Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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The Red Pen, Or Whose Book is It?

Here’s an interesting article at Slate by Colin Dickey: Red Pens and Invisible Ink

In 2008 I published a short piece in Cabinet magazine on the fate of writer Thomas Browne’s skull, stolen from his coffin 158 years after his death. It caught the attention of an editor at a small press called Unbridled Books, Fred Ramey, who contacted me and asked if I would develop it into what became my first book. He particularly praised the final line of the Cabinet piece, saying that line showed him I was a strong writer. I didn’t have the courage to tell him that the line in question had not been written by me but added by my editor at Cabinet, Sina Najafi.

As you see, this article is all about the hidden work of the editor; it poses the question of whose work is that book, anyway? There’s a long discussion about a particular novel called Insect Dreams, later republished by the author in its pre-edited form as Kafka’s Roach, which includes this bit:

What’s clear is that Estrin, despite his gratitude for a publishing break, never seems to have considered Insect Dreams entirely his. He refers to it as “my book in Fred’s edit,” or “Fred’s Gregor,” the novel that’s been “fredited,” all the while keeping hold of the manuscript he calls “the original Gregor.” Ramey in turn sees Estrin’s decision to publish his original manuscript as, at least in part, a repudiation both of Ramey’s editorial work and the larger question of editing altogether. “At the end of the day,” he worries, “Kafka’s Roach will become and always be the real novel; Insect Dreams will be the artificial, tainted construct.”

Well, of course Ramey sees it as a repudiation of his editorial work. It IS a repudiation of his editorial work.

You know what this reminds me of? The Stand by Stephen King. I read the original (edited, cut by 150,000 words) version long ago, and then when King re-published the uncut version, I read that. I greatly preferred the edited version. I thought basically every one of the 500 or so pages that had been cut should have been cut; I thought the plotlines added back into the book ultimately detracted from the story. Anybody else read both? What did you think?

I had the same basic experience when I finally read the unabridged Count of Monte Cristo. I didn’t notice for the longest time that the edition I fell in love with as a child was abridged; as soon as I realized I rushed out and read the unabridged version. … And it wasn’t as good. I liked some of the original material, but it just wasn’t in general an asset to the overall story.

So, I don’t know. I don’t particularly plan to read either Insect Dreams or Kafka’s Roach, but it wouldn’t surprise me unduly to find that the former is a tighter, smoother, generally superior story.

I will add that the most-edited book of mine is The Mountain of Kept Memory, which as you may recall lost a major protagonist, had Gulien shift from a secondary to a primary character to take over that part of the plot, and had the plot substantially adjusted. And yes, the overall story wound up tighter as a result. Not shorter (it got significantly longer, actually). But tighter. And none of that work is visible to the reader.

Must be odd, being an editor and having your work just vanish from view like that.

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And Cake! / Blog

Zebra Cake

Here’s the last of a cake I made for a coworker’s birthday; also for Mother’s Day.

I actually made five layers and wow, was that an undertaking! Fourteen eggs, eight cups of flour . . . actually the recipe is quite simple for such a fancy effect, as long as you just make one cake at a time. If you’re going to double the recipe as I did, I recommend making the first cake layers and then while they’re in the over making the second batch of cake layers, unless your mixing bowls are muuuuch bigger than mine.

I got this recipe from Martha Stewart Living, a magazine which my mother gets. She passes me the issues and I look over the recipes. This one was a keeper. I made it almost-but-not-quite according to the recipe.

Zebra Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
4 C flour
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (the recipe called for two tsp, but I think that was too much)
3 large eggs, separated, room temp
4 egg whites, room temp
2 1/2 C sugar
2 C whole milk, room temp, divided
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (the original recipe calls for a Tbsp, which I think is way overboard, but you can certainly try it that way if you like)
1/2 C cocoa powder

Frosting
2/3 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder (I left this out)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 C hot water
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 sticks butter (I substituted cream cheese for half the butter), softened
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
8 oz semisweet chocolate chip, melted (the recipe called for 10 oz)
3 Tbsp corn syrup

Line two 9-inch cake pans with circles of parchment. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Melt the butter.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Whisk together the egg whites and sugar until light, opaque, and foamy, about two minutes. I used a stand mixer and it didn’t take two minutes to get to this point. Whisk in 1 1/2 C milk, butter, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Combine egg yolks, 1/3 C milk, and cocoa. It says to whisk until smooth, but this forms a very thick dough, so I suggest a spoon.

Add 3 1/2 C vanilla batter to the cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Here you really can use a whisk.

Whisk the remaining milk into the remaining vanilla batter.

Now, pour 1/4 C of vanilla batter into the center of each cake pan. Then pour 1/4 C of the chocolate batter right in the center. Then pour another 1/4 C vanilla batter right in the center . . . you can see how this is going, right? Just keep pouring alternate batters into the center of the pan. This will form concentric circles of batter right out to the edge. It really will. I suggest using a very generous 1/4 C of batter each time, though, or maybe a scant-ish 1/2 C, because what tends to happen is very narrow stripes indeed around the outside and then much bigger circles toward the middle.

I bet what would actually work best is using a 1/2 C measure for the first four or five times you pour batter in the center of each pan, then switching to a 1/4 C measure. If you try that, I bet you will get more even stripes right through the cake.

It will be beautiful no matter what you do, though.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through if necessary for even baking. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, turn out onto racks, and peel off parchment. Cool completely.

Frosting:

This is a very nice frosting, not too sweet. I liked it a lot and I generally throw the icing away when I get a piece of cake at a party or whatever, because it is usually much too sweet for me.

Whisk together the cocoa, espresso powder if you use that, salt, hot water, and vanilla. Beat butter and cream cheese with powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate. Beat in cocoa mixture and corn syrup.

Frost cake with swirls and swoops of frosting. Chill to store, but bring to room temp before serving.

I found this cake a little heavier than some, which probably comes from using melted butter rather than beating the butter with the sugar for five minutes or so like you normally would in a butter cake. But it was good. I definitely suggest you try it if you want to impress people, because I doubt anybody will have seen a vertically striped cake before!

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Writer’s Block

Here’s a post by Maurice Broaddus, author of this book, Buffalo Soldier, on his experience with writer’s block. I noticed this post particularly because the cover is quite eyecatching.

Lots of cool stuff going on in that cover!

Anyway:

Like many writers, I’ve had to wrestle with the idea of writer’s block. Honestly, every time I sit down in front of a blank page, I have a flutter of anxiety, as if I may have forgotten how to string words together to form a sentence. At this point, I usually recall a comment my wife made early in my career:”we can’t pay bills with your writer’s angst.” Bills don’t wait on inspiration or the comings and goings of “my Muse.” To me, most times “writer’s block” is a romantic way to describe a story not being done yet, that the creative mind still had work to do on a project. Still, I’d say that I’ve had three occasions when I’ve experienced something close to true “writer’s block…”

Basically a pretty good take on what I suppose might be called “normal writer’s block.” I had problems with the still-cooking-in-the-oven-don’t-rush-it kind of thing for Shadow Twin, which was one reason (not the only one) why it took an extra four months to finish the draft. I swear I only worked out the last couple chapters in reasonable detail in April, with the manuscript already well over 100,000 words. Sigh.

Broaddus also discusses the very real situation where a writer slams into a brick wall because of Stuff In Their Life. Yeah. It’s all very well to say you should write every day, but sometimes you can’t if you believe you should.

Then there’s this:

Ultimately I realized it wasn’t my fear of getting it wrong paralyzing me (that should give me pause). It was the fear of a lot of people (read: teh interwebz) falling on my head. I wanted to tell this story, but I had all of these voices in my head shouting me down, stopping the process. It was essentially the same as fearing critics (which shouldn’t give me pause). But with all of this outside anxiety in the form of looming social media fallout, I froze.

Yes. All too imaginable these days.

Anyway, I gather Buffalo Soldier is about “An autistic child whose guardian takes him into Native American territory.” It sounds intriguing, and the cover is great, so yep, there goes another sample onto my Kindle.

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Good News Tuesday

Okay, first, here’s that snazzy new dinosaur fossil:

‘Rare as winning the lottery’: New dinosaur fossil so well-preserved it looks like a statue

This is “the snout-to-hips portion of a nodosaur, a “member of the heavily-armored ankylosaur subgroup,” that roamed during the Cretaceous Period, according to Smithsonian. This group of heavy herbivores, which walked on four legs, likely resembled a cross between a lizard and a lion — but covered in scales.”

Wonderful!

Here’s one that’s welcome news for everyone, but especially for those hoping to have children in the near future:

Zika crisis is over as Brazil declares end to national emergency the virus caused

Brazil had declared a national emergency in November 2015. The threat led to a campaign to eradicate the mosquitoes which carry the virus….New figures showed there were 7,911 cases of Zika from January to April this year, compared to 170,535 cases reported in the same time last year, according to the health ministry.

Whew! That’s great.

So is this:

New UNICEF Report: Child Deaths Cut in Half Since 1990

Further good news: the under-five mortality rate is falling faster than at any other time during the past two decades with a tripling in the annual rate of decline. Thanks to this accelerated progress, almost 100 million children’s lives have been saved over the past two decades, including those of 24 million newborns. These are babies who would have died had mortality remained at 1990 rates.

The leading infectious diseases—pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria—are still the main killers of children, despite significant declines. Together, they contribute to about one-third of all under-five deaths.

With all the violence in the world, it’s easy to lose track of the diseases that are actually the biggest killers. My vote for most important thing governments don’t prioritize: clean drinking water. It would be great to see all three of these issues drop out of the top causes of child mortality in the next twenty years.

One more in the same basic category:

Cancer Facts and Figures: US Death Rate Down 25% Since 1991

The death rate from cancer in the US has declined steadily over the past 2 decades, according to annual statistics reporting from the American Cancer Society. The cancer death rate for men and women combined fell 25% from its peak in 1991 to 2014, the most recent year for which data are available. This decline translates to more than 2.1 million deaths averted during this time period.

Yay! Faster with that! I have always hoped cancer would fade into the past *before* I personally got cancer of any kind. But progress has been spottier and slower than I expected when I was a teenager. Let’s move this along, please, and get there for the Millennials if not for my generation.

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The best animal sidekicks in SFF

Here’s a timely post from Black Gate, considering that I was just trying to decide whether I sort of like the bat sidekick in Railsea (not really) or can see an easy way for the author to keep the plot but lose the bat (not really). And also considering the wolf-really-a-furry-person in Queen of Blood, which I only just read a week or so ago. Let’s see what Constance Cooper has to say on this theme:

Wolves, Bears, Cats & Dragons: The Best Animal Sidekicks in Fantasy

Category 1: Really, an animal: Ah hah, Cooper lists Wolf and Iron by Gordon Dickson. Now THERE is a wolf, by gum. That wolf is definitely a wolf and not a dog, far less a furry person. Two thumbs up on that choice, although I must add that Dickson’s work mostly has not worn all that well for me and I gave most of his books away a decade or two ago rather than keeping them in my personal library. Still: that is a great wolf.

Category 2: Not quite an animal: Oh, here’s another older series I liked a lot: the giant telepathic cats in the Raithskar series by Garrett and Heydron. That was before I got tired of telepathic cats. Also, this is a pretty cool example of the trope: the cats have more of their own personalities and agendas than some in that genre. This is a series I still own, though I haven’t read it in a while.

Come to think of it, the dragons in Novik’s Temeraire series go even farther in the real-people-with-their-own-agendas direction. They may not count as animals at all, though.

Category 3: More than human: Cooper mentions Pullman’s Dark Materials world, where “every human has a daemon — an animal companion that is an outward manifestation of their soul.” That’s interesting. I haven’t actually read this series, though.

My all-time favorite fictional animal is not a sidekick, as it happens, but the protagonist. Also, not really an animal, just stuck temporarily in animal form. I bet that’s enough to let most of you guess:

Sirius, the dog star, in Dogsbody by DWJ. It’s not just the dog; that whole story is just so well put together, despite the wildly disparate elements that go into it.

Also, another where the animals are protagonists and not sidekicks — Watership Down. What a wonderful story that is.

Actual favorite animal sidekick . . . hmmm. Maybe the horses in Robin McKinley’s books, The Blue Sword and particularly The Hero and the Crown.

Here, by the way, is a fun quiz: Which animal would be YOUR fantasy companion?. The quiz has a stupid advertisement that doesn’t appear to be avoidable, but it redeemed itself by assuring me that MY fantasy companion is a giant elephant. I’ll go with that!

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Recent Reading: Railsea by China Miéville

Okay, now I’ve read four books by Miéville: The City and the City, Embassytown, Un Lun Dun (which I did not finish) and now Railsea.. I have two more of his most recent titles on my current physical TBR shelves, too. For me Miéville is not the sort of author where I read through his whole backlist in a month. His books work better for me spaced waaaay out. But after Railsea, I believe I’m more likely to actually open one of the others before too very long.

Okay, let me see. The City and the City is a police procedural, sort of, with (as I’m sure you all know) a weird setting. Just how weird is kind of open to interpretation. I liked it a lot, partly because I like police procedurals and partly because I liked the strange setting and mostly because I found the protagonist compelling. Embassytown was interesting in concept and intellectually engaging, without being (for me) especially emotionally engaging. Also, I don’t think I ever quiiiite believed in the essential premise of Embassytown. For whatever reason, Un Lun Dun did not work for me and I wound up reading about half of it, skimming the ending, and giving it away.

How does Railsea fit in to this set?

Right at the top, it turns out.

Railsea is essentially a YA novel. I don’t know if it was marketed that way. It was published in 2012, recently enough that perhaps it falls into the (continuing) era where, without an angst-infused central romance, a book may be called Adult and marketed as Adult no matter how thoroughly it otherwise fits the YA category. However it was presented, Railsea is definitely YA.

At first I wasn’t at all sure I was going to like this book. I didn’t like the protagonist, Sham ap Soorap, who may be, at the beginning, the least introspective and least aware of his own feelings and even his own thoughts of any protagonist ever. With the possible exception of Breq in the Anxillary Justice trilogy, except unlike Breq, Sham is also globally maladroit. Also, the world is not merely peculiar, it is biologically implausible. I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy the book enough to bother willingly suspending disbelief about the subterranean ecosystem.

Then, about fifty pages in, Sham finds the camera card and everything takes off. He quickly grows into a more likeable protagonist, the situation gets more compelling, the supporting characters get more interesting (especially the captain), and all of that continues to snowball right up to the end. When I was fifty pages in, I wasn’t sure I’d finish the book. When I was a hundred pages in, I thought probably I’d finish it and then give the book away. But by the end, I’d changed my mind. This one gets shelf space, because I definitely see myself coming back to it and re-reading it one of these days.

You probably know that Railsea is supposed to be an homage to or a retelling of Moby Dick. How true is that? Well, without going back to re-read Melville’s classic, I’d say it’s pretty close. But first, Sham is off on his own a lot of the book, so the focus is pulled off the giant pale-colored mole and Captain Naphi’s obsession with it. Second, China Miéville re-interprets and uses the captain’s obsession in some really unexpected ways. Captain Naphi may be my favorite character. She is certainly likely to surprise the reader more than anyone else. The plotting was interesting, and tighter than I at first thought it was going to be, integrating the obsessive hunt for the giant mole with an entirely different plot that ultimately took the story in a completely different direction.

Stuff that didn’t work quite as well for me:

The moderately horrifying prologue probably made me delay reading this one for an extra couple of years. I’m not totally sure that prologue is doing the book any favors.

Periodically, including in the prologue, Miéville takes a moment to address the reader directly. Mostly I found the coy tone of these intermission-style chapters a bit unappealing, and I’m not sure addressing the reader felt natural or necessary. If you’ve read this book, what did you think?

The Loyal Animal Companion so typical in YA appears here in the form of a little bat. That trope is a tough sell for me and I have to admit I didn’t find it just super-plausible here, though I grant, taking out the bat would have produced some awkwardness with various plot points.

Aside from Captain Naphi, and to a (limited) extent the Shroake siblings, none of the supporting characters seemed very well developed. In particular, I’m not quite sure I bought everybody’s fondness for Sham. This may have been because I was anything but fond of him myself for the first quarter of the book.

And no, actually, I never, ever got comfortable with replacing all the “ands” with &s. Four hundred pages did not suffice to make that look okay to my eye.

However, all that aside, the wacky peculiarity of the worldbuilding, the way Sham developed as a character, the cleverness of the plot, and the delightful, satisfying resolution were more than enough to make this book a keeper, and to bump every other book of Miéville’s up a bit higher on the TBR pile.

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Best SFF Mothers

Here’s a post for Mother’s Day, at tor.com, focusing on great moms in SFF (who aren’t dead or evil).

Which is quite the caveat, because there certainly are a lot of dead parents in SFF. It cuts down on the number of important secondary characters one has to deal with, so I have killed my share of parents as well. And evil parents aren’t that rare either.

I absolutely love Helen Parr from The Incredibles as a great mother on this tor.com post. I never think of movies first and often not last either, but oh yeah, what a great mother.

But . . . Sarah Conner? ??? Seriously? Talk about practically the very worst mother ever. I believe this post is more looking at “great characters who happen to be mothers.” I’m more interested in “great mothers who are also important characters.” That definitely lets out Sarah Conner.

Even when phrased like that, I certainly think of some great mothers in SFF who inexplicably did not make this post. Not sure I can think of ten, but sure, I’ll try:

1. Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan. No such post can be complete without her.

2. Malachite, Moon’s mother in Martha Wells’ Raksura series. Definitely. I’m sure Jade will be a fine mother, but Malachite, wow.

3. Mrs Frisby in Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NYMH For a quieter but just as brave mother.

4. Martha McNamara in Tea with the Black Dragon There’s one I ought to re-read some time.

5. Jenny in Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. It’s true that she feels torn between committing to being a mother versus committing to study magic, but she comes down on the side of human attachment in the end.

6. Seraph in Patricia Briggs’ Raven duology

7. … Okay, feel free to chip in. Who are some other really good mothers in SFF?

Touch my puppy and die

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When the roses bloom, one is compelled to take lots of pictures

Of course for me there’s no point in taking pictures of just the roses! I have to go get one dog after another, brush their ears, set them up, and then take lots of pictures. I had time for six dogs before it started raining, so hey, Friday is a good day for a post that’s all photos, right?

If you click on a picture, it’ll blow up, by the way.

I will add that this rose is a climbing polyantha, ‘Cameo,’ which was not sold to me as a climber. As you see, it totally is. The small creamy-pink flowers are nicely scented. If you, like me, have lost roses to rose rosette disease, I can tell you that ‘Cameo’ seems immune. So does another polyantha, ‘Marie Pavie,’ which is a small rounded bush that does suffer some tip dieback every year. But Marie is basically thornless, so trimming off the dead tips is not a huge chore. That is another rose that is beautifully scented as well.

Anyway, onward! Which dog is the most beautiful? is an impossible question to answer, but I can tell you which is the most photogenic. That is Ish, who will lie or sit in any pose you put him in and tilt his head charmingly if you make noises like a duck at him. That’s him at the top of this post and here he is again:

He practically can’t take a bad picture. I got lots of beautiful shots, many of which would make excellent calendar pictures if I get around to making my own calendar for next year.

It was impossible to get Dora to look in any direction but straight at me. But she too will take most positions and hold them, and if you bark like a dog at her, she will pretty well stop panting and hold still.

Kenya really, really prefers to stand. She was pretty easy to show when she was four years old and finally finished her championship, because by that point she would Stand Like A Rock and Wag Her Tail. (She got lots and lots of treats for standing still.) On the other hand, if you want her to sit, well, not so much. She really takes the best pictures on the ground, free stacked.

Kenya’s daughter Honey looks like she is in on a hilarious joke here, doesn’t she? I think it’s hard to get a really good picture of her, but this one is cute.

Conner barely got to try; it started raining juuuust about the time I brought him out to the gazebo.

And finally, here is little Kimmie, who got the most “likes” by far when I posted some of these pictures on Facebook last night. She was quite difficult — both Conner and Kimmie do not quite have the concept of “stay” down just yet, so lots of blurry pictures and pictures of puppies jumping off chairs and so on. Plus I do not really trust them off leash. Of course I had excellent liver brownies with me so I could call them back when they started to go off to investigate some other part of the landscape.

Sorry, no pictures of Pippa! Now that she is deaf, it is practically impossible to get her to look in a particular direction or stop panting. I got some wonderful pictures of her with a different rose on this same gazebo when she was much younger. That was ‘Renee,’ a beautiful pink climber, but unfortunately that one was not immune to rose rosette.

Also no pictures of Chloe or Jos! The rain stopped me from getting them in this set of pictures. Hopefully the rain didn’t ruin the roses, so maybe this weekend.

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Have you ever lied about having read a classic book?

Here’s an interesting post at Kill Zone Blog: Faking it.

Here’s how it starts:

I’m sure we’ve all done it – pretended to have read a classic book…agreed when someone gave an intellectual critique of an author we were too proud to admit we’d never heard of before (or never read)…even perhaps ‘faked it’ when asked about a book that we knew we ought to have read in our genre but never quite got around to doing…

And I immediately paused, because seriously? I mean . . . seriously?

I suppose I might turn the conversation from something I haven’t read, like Joyce’s Ulysses to something I have, say, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Or maybe not. It’s not like I’m even vaguely embarrassed about not having read Ulysses; it pretty much sounds like something to suffer through, not something to read for pleasure.

Or I might say regretfully, “No, unfortunately I never happened to read Crime and Punishment.” But I certainly wouldn’t feel ashamed of that.

As for missing “books in our genre that we ought to have read,” well, the genre is so huge, there’s no way to read everything . . . it’s true that you’ll miss some of the authors-in-conversation aspects of work in the genre, but still. Life is short.

Actually, it sometimes seems like I’m constantly coming across authors who may be very famous and well known, but somehow I never heard of them. I never saw a Tamora Pierce book until I was an adult — I would have been all over them as a kid, but somehow it never happened. I discovered Martha Wells only, what, three or four years ago. I read my first book by Michelle Sagara West only a couple years ago even though she has about a zillion titles. I guess I assumed this happens to everyone, so it never occurred to me to worry whether someone might realize I’d never read anything by Some Big Time Author.

So, yeah, I don’t know, I am a little bit baffled by the idea of faking it.

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We all love dinosaurs, right?

Here’s a new discovery from China: a giant oviraptorosaur. It’s Beibeilong sinensis, a birdlike dinosaur — all the oviraptorosaurs were kind of birdlike — and it probably weighed about 3 tons and could grow up to 26 feet long, it says here.

Generally the known oviraptorosaurs were much smaller. They mostly did look a good deal like cassowaries and other modern ratites, though often with long tails that were very unbirdlike. Oh, and they had feathers on their short fore-arms, so they looked a good deal like they had wings, but they were definitely flightless.

This picture, from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, is pretty typical:

If you’re interested enough to want a basic orientation to oviraptorosaurs, I think I remember this well enough, so here goes:

There were two major branches of dinosaurs, Saurischia and Ornithischia. The former included Tyrannosaurs and everything bird-like; the latter Brontosaurus and Triceratops and all those kinds of dinosaurs.

Among the Saurischia branch, the lineages most related to modern birds start with Therizinosaurs, which were these heavy-bodied ground-sloth types, with big powerful forelimbs and really (really) impressive claws. Oviraptorosaurs are generally considered a sister group.

Then Dromaeosaurs, including some very birdlike dinosaurs and also Velociraptors — which were a lot more birdlike than Jurassic Park indicated — branched off from those groups, and so did the also very birdlike Troodons, and true birds originated somewhere in there.

Here’s one of my favorite Dromaeosaurs, Microraptor:

So, anyway. I like this newly discovered giant Oviraptorosaur. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that there turns out to be a huge size range in this family. Why not? After all, we get little tiny rusty-spotted cats (less than four pounds) and giant tigers which can get up pretty near 700 pounds. There were probably more species of Oviraptorosaurs in the history of the world than there are cat species today. We already knew about a range from turkey-sized to up over a ton, so why not a really big one?

There are definitely times I wish I had … not really a time machine, but a camera that could look through time. How I would love to be able to look back and see the beautiful, diverse dinosaur faunas as they used to be!

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