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ZNTHDNVVJN1980In May 2013 I did a post on Lin Carter’s Zanthodon novels, which I discovered when I was in high-school, back when the dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Last month, Wildside Press reprinted the five Zanthodon novels as a single, massive ebook that goes for about one buck, aptly called The Zanthodon MEGAPACK TM: The Complete 5-Book Series.

And yes, I bought a copy.
My DAW Books original paperbacks are stashed somewhere in a box, and the one-volume collection on my kindle reader is a nice, cheap replacement.

Wraith ghostAfter downloading the ebook on my reader, I took a peek at it – and in about one hour I read some fifty pages.
Because this is something I did not appreciate back when I was fifteen, but now is evident – Lin carter’s prose is a breeze.
The pace of the story is so fast we start with a knife-fight in a dark alley, then we are discussing ancient legends and lost books, then we’re on a cargo to Morocco, and then we’re in a chopper flying down a volcano shaft, and all of a sudden we’re in this strange lost world and there’s a dinosaur munching on a chunk of meat!
It just keeps rolling.
So, yes, this is a Pellucidar rip-off, it’s Edgar Rice Burroughs with a little more tongue-in-cheek, written by an author that was never famous for his good prose.
But when it comes to pace, boy, Lin Carter’s a frigging machine.

Lin Carter

Lin Carter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know if it was a special inspiration, if it was Lyon Sprague de Camp‘s influence or an editor at DAW working overtime, or if (and I favor this explanation) Lin Carter’s fame as a bad writer has been blown out of proportion. Maybe he was not that bad – not when he was on a roll.
And he certainly was on aroll when he wrote these five novels.
For my money, Zanthodon is fun, fast-paced and highly satisfactory after all these years.
And now, it comes damn cheap.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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