What is Dinotopia?

Dinotopia is the name of a (sadly, fictional) island, which is not shaped like Australia at all, where dinosaurs and people live in mostly harmony.

This magical land is very old, and has quite a few secrets. It also has the Code of Dinotopia, which is interesting, but slightly odd.

How does one get to Dinotopia?

Getting to Dinotopia is very much a matter of chance/luck. It is surrounded by large, complex reefs and sand bars, which make it nearly impossible to get out of or into the island.

The way by which most people on Dinotopia got to Dinotopia is via dolphin. The sequence of events goes thusly: They were on sailing ships which crashed on the reefs, and, rescued by dolphins, managed to make their way to the island's shore. These people, referred to as dolphin-backs, are then absorbed into the Dinotopian culture.


Dinotopia is described to us in two large, beautifully illustrated books by James Gurney, as well as a number of small, paperback children's novels.

These books are: Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time and Dinotopia: The World Beneath. Both are very good, and well worth reading, if only for the illustrations, which are astounding.

Dinotopia by James Gurney

The Story The Story of Dinotopia starts out with Will and Arthur Denison sailing their ship Venturer in uncharted waters. Their ship is wrecked in a typhoon and they are carried ashore an island by dolphins. On the island they soon discover, that not only are there people and dinosaurs living on the island, but that they coexist and communicate peacefully. They are welcomed and are taught all about Dinotopia, but they soon leave to learn more.

They arrive at Waterfall city (all the illustrations in the book are great but Waterfall City is simply magnificent). Waterfall City is the center of learning and arts. There, they have a special clock called a "helicoid geochronograph" which combines both the Judeo-Christian view of linear time with the Indo-European view of cyclical time. They also make their plans there, for their trips to Tree Town and the World Beneath. Remember, that all this time, the people have to accomodate for the largest dinosaur in everything that they do.

Tree Town is actually a summer camp for young people who want to learn how to feed, ride, and communicate with dinosaurs. The dinosaurs there (all herbivores) all sleep in barns on the ground, while the people there all sleep in large baskets hung from trees (so they are protected from wandering carnivores). Norah, an older woman, takes care of Tree Town and all the boys there, cooking them meals and trying to keep them out of trouble. Will fits in fine with the rest of the boys, even taking part in the Dinosaur Olympics afterwards, riding on top of a dinosaur and catching rings on a pole.

Since he won that race in the Dinosaur olympics, Will was able to continue his training in Canyon City and become a skybax pilot. His teacher warns everyone not to fly past certain stone sentinels for that is the gate to the World Beneath. While will learns how to fly these giant, winged reptiles, Arthur only wants to ponder those strange sentinels which insist that Dinotopia has a long and rich history. The key to that history is in the World Beneath.

The Next Part is continued in the next book


The Alphabet in Dinotopia
Roman:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Chandaran Transitional(A Mix between Roman and Dinotopia Footprint):
         _           \___       /
    _   |_   /|\   _| \|_  |    /|\  |__|
   /_\  |_\ |     /_|  |_ \|/    |   |  |
\|/   \ |_/  \_/  \_|  |_  |    \|/ \/  |

\|/  ___/   /\   <---                ____>
 |    | \   | /  |       /\/\/\     |\   |
\|    |     |/   |      / /\/\ \    | \  |
-|    _\   \|\   |     /        \   |  \ |
/     _/   /| \  ---> /          \  |   \|

   ______     <----|---- |       | |      |->
    |   <---|     |       | |      |
   /        |     |  | |  | |  |   |
  /         |     |  | |  | |  |   |
 /          |      \_|_|_/   \_|__/
|--         |
 \__/

          |    |      |-> \ | /  \  | / ---->->
|    |      |    \|/    \ |/       /
|    |  |   |     \      \/       /
|    |  |   |    / \      |      / 
 \__/ \_|__/    /   \    /      /
                        /      /_____



Dinotopia Footprint:

\|/ _\_  |  _/_  \|/  _\_  |  _ /_  \|/   
 |   /  /|\  \   \|/   /  /|\   \  _\|_  
                  |   \|/ \|/  \|/  /
                       |   |    |

_\_   |   _/_  \|/  _\_   |   _/_  \|/    _\_
 /   /|\   \    |    /   /|\   \   _|/_   _//_
_\_  _\_  _\_  /|\  /|\  /|\  /|\    \      \
 /    /    /

 |   _/_   
/|\   \   \|/\|/   \|/_\_  \|/ |  \|/_/_  _\_\|/
_/_  _/_   |  |     |  /    | /|\  |  \    /  |
 \    \

_\_ _\_
 /   /


(Remember: These are all made in Dinosaur Footprints.)

Dinotopia Books
There are currently three Dinotopia books by James Gurney:
Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

Dinotopia: The World Beneath
and
Dinotopia: First Flight

Other people have written books about Dinotopia such as:

And the Dinotopia Digest Novels (Chapter books for Young Readers)

The word "Dinotopia" could mean one of two things. The first reaction you'd probably have is to think that it's a combination of the words "utopia" and "dinosaur". This implies that Dinotopia is a very nice place to live, with dinosaurs in it. Lee Crabb suggested in the book Dinotopia that it in fact was the combination of the Greek words for "terrible" and "place", in the same way that "dinosaur" is a combination of the Greek words for "terrible" (deinos) and "lizard" (sauros) , and the way that "utopia" is a combination of the Greek words for "no" (ou) and "place" (topos).

So, is Dinotopia an Utopia of dinosaurs or a terrible place? You decide. It's just another reason to read the wonderful books.

(Note: It's an Utopia of dinosaurs. Lee Crabb was the only human in the first two books who was unhappy.)

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