I was super excited to come across Dragon Teeth in a bookstore while I was setting up for my own book signing. As a teen I read any Crichton that I could get my hands on, starting with Jurassic Park and Andromeda Strain. For my fellow SF fans, I felt an awful lot like Admiral Adama from Battlestar Galactica as he finally completed Searider Falcon, a book he read often and never allowed himself to finish until Roslin (his love interest) asked him to. Adama never read further than a certain spot because he “didn’t want the adventure to end.” So many feels as I read.
The story is solid Crichton. Some spots are less polished, which seems likely to be the a reason that he hadn’t yet sent it to publishers… it did feel like a second to last draft in some respects, but it’s still worth a read and it makes it almost more endearing than less so, given the post-humous publication. I felt much the same as with Tolkien’s Song of Kullervo (though Dragon Teeth is much more completed than Song of Kullervo was and I can see why Tolkien seemed to have abandoned the work).
Some have speculated that this book is either a money-grab by Crichton’s family or that the book was mostly ghostwritten and has garnered some negative reviews. It’s no Sphere or Jurassic Park, but it certainly has the language and feel that Michael Crichton writes with… some of those criticisms may come from the first 30% of the story which is decidedly less polished and less important to the narrative which reads simpler. (I wonder if this was an earlier draft than we’ll ever guess and editors did all the polish work to keep us from knowing that this was his first phase for the story which would’ve been later layered with greater subplot—it is certainly shorter than any of MC’s previous dinosaur stories, but he has written with this linear plot style before [I’m thinking Andromeda Strain.] That feeling does come out with how hurried the trickery comes and goes between Wyatt Earp, Johnson, and Emily as they try to get beyond the post-Deadwood encounter with Professor Marsh.) As far as a money grab, I don’t even care. As a fan, if I knew that there was a nearly finished manuscript being held from the fandom because it wasn’t finished, I’d be upset.
If you haven’t gotten your hands on this one yet, get down to the library and reserve a copy… or better yet, click here and pick up a copy in print or ebook. And I barely even mentioned it—but it’s got Wyatt Earp in it! How cool is that. Dinosaurs and Indians.