How to Keep Dinosaurs by Robert Mash
Might contain spoilers.
I was smitten by the concept the moment I heard of it and indeed, the book starts out exceedingly well with a foreword and introduction written in character. It paints a delightful picture of a world where coexistence with dinosaurs is a mundane fact of life. Granted, it flags a little in the middle: the novelty has worn off by then and there remain many less interesting dinosaurs to wade through before one reaches the stars.
What ruined the entire thing for me, however, was the homophobia and brazen use of sexual assault for comedy in this description of Velociraptor:
They should be kept clear of sheep, goats, calves, pigs and small people, as they are accomplished rapists.
They have been scandalously underutilized in security work, although popular in the navy.
Jarring, unamusing, and disgusting. I’d be glad to chalk this up to the times, but it’s hardly unheard of today either. It’s a real shame, considering some of the (occasionally rather black) wit on display elsewhere:
In the first edition of this book I suggested that Podokesaurus was a ‘pretty little theropod, easily fed and good with children’. In a sense this was true: the animal that was all too often described as Podokesaurus was pretty and little, and easily fed, but it was a mistake to suggest that it was good with children: the phrase should have read ‘…easily fed and likes children’: unfortunately, too many, perhaps all, of the Podokesaurus that were kept turned out to be juvenile forms of Coelophysis (p. 48), and although they flourished in the company of children, the reverse could not be said to be the case.