Those who enjoy prehistoric monster stories may find it hard to swim in their local lake without wondering what lurks beneath the water.
Drawing from scientific research, Native American legends, and prehistoric fossils, Dalton Mire’s Fracking Dinosaurs combines fact and fiction to create a cautionary tale that is part creature feature and part environmental warning with a strong antifracking message.
Cayuga Lake is a hot spot for people looking for summer fun, especially the staff and attendees of Camp Minnechaug. It’s also the site of a large, money-making salt mine underneath the water.
Both the lake and the mine are threatened when the RealAirGas company begins fracking in the area, causing pollution and earthquakes that grow in size and damage. Fracking isn’t the only thing freaking out the locals; camp staff start to see creatures in the lake, even experiencing attacks by dinosaur-like animals.
The camp crew works with scientific teams, scrambling to prove the presence of the creatures while tracking the damage of the fracking quakes. Despite their efforts, no one can anticipate the real threat that fracking brings to Cayuga Lake, resulting in a disaster that affects everyone.
Fracking Dinosaurs delves into a lot of authentic and compelling scientific material regarding fracking, earthquake history, and salt mining. There is an obvious and purposeful antifracking bias to the novel; an environmental lesson is at its heart.
Breaking up its sometimes dense scientific particulars are intertwined love stories. At first, such relationships seem forced, but many develop into genuine narratives that show the capacity of people to change for the better.
Pacing is somewhat slow, with many repetitive scenes involving the fracking quakes and lake monsters. While the reasoning for the creatures’ presence is well explained and believable, the characters continue to go back into the lake and encourage others to do so, despite the increasing frequency and severity of the attacks. This is inconsistent with their otherwise reasonable, logical character attributes.
There are too many characters, and some are too similar to each other. Some are even misnamed in the course of the story. Descriptions, personal details, and dialogue patterns are strong with some characters but almost nonexistent with others.
Women’s characterizations revolve almost entirely around their sexuality; even the few competent and strong women are relationship fodder, and their capabilities are framed by their ability to be attractive to men. Grammatical errors interrupt the flow of the text.
Fracking Dinosaurs is rich in scientific interest and suspense, sprinkled with sexual romps and love stories. Environmentally minded audiences will appreciate Mire’s attention to detail and the novel’s assault on fracking companies that put profit before people, while those who enjoy prehistoric monster stories may find it hard to swim in their local lake without wondering what lurks beneath the water.
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