This was an anthology of SF stories all having to do with dinosaurs. It's not the Gardner Dozois/Jack Dann-edited "Dinosaurs II" or the Martin Greenberg-edited "Dinosaurs".

It started with a one-page poem about a knight who wishes to fight a dragon and ends up in the Mesozoic only to be eaten by a dinosaur... I think this was by L. Sprague de Camp. (It's also not "Rivers of Time" which starts with a different poem by de Camp -- this was a multi-author anthology.)

I read this book around 2010 in the A&M university library, but it was old at the time -- I think older than the dinosaur fiction boom after the movie of Jurassic Park.

2 Answers 2


You added in a comment that you think the story "Hermes to the Ages" by Frederick D. Gottfried was in the anthology you're looking for. As far as the ISFDb knows, that story has appeared in only one anthology of dinosaur stories: The Science Fictional Dinosaur, edited by Robert Silverberg, Charles G. Waugh, and Martin H. Greenberg:

Cover of "The Science Fictional Dinosaur" showing two people hiding from a tyrannosaur while a volcano erupts in the background

The poem you described was identified in my previous answer as "Reward of Virtue" by L. Sprague de Camp, published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1970, available at the Internet Archive. Unfortunately, The Science Fictional Dinosaur does not contain that poem or any other. (So says the ISFDb, and I checked my own copy.) Here is a possible explanation: You said you read the book in a college library. Librarians are notorious for pasting things in books. Maybe a rogue librarian pasted a copy of de Camp's poem "Reward of Virtue" onto a blank page in the front of a copy of The Science Fictional Dinosaur?

You can check the contents of The Science Fictional Dinosaur at the ISFDb and see if the titles look familiar. Some of the stories are available online:

  • Hmm. This is definitely one of the anthologies I read at the time, so I'll accept this one. I sure thought I remembered the poem at the very front, though... Jan 11, 2018 at 4:40

The one-page poem is "Reward of Virtue" by L. Sprague de Camp. It was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1970, available at the Internet Archive.

He prayed all the night and he prayed all the day
That God would provide him a dragon to slay;
[. . . .]
And in the Cretaceous, Sir Gilbert de Vere
Discovered a fifty-foot carnosaur near.
[. . . .]
The dinosaur swallowed that valorous thane
And gallant Sir Gilbert was slain.

As far as the ISFDB knows, this poem has not appeared in any multi-author anthologies, although it is in several de Camp collections. Some of these are just collections of poems, so they are probably not what you're looking for. The most likely candidate I can find is The Best of L. Sprague de Camp. However, that is not an all-dinosaur collection, although it includes several dinosaur stories; and the poem is not at the beginning of the book, it's on p. 112 of my copy. To help you decide if this is the book you're looking for, you can read reviews by Algis Budrys and Robert Coulson.

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  • Hmm. That is definitely the right poem, but I'm as sure as I can be about something I read 7-8 years ago that it's not that book - I've never read any of the stories listed there except "Gun for Dinosaur". Jan 2, 2018 at 8:43
  • Are you sure that it was a multi-author anthology? All fiction, except for that one poem? All about dinosaurs? Was "A Gun for Dinosaur" in it? Can you recall any other story (author, title, or plot) that was in the book? Was it hardcover or paperback? Was it illustrated?
    – user14111
    Jan 2, 2018 at 8:50
  • Paperback; not illustrated; multi-author (no, not "Years in the Making" either). I read 2 or 3 anthologies like this around the same time so I'm not 100% sure, but I think "Hermes to the Ages" was in it too. Jan 3, 2018 at 6:58
  • Hmmm. I wonder if the poem might not be included in the ISFDB contents list, because I seem to remember it being on the very first page, before any introduction or whatever, no page number etc. Jan 3, 2018 at 6:59

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