, I suspect this is much less of an issue when it's, eh, formatted like an actual book and not squashed down to fit a laptop screen. However, there was one benefit to reading the ebook copy on my computer, in that some of the footnotes were explanatory rather than references and I wanted to read what they said - in the ebook of course the numbers are clickable links so I didn't have to find the index. Very convenient in a book like this.

(I don't know how I ended up writing a review here. This started out as a regular post I SWEAR)
potato_head: (8D)

potato_head: (Default)
I'm okay!

P.S. There's a carnival on campus today. I think most of the people there don't know what happened yet because they've been there several hours. Hmm...

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