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Dinosaurs in Fantasy?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by evolution_rex, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    So, if you couldn't tell by my username, I'm a big dinosaur nut and biology nut in general. How do you feel about dinosaurs and other extinct animals in a fantasy universe? I'm not necessarily talking about a Dinotopia-like fantasy but a high fantasy with all the fixings plus dinosaurs. I know many complaints are that it portrays real life animals as something akin to dragons and fairies, which kind of puts them on a pedestal rather than having them being portrayed as the real life animals they were. I also hear many people say that the idea lacks creativity in general.
     
  2. I'm fine with the idea. I think "creativity" is cheap and saying something is not "creative" is often used as an excuse to never write a story or to put down a potential rival (even if it is subconscious). The problem you will find comes in execution. Are you doing this well enough? Does it make sense in the world to have these thunder lizards? If having these dinos works for the story and make for an interesting element I say go for it. In fact, go for it right now. Try it out, see if you like it and then see if others like it.
     
  3. Mectojic

    Mectojic Minstrel

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    I think its awesome, and not many writers have done it (to my knowledge). My advice always for very dangerous creatures is that they are not completely on-scene. What do I mean? I feel it is better to have them living on a far away island, or somewhere away from the main town/village/whatever. If you do have them nearby, I wouldnt recommend too much of the t-rex type, unless you have some sorcerers who can subdue them.
    In my book, I have a group of bear-like super-monsters, that are discovered on an island half way through. They are captured, and shipped back to a city, where they are bred and trained for war. So they are like a trump card.
    Good luck.
     
  4. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    If done well, I would enjoy reading a fantasy tale with dinosaurs. If I can enjoy dragons, or other really far out creatures, why not dinosaurs?

    If you use real dinosaurs you do have to be careful factually though, as people will see and be unhappy about them being unrealistic.
     
  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Adding dinosaurs tends to alter the feel of a story. It really helps if you're going for that certain mythic sword and sorcery barbarian-y type of feeling.
     
  6. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Dinosaurs are cool...
    My only problem is that you would have to get every detail right or you will have no end of grief from those telling you what you got wrong. And some of those people will be 9yo children and they can be tough!
    It was a long time ago, but I remember the rows and flame-wars that followed Jurassic Park and the over sized Velociraptors... That said Jurassic Park survived and did okay...
     
  7. Note though that this is common with many things: guns, horses, tactics, modern law, historical facts, geography, astronomy, etc. So have fun with that.
     
  8. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I'm pretty up to date with the science of it all, that shouldn't be a problem.
     
  9. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    True... But have you met any 9yo dinosaur fanatics up close? They know way too much for people so young and have no shyness in letting you know when you are wrong [and good for them!]
    I used to play a game [that was in no way any sort of rip off of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs] and had to re-write the rules several times so gain the approval of the dinosaur expert who was the aforesaid 9yo...
     
  10. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    I don't see a reason not to. Have at it.
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    If you're writing fantasy dinosaurs, the details do not have to be consistent with what real world dinosaurs were like.
     
  12. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    True. But then you have to make some big, obvious changes to them to make it clear you're doing your own version, and still strike a balance so that they read more like dinosaurs than another take on trolls or Snake Monsters.

    If that's how you've pictured your dinos, it might be the best of both worlds. If not, it might be better to stick to the classic ones and focus on how the "familiar" clashes with your particular story.
     
  13. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    I don't have dinosaurs in my world, but I do have various prehistoric animals. Namely ground sloths, sabre cats and terror birds. In fact there's a bit where someone takes control of a ground sloth and mercs a dude with its massive claws.
     
  14. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    Go for it. :) I adore dinosaurs, and though I'm also one of those people who complain about bad palaeontology (I actually prefer Jurassic Park III to Jurassic World for this reason), I think in a high fantasy setting I would overlook any creative liberties taken to make dinosaurs fit the world a bit better. It'd definitely be interesting to see, and an actual range of reptilian creatures instead of just dragons and wyverns and the occasional cockatrice would definitely entice me to pick up the book if I saw it in the shops.
     
  15. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Are we then still talking about dinosaurs?
     
  16. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I have at one point in time thought about writing a story revolving around the 'dinosaurs' as we knew them back when we just discovered them. The four legged Igauanodon with a horn on it's head and the furry rat-like Megalosaurus, as well as the Rex that stands up straight like a person and dragging it's tail. But, to me, it didn't feel like it could add anything to the story. It would be neat in a painting or in a film, but I couldn't see how I could use it well in writing.

    And I would have to say they're not really dinosaurs at that point, just fictional creatures inspired by them. I think accurate dinosaurs is underdone, and I like using them more than intentionally inaccurate ones.
     
  17. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Sounds like a fantastic idea. I wanted to make an alternate history based off of the premise that the chixulub meteorite never happened, thus dinos never died out and interact with humans.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. Lunaairis

    Lunaairis Sage

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    If the meterite never happened. How did mammals get a foot hold over their dino-rivals? Cause with the extinction of their top predators mammals where able to explore their genetics. As during the time of the dinos mammals were not much bigger then rats.
     
  19. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    It worked for me. In the first novel in my fantasy series, dire wolves appeared. In the second novel deinonychus appeared. Some readers, from emails, found it interesting and fun, and none have complained--that I know of. ;)

    So, it all depends on the world you create and if it makes 'sense' to the reader (your target audience).
     
  20. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Well, I had considered the effects of the ice ages on dinosaur population, not to mention geologic turmoil. Without sufficient food, they become smaller, and are fewer in number, so aren't an impossible threat, just a serious one. In this way mammals could still thrive in a limited fashion"Biters" as the early man refers to carnivores are only about 12-20 feet tall instead of 40 or even 50.

    Instead of packs of wolves, you have raptor packs. -evil grin-


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
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