If the idea of a steampunk-tinged alternate history of the wild west doesn't catch your attention; if a band of heroes that includes Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill, and Theodore Roosevelt doesn't make you curious; and if the idea of the infamous Cope and Marsh coming face-to-face with living, breathing, man-eating dinosaurs doesn't already have you reading . . . well, I don't know what the heck is wrong with you, but maybe you should just mosey on down that there lonely path and don't you even think of looking back.
Yes, boys and girls, that is The Doctor and the Dinosaurs in a nut shell. Actually, toss in a little a Geronimo's medicine man magic, and one of of Buntline & Edison's scientific marvels, and you've pretty much got the whole story. It's not particularly deep, and there's no significant character development, but that's okay because it's got Doc, it's got Dinosaurs, and it's a heck of a lot of fun.
As a huge dinosaur fan, I loved the scenes with Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. Theirs is probably one of the most famous rivalries in all of science, and Mike Resnick absolutely nails both their professional passion and personal antagonism. It's a ridiculous rivalry, make no bones about it (pun intended), but one that drove the field further and faster than any sort of cooperative friendship ever could. Resnick recognizes that, and even has characters comment on it once or twice, but he certainly does enjoy exploring that passionate hatred.
Doc Holliday is great, with his fatalistic sarcasm making for some of the best moments in the book, especially when he's paired with an early, pre-Presidential Teddy Roosevelt. The banter between characters is laugh-out-loud funny at times, and the moments of action are just as exciting as if there'd been any real sort of danger involved. Let's face it, we all know Doc and Teddy are going to walk away from the T-Rex unscathed, but seeing how they do it is all the fun.
If you haven't read any of Mike Resnick's previous Weird West Tales, then don't let that stop you. This is my first as well, and I don't think I could have enjoyed it any more for having the experience of the back story. The Doctor and the Dinosaurs an over-the-top sort of dime-store adventure that never tries to be anything more. Sit back, suspend your disbelief, and strap in for one heck of a wild ride.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins