Will Hubbell,
Cretaceous Sea
(Ace, 2002)

Will Hubbell debuts his full-length novel Cretaceous Sea and makes a welcome splash in the pool of science fiction adventure.

Constance Greighton is invited to accompany her father and his most recent fiancee, Sara, on a special vacation. It's a trip into the past to the Cretaceous period, some time before the K-T event -- the asteroid that drastically altered the climate and heralded the end of the age of dinosaurs. She agrees to go, hoping against hope that she would be able to have her father's attention for once.

Her dreams plummet when she finds that a paleontology student, Rick Clements, is to serve as a guide and, she figures, to keep her out of her father's and Sara's hair. Angry and resistant at first, she succumbs to the beauty of Montana Isle. As her father distances himself from her more and more, wrapped up in his business dealings with Peter Green, the owner of the time machine, Constance turns to Rick for friendship and understanding.

Both are possessed of natural curiosity, and it comes as little surprise that they learn that things are not quite what they seem to be. More important is Rick's realization that the K-T event is not in the distant future but is in fact imminent.

The action is non-stop, and the section of the book where Constance, Rick and Joe, the time machine pilot, struggle to survive the asteroid's aftermath is particularly compelling. There are rough edges in both plot and characterization, but nothing that time and experience won't smooth out. He might be better off sticking to one point of view rather than delving into various viewpoints, including one of the dinosaurs, and some of the passages between Con and Rick come across as awkward and self-conscious rather than passionate. What is more important is that Hubbell's Cretaceous Sea demonstrates all the hallmarks of good storytelling: a strong plot, appealing characters and lively, vivid language that evokes the sounds and smells of a world we can only imagine.

- Rambles
written by Donna Scanlon
published 1 March 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.