Monthly Archives: September 2012

REVIEW: Of Ants and Dinosaurs by Cixin Liu

“Of Ants and dinosaurs” is a fascinating fable for young readers; And an extraordinary science fiction story for a mature audience. Millions of years ago, in the remote depths of the Late Cretaceous, two glorious civilization flourished in symbiosis: The dinosaur nations and the coalition of ants. Taking the best from each to complement the other, these two species lived in harmony. With their great intelligence and visionary creativity the dinosaurs constantly advanced both technology and society; While the ants managed all the small things, squeezing into the dinosaurs’ computers to connect their microscopic circuitry. Until one day, on the annual dinosaur and ant summit, the ants insisted that the dinosaurs dismantle all their nuclear weapons…

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I was first drawn to Of Ants and Dinosaurs because of the intriguing cover art and book description. I was not disappointed. For a short story of about fifty-five pages according to Amazon it paints a fascinating description of what life could have been like for Ants and Dinosaurs during the cretaceous period on Earth. The story begins by giving background information on how the Ants and Dinosaurs developed a symbiotic relationship and follows that relationship through both species becoming sentient beings and developing complex and technologically advanced societies.

Due to the brevity of this read the characters do not have a lot of back story but I don’t think it is necessary to gain an appreciation for the characters or to enjoy the story. The characters emotions, especially those of the Ants are well developed through their conversations. The Ants communicate via pheromones and the author does an excellent job of inserting their emotions into the transfer of pheromones which helps give insight into the characters. This is not done for the Dinosaurs but I think their language helps aid the reader in inferring their emotions.

There is quite a bit of technical jargon in this short read but seeing as this is a sci-fi read it works well. The technical bits are also not overly complicated and can easily be understood so it does not detract from the story. The story itself is a back and forth between what is happening in the Ant society versus what is happening in the Dinosaur society, and at times the two coincide. The way the story is written it helps give the reader the full picture of what is going on in both societies.

Overall this was a very interesting read and a really different take on how the world could have been millions of years ago. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a short read and would be interested in reading other works by this author.

Available on Amazon:Of Ants and Dinosaurs

Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.