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Book Review: ‘The Doctor and The Dinosaurs (A Weird West Tale)’ by Mike Resnick

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In the latest edition in the Weird West series featuring Doc Holliday and his famous friends, The Doctor and The Dinosaurs, it is April 1855 and Holliday lies dying in a sanitorium in Leadville, Colorado. Suddenly, the powerful Apache medicine man Geronimo appears and offers him one more year of life if he will perform one more task for him. Doc agrees but is disgruntled to discover that even though he is still alive, he is still very sick. Geronimo claims it is his illness that gives him his killing edge and only restores him to health enough to be able to function.

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Nevertheless, he sets off to stop two famous paleontologists who are disturbing Cheyenne sacred ground in Wyoming and causing the Cheyenne medicine men to bring dinosaurs back to life. To do so, he once again requires the help of his well-known friends Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Ned Buntline.

The story is amusing, particularly because of the characterization of, and the conversations between, the real historic characters that abound. In addition to the figures already mentioned, this one includes Edward Drinker Cole and Othniel Charles Marsh, the paleontologists, the shootist Cole Younger, and Buffalo Bill Cody. Resnick has an amazing talent for plunging these figures into his weird alternate history and yet keeping them true to their historic nature.

This review is based on an advanced reader copy. There is a major continuity error in the plot toward the end of the book, but I hope it will be corrected before the book is actually published. Otherwise, one part of the ending makes no sense at all.

Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable steampunk western and will probably please fans of either genre. Edison and Buntline create only one really interesting weapon in this one and that weapon does not get used much, but it provides that necessary bit of advanced technology readers expect from the Weird West.

While not as strong as The Doctor and The Kid and The Doctor and The Rough Rider plot-wise, The Doctor and The Dinosaurs is a worthwhile read for fans of author Mike Resnick and the Weird West series.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.