Monday, October 04, 2004

Survival (Species Imperative 1) by Julie Czerneda


The way this novel ends is so sharp you could seriously cut yourself on it. Although you know going in that a book with sub-title of "Species Imperative #1" is not going to contain the whole story, the sharpness of the conclusion to #1 was almost painful. Not in a bad way, but in that the author has been so skillful in leading the reader up to that zenith, the brevity of the final few pages leaves you gasping to know more. And checking to see if the next installment is scheduled for release yet.
In many ways what Czerneda has created is a very interesting mystery story. A biological mystery story. With the advantage that as science fiction the author she can create her own Universe and aliens to enhance the mystery. I do not want to give much more about the story away since it is important to learn "the facts" as does the central character Dr. Mackenzie (Mac) Conner.
What I can say is that Mac is a strong, well drawn character surrounded by other interesting people - both human and non-human. The Universe in which this story is set is so defined as to be open to limitless possibilities. The small portion of it which Czerneda has defined in more detail and set the novel in is inhabited by two alien species (the Dhyrn and the Ro) and Earth. Both the Dhryn culture and biology are well thought out. About the Ro, who are very interesting, it would be most accurate to say that although at the conclusion we "know" the Ro much better, they are still a mystery. When you have reached the end, the title "SURVIVAL - Species Imperative #1" makes perfect sense. And the fact the blurb on the author states she is a former biologist in no surprise. Czerneda has made use of her background in biology to write a most entertaining biological sci fi novel that left me wishing the next book was all ready available.


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