When Evil Hat Productions announced they were KickStarting a series of pulp novels set in their Spirit of the Century universe, I was all over it like fleas on a gorilla! I jumped at the chance to support this endeavour to produce new stories in the genre I love so much. While the KickStarter resulted in a whole slew of novels by the time it wrapped, it began as a trilogy by Chuck Wendig. Since then, the first two of the Dinocalypse trilogy have been released, Dinocalypse Now and its sequel Beyond Dinocalypse.
The Dinocalypse trilogy follows the adventures of the core members of the Century Club as they battle strange creatures from beyond time, lead by the villainous Gorilla Khan in his attempt to take control of the world from the hands of man. Dinocalypse Now takes place in the 1930's, while Beyond takes place... elsewhen. I don't want to spoil anything.
Chuck Wendig does a great job of recreating the action of the classic novels that were written when pulp ruled the book stands. The first book opens in the middle of the action, and barely lets up from then until the last page, sending the heroes jet-setting from tall cities of secret lairs. Mysterious artifacts, impossible devices and wondrous weapons from ancient worlds are all presented in classic pulp fashion.
But it is the characters that shine through all else. As well as the larger task of wanting to save the world, each gets their own personal goal. Some simply want to prove themselves more that their progenitor, others want to impress their colleagues, while more simply want the fame and glory. They are real people with real emotions and desires, and they can be hurt, both physically, with punishing blows, and emotionally, with humiliating defeats.
Everything in these books is paired down to a sharp point. Chuck Wendig manages to set up more inthe opening pages than some authors manage in opening chapters. We immediately get a sense of who we're up against, and what's at stake. When the twists and reveals come, it simply reinforces what's already there, rather than taking the story on a wild, unexpected tangent. Dialogue is equally sharp, with every character having their own voice, reading sufficiently differently from each other throughout the story.
The two books available in the Dinocalypse trilogy so far are a blast, taking readers on a thrilling ride through a suitably epic pulp adventure. I have no doubt that the final volume, Dinocalypse Forever will be equally as exciting when it hits bookshelves and e-readers everywhere in 2014.
Edit: The original upload of this post had a mix-up with the names of the second and third books in the series. It has been corrected here. Annoyingly, I didn't notice, despite the correct titles clearly visible on the embedded cover art. Sorry for any confusion caused.