So you have this gorilla who wants to rule the world with his army of sentient ape-men, right? Plus, there’s a portal open to another time, and dinosaurs are coming through it – nobody’s sure who’s controlling them, but they aren’t acting purely on instinct. Then there’s the fact that many of the members of the Century Club – a group of two-fisted do-gooders who fight for truth and justice – with Chapter Houses all over the world – have disappeared, and you have the makings of a fantastic romp through pulp action in the classic tradition.
Dinocalypse Now is written by Chuck Wendig, the prolific author who contributed to the majority of work White Wolf Publishing has done in the last decade. Chuck has also written quite a bit on his own, both fiction and non-fiction titles, including his own book Blackbirds, as well as contributing stories to Tales of the Far West and Haunted: 11 Tales Of Ghostly Horror In the interest of full disclosure, I also have a story in the Haunted anthology, so I’m less than unbiased on that point.
When the story of Dinocalypse Now begins, we see new York City in approximately the mid- to late-1930s. Members of the Century Club, a group of people from across all social and economic strata, are being rounded up by persons unknown. The Century Club, despite being outwardly designed as a social club whose members must have a birthday of numerological significance, also harbors more than its fair share of adventurers, scientists and vigilantes.
As the few remaining members of the Century Club piece things together, they realize they’re up against a globe-spanning conspiracy that is part of an invasion from beyond time itself. Dinosaurs begin circling the skies and roaming the streets of New York City; weird, otherworldly gates have opened on remote islands just off the coasts of the world’s continents. It’s an apocalyptic situation, and the threat seems to have materialized out of thin air. Can the remaining Centurions get to the bottom of it and stop this horrific plot from reaching its earth-shattering conclusion?
Dinocalypse Now is based on the world of the RPG Spirit of the Century published by Evil Hat Productions. It’s interesting to see Evil Hat producing fiction to support the line; classic pulp tales like this are the inspiration for Spirit of the Century in the first place, so it makes sense that things should come full circle with Evil Hat publishing a fiction line.
I liked this story a great deal; it’s fast-paced and full of action. The characters are believable and sympathetic; I liked them from the start and cared about what happened to them from page 1. The only negative I found – which may be a positive aspect for a great many readers – was the rapid turn-over of chapters. Most chapters are only a couple of pages in length before cutting to the next scene featuring other members of the cast. In this post-MTV age of rapid jump-cuts, it’s probably a really picky criticism, but I found myself wanting more story from one group at a time. The timing of the events in the story is fairly critical, however, making these rapid jumps important and necessary.
That perhaps is the key phrase to remember from this review; I wanted more. Wendig is a wonderful storyteller and writer, and his tale sucked me in from the beginning.