Dinosaur Summer Summary
Many science fiction novels written for adults are crossover books that appeal to young readers who enjoy imaginative tales of exotic adventure. Bear has written many such books, but Dinosaur Summer is written specifically for the same young adult market as the book that inspired it, Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (1912; see separate entry, Vol. 4). Both novels appeal to adults as well as their intended young adult readers. In Dinosaur Summer, Bear treats The Lost World as if it were an historical document, with the characters in the earlier book being real people whose adventures on an isolated plateau in South America really happened.
In Bear's novel, the discovery of dinosaurs was sensational news in 1912, but by the late 1940s interest in them has waned almost to the point of public indifference. Lothar Gluck's Dinosaur Circus, one of the last remaining circuses with dinosaurs, has been losing money for years, and Lothar Gluck decides to close it down. Gluck rejects a good offer by Ringling Brothers to purchase his dinosaurs, instead deciding to send them back to their original habitat, the plateau of Conan Doyle's The Lost World. National Geographic hires free-lance adventurer Anthony Belzoni to cover the return of the dinosaurs to their wild habitat. Since Belzoni is primarily a photographer, he invites his bookish son Peter to come along to make a written record of their journey. The adventure of a lifetime obviously lies ahead. Not only are the dinosaurs unpredictable beasts bound to cause trouble, but the men whom the adventurers encounter possess their own ferocity and are equally dangerous.