CC Issue 45 / Literature

Judging a Book, Part 1: By the Cover

One of life’s most-repeated warnings is “don’t judge a book by its cover”.

When I see a cover like that of “Raptor Red” by Robert T. Bakker, of course I’m going to throw that advice right out the window. It is hard to ignore a holographic dinosaur staring at you from amidst the pile of books scattered on the table at the library sale.

rr front

Without the least bit of hesitation, I snatch up the volume, judging it to be “sweet-awesome”. I hold it in my hands, forming opinions almost as fast as I can scan the sparse text on the front. The scarlet font and the literal word “Red” of the title scream bloodshed and action. “What the real Jurassic Park may have been like…,” says the blurb at the top. So, that and the hologram indicate, that it must be from the mid-90’s. Is it hastily written knock-off of the blockbuster film, perhaps?

I hope so. The hologram could signify a sci-fi angle to the plot. How would the author bring dinosaurs to the present in a manner different than Michael Crichton? I bet time-travel.

rr front detail

I turn it over. “Michael Crichton may be a great storyteller, but even he wouldn’t have the nerve to write a dinosaur novel from the dino’s point of view,” says People Magazine. From the raptor’s point of view!

I’m hooked for sure. This raptor is going to be rampaging through a park, eating people left and right. It’ll be like the Sega videogame where you could play as the raptors! That was the best!
I don’t get much further than that. I’ve seen enough. This will be the best book of all time. I’m sure of it.

Only after I get home, and am pawing through the rest of my loot, do I read the “fine print” that covers the rest of the back.

rr back

“The time is 120 million years ago…Her name is Raptor Red” it says. And “leading paleontologist Robert T. Bakker…dramatizing his revolutionary theories”.

My excitement begins to fade. That doesn’t sound like a time-traveling reptile’s murder-spree. Is this some sort of scholarly text, gussied up to cash in on dino-mania? Has the cover done the unthinkable and lied to me? Find out in my next post, where I review the book based on the actual words inside it!

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