Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Quest For The Great Gray Mossy, by Harry Turtledove


(Alternate History) In a world where intelligent raptors sail the seas hunting for Mosasaurs, a story much like Moby Dick unfolds. (15,505 words; Time: 51m)

If you’re a big Moby Dick fan and a big dinosaur fan, add one star.

"The Quest For The Great Gray Mossy," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 01-02|20, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2020.001 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: A great deal of work clearly went into this; nearly every passage corresponds to something from Moby Dick. Given the different taxa of dinosaurs mentioned, I’d guess this story takes place about 65 million years ago in a universe where the asteroid never killed the dinosaurs but an intelligent species of raptor evolved at about the same time.

Con: Being familiar with Moby Dick, I didn’t think this story really added very much. I’d have expected it to be comic, but it’s not.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I agree that this story didn't add much to the original Moby Dick, but still found it an enjoyable read. I disagree that the story took place 65 million years ago since the geography seems to correlate with the current day, same with the badlands of the earlier related story Bonehunters. So I agree with your guess it's another universe where an asteroid never led to the dinosaur's extinction and intelligent raptors evolved, however I think it's set in our same geologic age.

    1. Could be. I based that guess on the fact that the species are all Cretaceous. In 65-million years, they'd have most likely evolved into different species.

  2. The story called to mind a previous story, Bonehunters, also by Harry Turtledove, set in the same alternate History.

    1. Turtledove writes a lot of alternate history, doesn't he? It's not just alternate history though; it's a special kind of fantasy where some major historical event is different and yet at the time of the story, the world is very similar to our own in ways it has no rational right to be.

      An example would be if the what-if was "what if the dinosaurs never went extinct" and we find the story set in North America in "The Reptile States of America." Or that Christopher Columbisaurus discovered the continent.

      I tend to ding stories for things like that, but maybe I'm just not on board with the sub genre. The question is: does anyone besides Turtledove write this kind of thing?