What I gleaned about the story: Soldier Andrea is tired of babysitting scientists on excursions to the past. She wants real adventure. So when she gets stranded among the Tyrannosaurs and falls into the clutches of a Conan-like marauder king, things start looking up.
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Analysis: We’re in some kind of helicopter that has just been time-ported into the sky above a pristine world. As the copter plummets, one of the soldiers on board makes a crack, and his commanding officer considers her response:
If he was a platoon-mate, Andrea knew exactly the words she could use to slap a muzzle on the wanna-be comedian. But Chris Larsen, Ph.D. Paleopalynology wasn’t a soldier.
This is the wrong verb tense for the situation. “If he was a platoon-mate” suggests that Andrea does not know whether he’s part of her squad or not. How can the team leader not know that? But in the next sentence, it becomes clear that she does. Ah. I get it. She was speaking hypothetically, not out of ignorance. But for that, she should have used the unreal conditional mode: If he had been a platoon-mate, Andrea would have known… Unfortunately, the current rendering led me down the wrong path, and a WTF was the price for getting back on track.
Details: Modern soldier woman meets Conan-like barbarian among the T-rexes. Bizarre, but quite an intriguing mashup.
Analysis: The Conan-like guy is Trals Scarback, famed barbarian marauder and leader of the Eethlek. Or is it Ethlek. It keeps jumping back and forth,between the two spellings, but I can’t discern a logic to why. At this point, until I have more evidence, I have to conclude that it’s the same word, and just not spell-checked properly.
Analysis: Granted, most readers are not going to notice this one, but as an amateur geology fan, this one clunked against my forehead when I read it. They’ve gone back to the Cretaceous. In particular, to the Maastrichtian era. But it appears in the text as Maashtrichian. Had it been in the narration of the soldier character, I might have let it pass as her mis-hearing of the term. But it’s one of the paleontologists who says it. And for me, that completely undermined his credibility in his profession.
Note: Despite a few hiccups, this one actually seems to be diving into a fun story, calling to mind all the golden age tale weavers like Burroughs, Haggard, Howard and the like. I may have to explore this one a bit further to see if the story can rise above the editing.