Dale Bailey. Mating Habits of the Late Cretaceous. (Asimovs September 2012)

Bailey takes us back to Bradbury’s seminal time-travel tale ‘A Sound of Thunder’. Quite literally, as the couple taking a holiday back in time to the Cretaceous are in effect in a sequel, as the impact of the protagonist in that earlier story, Eckels, is referenced. Bailey also uses the phrase ‘a sound of thunder’ in the narrative.

It is made clear from the start that due to the nature of the visit, no butterfly-wings are going to take place, and the travellers have a much more advanced technology at hand – no being constrained to walking on a specific path floating above the land, and with a technology that can spot danger and yanks the travellers back to their own time and safety before a T. Rex can say Raaaaaargh. (A missed opportunity though is Bailey not referencing the change of political landscape, or indeed, English language at the end of Bradbury’s story).

The story focuses, as the title suggests, on the relationships of the characters. A husband and wife are taking the trip to try and save their marriage, with Gwyneth, the main character having a palpable sense of malaise and ennui about her. It’s steamy out there in the Cretaceous, and there is a handskome tour guide, and another married couple. An a Big Fuck Off T. Rex to highlight the tensions.

More happens than in a whole batch of Steven Utley’s ‘Silurian Tales’ sequence, which is good. However, a quick google to found me reading a treatise on the Ray Bradbury story, and pulled out of that story is the paragraph describing the entrance of the T. Rex in that story, and I still remember reading that first 40 years ago as a spotty 13-year old in school, who was finding the set text book in English ‘The Stars and Under’, an SF anthology, far more to my liking than the usual Bronte, Shakespeare and Chaucer.

2 thoughts on “Dale Bailey. Mating Habits of the Late Cretaceous. (Asimovs September 2012)

  1. You are right on about this story. For me it was one of the best of the year. But I have to say that you keep typing Ballard instead of Bradbury in the first paragraphs of he review.

    Sorry to correct, but I read your reviews every week and enjoy them. We don’t always agree but we do have very similar tastes. Thanks.

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