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Dinotopia is a series of illustrated fantasy books, created by author and illustrator James Gurney. It is set in the titular "Dinotopia", an isolated island inhabited by shipwrecked humans and sapient dinosaurs who have learned to coexist peacefully as a single symbiotic society. The first book was published in 1992 and has "appeared in 18 languages in more than 30 countries and sold two million copies." Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time and Dinotopia: The World Beneath both won Hugo awards for best original artwork.
Since its original publication, over twenty Dinotopia books have been published by various authors to expand the series. A live-action television miniseries, a short-lived live-action TV series, a 2005 animated film, and several video games have also been released.
Gurney's assignments for National Geographic required him to work with archaeologists to envision and paint ancient cities that no one alive today has ever seen. This inspired him to imagine his own, so he painted "Waterfall City" and "Dinosaur parade". These were originally done as art prints for collectors. He later decided to create an imaginary island based on these paintings.
Rather than digital tools, Gurney used "plein-air studies, thumbnail sketches, models photographed in costume and original cardboard or clay maquettes" to create 150 oil paintings for his 2007 Dinotopia book. He called the series "Dinotopia": a portmanteau of "dinosaur" and "utopia".
Many have claimed that some scenes in the film Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (particularly those in the city of Theed on Naboo) unfairly copy images from Gurney's books. Gurney acknowledges the resemblance but has remained positive about it. In 1994, director George Lucas had met with producers to discuss some of the concepts and visuals behind a Dinotopia movie that was never made.
Upon the hidden island of Dinotopia, humans and dinosaurs live and work together in harmony with one another and with the Earth itself. It is a place of beauty and wonder lost to the rest of the world. The island is surrounded by a storm system and dangerous reefs that prevent safe travel to or from the island. Aside from a highly diverse ecosystem ranging from deserts to mountains to swamps, Dinotopia also has an extensive system of natural and man-made caves.
- Arthur Denison – An American scientist and the main protagonist of the books. Following the death of his wife Rachel in 1860 he and his son Will left their home Boston on a voyage of discovery. Then in 1862 they were both washed up on the island of Dinotopia after being shipwrecked. During their time on the island Arthur wrote a journal detailing his discoveries. At some point both of his journals would end up in America where they would be discovered by James Gurney. Arthur currently lives in Waterfall City where he has a studio overlooking the falls.
- Will Denison – The son of Arthur Denison and the second main protagonist of the books. He accompanied his father on a two-year voyage of discovery following the death of his mother in 1860, then in 1862 he and Arthur were shipwrecked on Dinotopia. During his time on the island he met and fell in love with local Dinotopian girl, Sylvia Romano and eventually trained to be a Skybax Rider and was partnered with a Skybax named Cirrus. In the Dinotopia novel, The Hand of Dinotopia it is revealed that he and Sylvia are engaged to be married.
- Bix – A Protoceratops multilingual who is an ambassador and the good friend and traveling partner of Arthur Denison, having accompanied him to the World Beneath and Chandara. She first met the Denisons when they were washed up on Dinotopia, she was accidentally injured by Arthur when he thought that she meant to harm Will. She later met them again in Volcaneum when she became their guide, ever since she has become their good friend on their travels. She speaks every language on Dinotopia and is one of the few who speak the language of the Carnosaurs of the Rainy Basin.
- Sylvia Romano – A beautiful Dinotopian girl who lives in the Hatchery with her parents Giorgio and Maria. She was the first human who Arthur and Will met after they were washed up on Dinotopia, she and Will quickly became good friends although they eventually separated when they left for Waterfall City. She and Will were later reunited at Treetown where she too was training to be a Skybax Rider, during this time she and Will fell in love. Eventually she became a Skybax Rider with Will and was partnered with a Skybax named Nimbus.
- Lee Crabb – The main antagonist of the books. He was washed up on Dinotopia in 1853, however Crabb despised the island and ever since had being plotting a means of escape. He is known for smoking cigars and wearing sea shells on his hat, he hated the dinosaurs as he believes that they have enslaved the humans of Dinotopia and called them Scalies. In the second book The World Beneath, his first villainous scheme to was escape Dinotopia in a sunstone powered strutter and return with an army to plunder the island. However, he was foiled by Arthur. In the fourth book Journey to Chandara, he stole an invitation that was given to Arthur by the Chandaran emperor Hugo Khan and passed himself off as Arthur. When Arthur arrived in Chandara he exposed Crabb and he was punished.
- Oriana Nascava – A musician who lives in Waterfall City who accompanied Arthur during his return trip to the World Beneath. She had half a key which Arthur was looking for and asked to join him, it was revealed her second name means born in a cave and went to find out why. At the end of the book she and Arthur are implied to have become romantically linked.
- Nallab – The assistant librarian of the library of Waterfall City. He is 127 years old.
- Brokenhorn – A well respected Triceratops elder who is the son of the famous Greyback the Wise. He lived for many years as a hermit in the Rainy Basin among the tyrannosaurs and carnosaurs until a new leader among them drove him out, he has since returned to Dinotopian society. In the second book he is revealed to have a newly hatched grandson named Stubbs.
- Oolu – Oolu is the chief Skybax instructor at Sky City, where he trains Skybax Riders. He is also the human Aerial Ambassador at the annual Habitat Partners Conference in the Rainy Basin. His Skybax is Lightwing.
- Gideon Altaire – The main protagonist of the third Dinotopian book, The First Flight. He lived on the island of Poseidos during the Age of Heroes. He used to attend the flight school until he left following an argument with the superintendent Roff Stricker. Here he met an injured Pterasaur named Razzamult who informed him of the invasion of the mainland, whilst on the island he befriended a Pterasaur named Avatar. After defeating the Air Scorpion he became the first ever Skybax Rider.
Dinotopia began as an illustrated children's book called Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time. It was a cross-over success, appealing to both children and adult readers, which led James Gurney to write and illustrate three more books called Dinotopia: The World Beneath, Dinotopia: First Flight and Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara. They all deal with the adventures of Arthur and Will Denison to one degree or another. These are considered the main books of the series and establish the fictional world in which the others are set. Gurney keeps abreast with recent paleontological discoveries and has written then-newly discovered dinosaurs into his books, for example, including Giganotosaurus in The World Beneath and Microraptor in Journey to Chandara
A children's flip-up version of the first book was also issued.
The Dinotopia Digest series consists of sixteen young adult novels penned by several different authors. These books feature other characters who are not specifically involved with the events of the main books, although characters from the main books (particularly the Denisons) have appeared in minor or cameo roles.
Two full-length adult fantasy novels were also issued with Gurney's authority, written by Alan Dean Foster: Dinotopia Lost and The Hand of Dinotopia.
Several video games, as well as a TV miniseries, a short-lived TV series, and an animated children's movie, were also produced. These are also set in the Dinotopia universe, but do not tie in directly with the main series. Most of them take place in the modern world, unlike the books, which are mostly set in the mid-19th century.
The plot of the main Dinotopia books concerns Arthur Denison and his son, Will, and the various people they meet in their travels in Dinotopia. In the fashion of authors such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first and fourth books are written as if they were Arthur's journals, with Gurney going so far as to explain in the introductions how he happened to come across the old, waterlogged volumes.
A Land Apart from Time
In Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time (1992), the Denisons are shipwrecked near Dinotopia and, after making it ashore, are found by the people of the Hatchery. The Hatchery is a place where dinosaurs are born, tended by both dinosaurs and humans. The Denisons then set out to explore the island, hoping to find a means of returning to their old lives.
Arthur and Will undergo a broad journey, circling the island, as they endeavor to learn the customs and culture of their new neighbors. Arthur in particular develops an interest in the scientific accomplishments of the natives, which far exceed that of any human culture. Among the subjects he studies are the flora of the island, the partnership of its inhabitants, and the existence of a place known as the World Beneath. This World Beneath is an explanation for Dinotopians surviving the saurian extinction; according to the story, most of the Earth's dinosaurs were destroyed, whilst a few hid in vast caverns. These few became the original Dinotopians. No one has entered the World Beneath for centuries, but Arthur intends to do so.
His son Will, on the other hand, has chosen to train as a messenger of the sky; a Skybax rider, who lives in symbiosis with his mount, the great Quetzalcoatlus (nicknamed Skybax), a species of pterosaur. Training alongside Will is a girl called Sylvia, with whom Will falls in love. The natives refer to this and any other profound bond as Cumspiritik, which literally means "together-breathing." (Romana Denison of the later Dinotopia film series is said to be Will's daughter.)
Arthur, for his part, travels into the World Beneath, at the same time that Will and Sylvia are learning to fly with the Skybax. When he returns, he is fascinated by the ancient relics found there and is convinced that they may be key in enabling him to leave or explore the island.
Meanwhile, Will and Sylvia learn and master Skybax flight. When at last they have been accepted as Riders, they travel to meet Arthur and his Protoceratops guide Bix, but are distracted on the way by a thunderstorm. Luckily, they survive and arrive on time to meet their kin. Will is at the time too young to marry Sylvia, but it is promised that they will. Arthur recognizes that his son has grown up, and they each accept the changes that are results of their new lives on the island.
The World Beneath
The first sequel, Dinotopia: The World Beneath (1995) focuses mainly on Arthur Denison's return expedition to the World Beneath and opens with Will fly testing an invention of his father, the Dragoncopter – a steam engine ornithopter modeled on the dragonfly. The Dragoncopter fails and Will is narrowly saved by Cirrus, his Skybax mount, before the Dragoncopter plummets into a waterfall.
After returning from his first expedition in A Land Apart From Time, Arthur presents two items he discovered – a sunstone and half of a key – to the council at Waterfall City in an attempt to get a second expedition into the World Beneath.
A musician named Oriana Nascava comes forward with the missing half of Arthur's key, claiming it to be a family heirloom. She is only willing to give it up if she is allowed to accompany Arthur in his expedition, a term that he reluctantly accepts. Together with Bix as a guide and the scandalous Lee Crabb, the group travels to the shady Pliosaur Canal where they board a submersible in order to take an underwater route to the World Beneath.
Meanwhile, Will and Sylvia have been assigned to accompany a sauropod caravan through the Rainy Basin and keep a watch for predatory Tyrannosaurus. However, Cirrus flies Will to ancient ruins in the jungle of which the Tyrannosaurus are strangely protective.
Arthur, Oriana, Bix, and Lee continue to explore the caverns underneath Dinotopia where they come across instantly germinating fern spores, uncut sunstones that appear to store ancestral memory, and mechanical limbs that twitch when the sunstone is brought near. Eventually, they reach an enormous man-made chamber filled with abandoned walking vehicles modelled after prehistoric animals, left behind by the ancient civilization of Poseidos, which they nickname "Strutters". Arthur, Oriana, and Bix commandeer a ceratopsian strutter while Crabb takes a strutter modeled after a sea scorpion and they both climb out of the World Beneath, ending up in the Rainy Basin. They join the sauropod convoy, but are attacked by a pack of Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus, during which Crabb escapes in his strutter and the head of the ceratopsian strutter is ripped off. But the controls remain undamaged. However, afterward, it still works properly (and can be driven and controlled) without a head. But it behaves strangely.
After escaping the carnivores, Arthur realizes that the Tyrannosaurus at the ruins may have been guarding the mythical ruby sunstone, and takes his strutter back into the Rainy Basin with Oriana and Bix to discover it. Along the way, they come across a trapped juvenile Giganotosaurus and free it. The grateful father, named Stinktooth, protects Arthur and his companions from the tyrannosaurs and allows them passage into the ruins.
However, they are too late, as Crabb has arrived first and taken the ruby sunstone. Vowing to escape Dinotopia and bring back an army of strutters to plunder the island, he destroys Arthur's strutter with his sea scorpion and escapes. Riding on top of Stinktooth, Arthur chases Lee into the sea and pulls the sunstone out of the power socket in the strutter before Lee can escape. During this chase, Arthur's journal is lost to the ocean where it will be discovered by Philippine sailors and eventually make its way to the library where James Gurney discovers it.
At the end, the ruby sunstone is lost, a new romance is suggested between Arthur and Oriana, and Crabb is placed under guard by a pair of Stygimoloch.
Dinotopia: First Flight (1999) was a prequel published by Gurney and included a board game.
The main protagonist of the story is Gideon Altaire, a flight school student living in the capital city of Poseidos off the Dinotopian mainland, in which all organic life (save for humans) has been replaced by mechanical counterparts. After discovering an injured Scaphognathus named Razzamult, Gideon discovers that the city is planning to launch an attack on the mainland and conquer all of Dinotopia and that they have stolen the ruby sunstone from the pterosaur home of Highnest.
Gideon sneaks into a factory and discovers an enormous air scorpion attack strutter under construction. He locates and steals the ruby sunstone and frees a group of captive pterosaurs before escaping to the mainland in a police skimmer. He arrives only to find the island already under attack. He discovers and enlists the help of a band of indigenous creatures- Binny, a Necrolemur, Bandy, a Plesictis, Bongo, a Plesiadapis, and Budge, an Estemmenosuchus. During their trek towards Highnest, they are ambushed by a spider-like attack strutter which proceeds to steal the ruby sunstone.
Gideon and his band reach Highnest, where they help the pterosaurs evacuate the eggs, then take to the air atop their pterosaurs to engage the air scorpion. During the battle, Gideon manages to pull the ruby sunstone out of the flying machine's power socket, causing it to crash and stopping the invasion of Dinotopia.
Gideon is presented as the first ever Skybax rider, although the species he rode wasn't a Quetzalcoatlus northropi.
Journey to Chandara
A fourth Dinotopia book by James Gurney, Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, was published in October 2007. In it, Hugo Khan, the mysterious and reclusive emperor of Chandara, an empire long since isolated from the rest of Dinotopia, has heard of Arthur Denison and Bix's exploits and sends them a personal invitation to his court. Along the way, the duo encounter several new locals, including a town called Bilgewater made completely out of salvaged ships that the inhabitants believe will carry them into another world, an old musician named Cornelius Mazurka and his companion Therizinosaurus Henriette in the ruins of an old city, and Jorotongo, a consistently festive and completely nomadic village composed of pilgrims from the Sunflower, sister ship to the Mayflower.
Eventually, they meet Lee Crabb en route at Sauropolis, who escapes from his Stygimoloch guards and steals the invitation. Without proper passes for the border guards, Arthur and Bix are forced to sneak through the swamp of Blackwood Flats while evading packs of carnivorous Allosaurus. After passing through the mountain city of Thermala, the duo encounter Neighbor Dooh, a bandit who steals all the possessions of passing travelers and compensates them with the possessions of the previous victim. Although Arthur loses all of his scientific equipment, he is given a set of desert robes which allow him and Bix to blend into a Chandaran caravan and pass the border without harassment from the guards.
They stop by the ruins of Ebulon, where Arthur finds Will and Sylvia preparing for an air-jousting tournament. Soon after that, they make their way to the capital city of Chandara. By the time they arrive, they find themselves with few possessions left to barter save for ideas, so Arthur sets up shop in the Marketplace of Ideas. During the night, the writings at Arthur's stand catches the attention of the emperor and he and Bix are invited into the court.
Once at the court, they discover that Lee Crabb has also entered the court under the guise of Arthur Denison and is attempting to gather up a stockpile of weapons, arguing that he is preparing for a Tyrannosaurus invasion. Hugo Khan finally reveals himself to be a small Microraptor, and the real Denison promptly exposes Crabb. Khan punishes Crabb by assigning him to be a chef for a band of Acrocanthosaurus Shaolin-monks, who ate their last chef after he failed to satisfy them.
To commemorate Arthur and Bix's presence on the court, Hugo Khan flies out during the night to find a child in sorrow. The next day, Arthur, Bix, and a handful of the Emperor's selected entertainers arrive at the house of and greet Rita Rose and Jeffer, an orphaned Europasaurus hatchling who has lost the ability to walk. At the end of the day, Hugo Khan expresses his wish for Chandara to be reopened culturally to the rest of Dinotopia. Arthur and Bix accept the Emperor's offers to stay in Chandara for a while to fully discover the city and its culture.
Other books in the series
From 1995, James Gurney worked with a number of other authors on a series of short novels for children using the Dinotopia characters and themes, published by Random House:
- Windchaser by Scott Ciencin – During a mutiny on a prison ship called The Redemption that is sailing to Australia in 1863, two human boys from England named Raymond Wilks and Hugh O'Donovan are tossed overboard. Now they are stranded on Dinotopia, and are greeted by Bix. 12-year-old Raymond is the son of the ship's surgeon Stephen Wilks. He immediately takes to this strange new world and befriends a wounded and reclusive male Skybax Quetzalcoatlus named Windchaser, whose human partner Daniel recently died in a fire. But Hugh, a London pickpocket in his mid teens, believes he'll never fit into this paradise. While Raymond helps Windchaser improve his shaky flying, Hugh forms a sinister plan. Soon all three are headed into a dangerous adventure that will test both their courage and their friendship. This book is set during the events of A Land Apart from Time.
- River Quest by John Vornholt – Set approximately before the events of A Land Apart from Time, the Polongo River, the source of energy for Waterfall City, has mysteriously dried up. Joined by a pair of Dimorphodon messengers, 13-year-old Magnolia the human (who grew up in Sauropolis) and her Lambeosaurus Habitat Partner of Freshwater, Paddlefoot, must restore the great river – or Waterfall City is doomed! This is Magnolia and Paddlefoot's first major assignment as Habitat Partners of Freshwater since their mentors, the now former Habitat Partners of Freshwater Edwick the human man and Calico the female Saltasaurus, recently retired. Along the way they meet the 15-year-old human boy named Birch, a farmer's son, and his subadult Triceratops buddy, Rogo, who insist on joining their quest. They also team up with a newly shipwrecked human man named Aaron Ruzzo. Together, the unlikely team must battle the elements as they try to save western Dinotopia's most beautiful city and its inhabitants.
- Hatchling by Midori Snyder – Humiliated after she falls asleep during her watch at Romano's Hatchery, 12-year-old Janet Elizabeth Morgan the human runs away with her friend Zephyr the Dryosaurus. But when she's ready to return to the hatchery and face her fears, she and Zephyr find a wounded Saurolophus (a very rare dinosaur in Dinotopia) named Kranog, a former teacher who once worked at the ruins of Baz, who is about to lay an egg. Now Janet, with Zephyr's help, must help Kranog save the egg – and prove herself worthy of being a hatchery apprentice. Does they have the courage and knowhow to face this awesome task?
- Lost City by Scott Ciencin – Andrew Lawton the 12-year-old human, the son of a Dinotopian innkeeper, makes a strange discovery one night when a mysterious hooded dinosaur named Arri leads him and two friends – fellow humans Ned from Louisiana and Lian from China (the former being Andrew's adopted brother) – to a remote, sealed-off city in northeastern Dinotopia called Halcyon. When they begin to explore the forbidden area, the trio are thrust into a dangerous adventure – one they can survive only if they can put aside their chronic rivalries and come to understand this lost race of Troodon, the Unrivaled, who have existed there in seclusion for centuries.
- Sabertooth Mountain by John Vornholt – For years, Armakian Smilodon have lived in an area of the Forbidden Mountains called Sabertooth Mountain, apart from humans and dinosaurs alike, going by their Oath of Peace. Now an avalanche of snow and rocks has blocked their way to their source of food, Claw Pass (where dying prey mammals and birds come to feed the Smilodon), and the sabertooths are divided on what to do. The only hope for a peaceful solution lies with Redstripe, an Armakian Smilodon leader, and Cai Rochelle, a 13-year-old human boy who is the younger brother to 30-year-old Moraine Rochelle, the human Habitat Partner of Alpine who works with Bigtusk the Dinotopian woolly mammoth. This unlikely pair embarks on a treacherous journey out of the mountains. But they are only a few steps ahead of a human-hating Armakian Smilodon, called Neckbiter, and his hungry followers – in a race that could change central Dinotopia forever...
- Thunder Falls by Scott Ciencin – Steelgaze, a wise old Kentrosaurus from Waterfall City, has grown frustrated with his two young charges, Joseph the 14-year-old human and Fleetfeet the adolescent Stegoceras. They turn everything into a contest! So Steelgaze sends them out together on a quest for a hidden prize at the Time Towers, that prize being a map that supposedly holds the secret to a way out of Dinotopia's reef barrier – it must not fall into the wrong hands. But someone has stolen the prize (Lee Crabb is a primary suspect), and the two must track the thief across the rugged terrain of southern Dinotopia. Unfortunately, their constant competition makes progress nearly impossible. It's not until they help a shipwrecked human girl named Teegan MacGregor, from Scotland, that they see the value of cooperating – and just in time, because now they must face the dangerous rapids of Waterfall City's Thunder Falls!
- Firestorm by Gene De Weese – All of western Dinotopia is in an uproar. Something is killing off Arctium longevus, the special herb that grants Dinotopian humans long life – sometimes over 200 years! As desperate human citizens set fires to keep the blight under control, 12-year-old Olivia and 15-year-old Albert the humans, along with their dinosaur partners Hightop the Plateosaurus and Thunderfoot the Chasmosaurus, race to find a solution. All four of them are training to be apprentices to the Habitat Partners of Forest: Braken the human and Fiddlehead the Chasmosaurus. But Olivia is secretly determined to claim all the glory for herself. In her hurried search for answers, what important questions is she forgetting to ask?
- The Maze by Peter David – Long ago, a Megaraptor named Odon left Dinotopia's society to live in caverns beneath the island continent's northwestern portion because he believed that humans and nonhumans teaming up was a bad idea. In order to keep out intruders, he created a dangerous maze. Despite their fears, Gwen Corey and Jason the teenage humans and a witty young adult Velociraptor named Booj (who is unusually large for his genus, up to 10 feet long) are determined to reach Odon, who has kept himself alive after all this time thanks to adding Arctium longevus to his wounds. Gwen's father, Eric Corey (a farmer who was originally a dolphinback from England that first ended up in Dinotopia in 1850), is suffering from a deadly disease, and Odon, once one of Dinotopia's wisest healers, is their last hope for a cure. Will the three friends make it through Odon's maze? And even if they do, how will they ever convince this mysterious hermit to help them.
- Rescue Party by Mark A. Garland – Loro the 13-year-old human (dolphinback who first came to Dinotopia as an orphaned baby) likes to watch the caravans of armored Brachiosaurus leave his hometown of Bonabba and cross the bridge into the dangerous jungles of the Rainy Basin. Someday, he promises himself, he will go with them. Then a deadly storm batters much of Dinotopia, and the brachiosaurs go to help the towns that have been hit the hardest. So when a hot air balloon from the outside world crashes in the Rainy Basin's jungle, Loro and his friends (Ria his stepsister and Trentor the young Styracosaurus) know they are the only ones who can help the unfortunate human in the balloon, who turns out to be a former slave boy from India named Amal. Loro's dream will finally come true – but can he survive the perils of the Rainy Basin?
- Sky Dance by Scott Ciencin – Since he was small, Marc Clayton the 13-year-old human has wanted to be a tightrope walker – even though he has no sense of balance and a fear of heights. His buddy Gentle, a young adult Parasaurolophus, dreams of being a musician – even though his notes are wildly out of tune. Through sheer determination, the two join a troupe of traveling entertainers called Maxim's Cavalcade of Wonders. They learn quickly, but their newfound skills are put to the test when tragedy strikes. A Sky Galley is sent wildly out of control during a terrible storm. Only an aerialist like Marc can save the passengers. But performing isn't easy when lives are on the line!
- Chomper by Don Glut – Exploring near the Rainy Basin, 13-year-old Perry Taylor the human and his young adult Montanoceratops friend Stoutpoint come across something unusual near their town of Greenglen – a young Giganotosaurus! After rescuing the lost and injured youngster, Perry names the carnivorous dinosaur Chomper and he and Stoutpoint take him back to Greenglen. Almost everyone in Greenglen loves Chomper, but the playful dinosaur is growing bigger every day. Soon the dinosaur's appetite outgrows the village stores. When Chomper frolics through the village streets and accidentally wreaks havoc, something must be done. Are Perry and Stoutpoint brave enough to guide Chomper back to the dangerous jungles of his homeland in the Rainy Basin?
- Return to Lost City by Scott Ciencin – Serving as a sequel to Lost City, young Andrew and Lian the humans pay a return visit to their old friends in Halcyon, a place that served for years as the secret home of a noble tribe of Troodon knights called the Unrivaled. When they arrive, they find that an elder male Unrivaled Troodon named Blundertail has gone off on a strange, Don Quixote-like quest to prove he's still a great champion and to recover the legendary Goblet of Gismore. Now it's up to Andrew, Lian, and their Unrivaled Troodon friend Arri to find this old knight and bring him back before he wreaks havoc in northern Dinotopia. But they may find out that his quest is not so crazy after all – and that the lives of an entire saurian race may hang in the balance.
- Survive! by Brad Strickland – After an earthquake sends him tumbling down a cliff on Outer Island, young Kurt the 12-year-old human awakens unhurt, but terrified. He is now amnesiac and can't remember anything – not even his own name! Hopelessly confused, Kurt stumbles away from the cliff, unknowingly wandering deeper into dangerous rainforest. Meanwhile, Kurt's father and his Deinonychus friend Tostri are urgently searching for him. But without his memory, how will Kurt know who they are?
- The Explorers by Scott Ciencin – Long ago, there lived five brave Unrivaled Troodon from Halcyon who loved adventure. Calling themselves the Explorers Club, they undertook many dangerous quests to help their fellow Dinotopians. When five young descendants of these knights hear the heroic tales of their ancestors, they become inspired to form a brand-new Explorers Club. Pointynog the Clever, Snicknik the Quick, Hardshell the Strong, Seeno the Stealthy, and Plodnob the Jovial say they are ready for any challenge! But the original Explorers Club was made up of experienced Troodon knights. Can these junior knights-in-training live up to their ancestors’ legend?
- Dolphin Watch by John Vornholt – Milos the human and his Cryptoclidus friend Lilith spend their days at the beach, hanging out with the oceanic dolphins and welcoming the shipwreck human survivors the dolphins save. Every "dolphinback" Milos has known has grown to love Dinotopia, except one: Joshua, a young man who cannot accept the fact that he'll never go home. Only swimming with the dolphins makes him happy. Until the day a rescue ship is spotted just beyond the reef...
- Oasis by Cathy Hapka – Jack and Ty the young humans are opposites. So when they travel together in a caravan across the Great Desert, there are bound to be disagreements. When a sandstorm separates the boys from the rest of their group, the disagreements just get worse. In a desperate attempt to catch up to the caravan, they stumble upon a legendary oasis where they find a lost colony of small Saltopus. Somehow Jack and Ty must put aside their differences long enough to befriend the shy Saltopus and help them find a way out of the mysterious Great Desert Oasis.
A 2002 four-hour TV miniseries produced by Hallmark Entertainment was also based on James Gurney's work, and was advertised as the first "mega-series" (3-night series). The show featured new characters such as Zippo (changed to Zippeau for the TV series to avoid legal issues with the lighter maker Zippo), a troodon who is said to have worked with Sylvia; the sunstones, a technology restricted to the lost city of Poseidos in the books, are commonplace in the miniseries. The failure both of the sunstones and of Dinotopian officials to adhere to the underlying meanings of their culture's philosophy caused several discontented people – a leader-in-training, Zippeau himself, and two twentieth-century Dolphinbacks, Karl and David – to embark on a quest that led ultimately to the World Beneath. The series is presented as a sequel of sorts to the books: Will Denison's daughter followed her father into the Skybax corps (an order acknowledged to be founded by Gideon Altaire), Oriana's granddaughter is the female protagonist, the character Zippo is said to have been the dinosaur partner of Sylvia (here the Nursery overseer and not a Skybax rider), and Lee Crabb's son Cyrus features as the antagonist.
A TV series of thirteen episodes was produced later in 2002 as a result of the success of the miniseries, but none of the cast of the miniseries reprised their roles. In the later TV series, a group of people known as Outsiders live outside the laws of Dinotopia and pose an additional danger aside from the featured antagonists, which include Pteranodon, Tyrannosaurus, and Postosuchus.
ABC originally planned to launch the series in September 2002, but decided to wait until Thanksgiving. ABC was somewhat disappointed by the initial 5.7 million viewers and the poor ratings, but continued to air the series for a little while longer, pointing out that it had been an "odd viewing night overall." The series was finally canceled in December. Only six of the thirteen episodes were aired on ABC, but all thirteen were broadcast the following year in Europe and were released onto a three-disc DVD box set.
Science-fiction veteran David Winning directed two episodes of the series, and location shooting lasted for three months near Budapest, Hungary. Georgina Rylance played Marion Waldo, and Lisa Zane portrayed her old friend LeSage, the leader of the Outsiders. Michael Brandon, Jonathan Hyde, and Erik von Detten also star in the series.
Artisan Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 for the first time on 20 January 2004. This release has been discontinued and is out of print. On 15 March 2016, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.
There is also a 2005 traditionally animated movie called Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone. This film deviated from the original books even more than the miniseries by featuring Ogthar, a mythical ruler of the World Beneath (mentioned in the miniseries), as a human warlord rather than a benevolent, if commanding, emperor.
A number of Dinotopia video games have been produced:
- Dinotopia (PC: 1995)
- Dinotopia Game Land Activity Center (PC/Mac: 2002)
- Dinotopia: The Timestone Pirates (Game Boy Advance: 2002)
- Dinotopia: The Sunstone Odyssey (GameCube/Xbox: 2003)
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