by john varley | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 044101335x Global Overview for this book
Registered by synergy of San Antonio, Texas USA on 12/3/2006
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by synergy from San Antonio, Texas USA on Sunday, December 03, 2006
2006 Book #43 - Mammoth by John Varley

I picked up this book on a whim after reading the back cover. It was another one of my attempts at picking up my reading of scifi books. It wasn't until I was nearly done reading the book that I realized that this is the same author who wrote a book I read earlier in the year when I randomly picked it out of a scifi BC bookbox. I happened to look at the page that lists books also written by the author and there was Titan which I really liked. I checked my reading list and sure enough it was the same author. So here's the blurb from the back cover:
Not content with investing his fortune and watching it grow, multibillionaire Howard Christian buys rare cars that he actually drives, acquires collectible toys that he actually plays with, and builds buildings that defy the imagination. But now his restless mind has turned to a new obsession: cloning of a mammoth...

In a barren province of Canada, a mammoth hunter financed by Christian has made the discovery of a lifetime: an intact frozen woolly mammoth. But what he finds during the painstaking process of excavating the huge creature baffles the mind. Huddled next to the mammoth is the mummified body of a Stone Age man around 12,000 years old. And he is wearing a wristwatch.

It looks like Howard Christian is going to get his wish - and more...

When I was reading the back cover I was thinking to myself da da da da da... point by point pseudo-scifi a la Jurassic Park until I get to that second to the last sentence. There was the clincher, what I was going to have to figure out how that happened.

There wasn't much of any specific science (or pseudoscience) details, so don't worry about that if you want to read this story. It was more of the story and the personalities involved than the science. Christian was a world-class jerk and I just wanted him to lose, for the two employees he has working for him, Susan and Howard, to thwart him. Just to make the most powerful billionaire pissed that he can't get everything he wants the way he wants it every time!

I was starting to get a little disappointed because the story was heading straight for the finale I'd decided on since the circumstances were setup at the beginning and then blam! the twist. Totally unexpected. I was making assumptions on how the man with the wristwatch ends up there and you know when you assume... :) Anyway, I was actually quite happy with the surprise ending. Maybe the last chapter might have been a little longer, but on the other hand anything more would've detracted from the poignancy.

I'll stop there because I'm being vague enough as it is and I don't want to give anything away! :) Overall a great story about time, mammoths, and life and love of life.

Oh and as an aside, I was amused by this in the dedication page:
This book is dedicated to John and Doris Varley.

My father, John E. Varley, died on January 13, 2005, at the age of 79, in Big Spring, Texas.

He was a very good man who led a good life and raised two good daughters, and me. He hated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the New York Yankees, and the Texas A&M Aggies, and he loved most other Texas teams. He lived to see the Red Sox humiliate the Yankees, and a lot of people didn't.

Well, at least he got three out of four right. ;D


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