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3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  1,076 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Not content with investing his fortune and watching it grow, multibillionaire Howard Christian buys rare cars that he actually drives, acuires 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 a mammoth...

In a barren province of Canada, a modern mammoth financed by
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Ace (first published 2005)
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Dec 03, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
[7/10] A good story, it reads more like a thriller than a SF genre book. It has some speculations on time travel and the nature of reality, but they feel a little shoehorned into the story.
I liked the main characters: the slightly addled mathematician, the spirited elephant handler, the nerdy billionaire. I picked this up mainly to read about mammoths and the book did the job in an entertaining way. The storytelling is functional, without many wow elements or impressive metaphors, but also well
Jan 04, 2008 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
I hadn't realized how much I have missed reading Varley until getting into this.

The title, and the premise as described on the jacket, didn't do anything for me, but as I have always enjoyed a John Varley book I decided to read this as well, and am glad I did!

Varley has a way of engaging the reader, bringing us into his story, rather than keeping us as observers.

This is not Varley's best ... there are a number of "problems" I had with it, and it was moderately easy to predict the outcome, but a
Jan 12, 2015 Wanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this time-travelling adventure, still musing about the star-rating it deserves. Was it really a four-star read, or was it just so much more fun than my current book club selection, which is boring me mightily? I think I’ll leave it at the 4 stars.

A billionaire who is obsessed with prehistoric animals is having a frozen mammoth excavated from the barren wilderness of Nunavut with plans of cloning it. As the excavation advances, it becomes obvious that there is also a person frozen into
Jo Lisa
This book started out with GREAT potential! I was hooked early on, but the story lost a bit toward the end. I would have given it 3.5 if possible, just because the beginning was so good.
Rudy Miller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 12, 2008 Luann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is John Varley's answer to Jurassic Park - including a mammoth theme park and circus! I was immediately interested in reading this when I read the premise: a frozen mammoth is found with a mummified Stone Age man and woman huddled next to it. The man is wearing a wristwatch. Sounds interesting, huh? I recommend it if you like time travel stories with a bit of science, a fair amount of action, a touch of romance, and a cute baby mammoth.

Note: I really liked how the chapter numbers were chron
Adam Richter
Didn't think I'd make it all the way through a John Varley book (*cough* "The Golden Globe" *cough*), but this was a fun read. More mammoths than the last book I read, "Rabbit is Rich." And that one, frankly, could have used a few.
Interesting sci-fi yarn so far. Very fast read, amusing, but the characters are paper-thin. Sort of waiting for something to happen, as the climax seems a forgone conclusion, but that's what you get with a circular time travel narrative I suppose.

Ok, so I finished. It ended pretty well, but that doesn't really excuse a lot of the tedium that it took to get there. The ending IS predictable, but the way Varley pulls it off is quite nice. Bumped it up a good half star in my estimation. Call it 2.7
Colin McEvoy
I was interested in reading Mammoth in part because the story sounded interesting, and also because I saw that The Washington Post declared John Varley "one of science fiction's most important writers," and yet I had never read any of his work. But I suppose I'll have to read some of his other books to determine whether that description is accurate, because I certainly don't think it's the case based on the strength of Mammoth alone. That's not to say it's a bad book. Quite the contrary, I found ...more
Mar 18, 2009 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Multi-billionaire Howard Christian is an eccentric sort who likes to actually play with his toys. His latest obsession is to clone a woolly mammoth. During an expedition in northern Canada, an intact, but mummified mammoth is found. Huddled in the mammoth's fur is a Stone Age man approximately 12,000 years old...wearing a wristwatch.

Matthew Wright, science prodigy, is brought in to figure out what is in the metal suitcase clutched in the Stone Age man's arms. It's some sort of time machine, invo
Sep 05, 2007 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Howard Christian, an eccentric multi-billionaire (think Bill Gates crossed with Howard Hughes) has a new interest: cloning mammoths. However, his newest find, a male Columbian mammoth frozen in the Arctic, has a surprising companion - a human male... with a wristwatch and an aluminum attaché case.

Howard hires Matt Wright, the finest mind in mathematics to explore the mysteries of the attaché case, as it seems to be a time machine. Along the way, a few more mammoths pop up, and a romance develop
Christina Zable
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 06, 2010 Ingrid rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is probably better suited to a young teenager into mammoths and time travel. Easy holiday read but no depth to the characters and more holes in the plot than a fishing net. Basically multimillionaire business man, funds mammoth dig project, man with watch found next to mammoth... therefore time travel must exist. Millionaire then starts funding 2 parallel programmes, one into cloning mammoths and the other into time travel. Boy meets girl, strange things happen, and predictably everyon ...more
Sarah Crawford
Feb 09, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book starts off with a mammoth being found in Canada. What makes this different from any other mammoth found was what was included with the mammoth.

Two humans, one of them wearing a wristwatch. They also find what appears to be a time machine.

Howard Christian, the multi-billionaire, is the one behind all of this, and he wants to do a mammoth-cloning project and he wants the time machine fixed. Enter Susan, an expert elephant handler, and Matt, a genius in mathematics.

Susan and Matt get into
Oct 14, 2014 Farhan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining sci-fi thriller which leans heavily towards being a thriller and is quite light on the science. This could be described as a thriller with a science fictional premise. An eccentric billionaire decides to clone a mammoth. His team finds the well-preserved body of one buried in ice, but along with the mammoth, they also find the body of a man. And though the mammoth and the man are clearly from at least twelve thousand years ago, the man is wearing a wristwatch.

Using this intrigui
I was at a library book sale a few months ago and I picked up what appeared to be a brand-new book with a pristine paper cover and noted (1) the book was by John Varley and (2) a blurb across the cover said “One of science fiction’s most important writers.” I did not know whether to laugh or gag. The one book I had read by John Varley in the past, so many years ago that I can hardly remember, was so incredibly bad and ridiculous that I have studiously avoided anything he has written ever since. ...more
Adam Czarnecki
Dec 03, 2009 Adam Czarnecki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great science fiction adventure! A prehistoric man is discovered in the ice... wearing a wristwatch! How did the time piece get back there? Soon there are Mammoth's running around downtown, and the time line gets all kinds of visitors.
Mar 20, 2015 Chrisl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, 2000s
Enjoyed the Oregon setting and the Little Fuzzy references
Little Fuzzy
Kate Irwin-smiler
When a fully intact frozen mammoth is discovered in Nunavut, Canada, the private interest financing the excavation - a multibillionaire nerd named Howard Christian - is diverted from his initial goal of cloning a mammoth. Next to the mammoth is a human corpse...with a steel briefcase, etched with a message. Christian decides that the briefcase must be a time machine, and he hires a genius mathematician to fix it. The combination of time travel and a mammoth cloning operation, which draws the wro ...more
Dann Todd
Sep 28, 2015 Dann Todd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
3 stars for means that it was a good book, but I wouldn't want to read it again. That is a pretty accurate assessment of my experience with this book.

Essentially, this is a book that is a derivative of a huge chunk of the Michael Crichton catalog. It deals with time travel and critters that have been extinct for thousands of years.

There were some decent twists and turns at the end. The antagonist achieves redemption.

However, the science part of the book steadily gave way to a sort of mysticism s
Tim Martin
_Mammoth_ by John Varley was a thoroughly enjoyable science fiction novel, one of the best works of fiction I have read in some time. The basic premise of the story, easily gained by reading the back of the book, was that an eccentric multibillionaire, Howard Christian, sought to bring back the woolly mammoth via cloning and had funded expeditions to uncover frozen specimens with viable DNA, preferably from preserved reproductive organs. An excellent specimen is found in Canada, though researche ...more
Graham Crawford
Dec 07, 2011 Graham Crawford rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
This is a very DUMB book. Varley wants to rant about animal rights and circus acts. Cobbles a re-hash of Jurassic Park and (yet another) tired temporal paradox theme. Populates the book with totally charm-less characters in unbelievable relationships having sex outdoors while animals and thermal imaging thugs look on.

oh- there's a Bond villain who lives in a Sky scraper with a giant revolving eagle taller than the statue of liberty that shoots laser beams out of its eyes.

And to top things off -
Jul 24, 2013 Mick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mammoth opens with one of the best teases, well, ever. It's evocative, exciting, and incredibly promising. And maybe it's the way these things always go, but I found the unspooling of that tease incredibly unsatisfying.

Varley is working here on solid, unimaginative genre ground; a mid-level Gregory Benford. The story isn't told terrifically, but there's enough mystery and verve to keep you plugging away for a hundred pages. Then there's a major scene, an early climax, and I found myself saying,
Neil Fein
Feb 13, 2010 Neil Fein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Varley has taken some time off from his Eight Worlds series of late. It's been rumored by Mr. Varley's fans that the wonderful Steel Beach and it's sequel The Golden Globe will have a sequel called Iron Town Blues. But this book will have to wait.

This time-travel tale brings a mammoth child into the 21st century. Due in part to the efforts of a physicist, Matt Wright, who is continually plagued by being unable to articulate his theories (conveniently for technobabble-worn readers), and an e
Jan 30, 2012 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tom Clancy says John Varley is the greatest American writer.

Meh. The story starts like this: a frozen, relatively intact mammoth is unearthed in Canada and a billionaire wants it so that he can clone it as a chimera with modern elephants. Then the team finds a man and a woman near its hindquarters, dressed in animal

hides and with bad teeth and long hair. A truly amazing find, but worrisome because it brings up native american claims to the remains. But they continue to clear away material and fi
Jacqueline Tao
The book falls into the realm of magical realism or realistic science fiction because only one aspect of this book focuses on the alteration of reality. Which is, time travel.
The book takes place in Los Angeles where a eccentric maga-millionaire, Howard Christian, has hired leading scientists, including child-prodigy Matt and elephant trainer Susan Morgan to help him in his quest to procure a living Mammoth. Presumeably from the "old-fashioned" way of finding viable Mammoth DNA from frozen anci
John Hood
Apr 18, 2011 John Hood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet another Varley romping adventure:

"We sat in Howard Cristian's mint-condition 1936 Duessenberg coupe.

'I don't know what people have been telling you Mr. Christian. I wrote a bestseller on the nature of time. I do not know how to build a time machine, and I don't know who told you I could!'

'Yes, Matt, I understand. I don't want to contract you to build me a time machine.
'I already have one. It's broken. I want you to fix it.'"

Wow... Ok... Varley can write.

You want an adventure story that'
Oct 22, 2008 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2014 Mckinley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, novel, medic
He's an award-winning author (Nebula and Hugo) who I've never read before. I'd have to say this was fun and entertaining, not too deep but fast paced with interesting characters.

There's Howard Christian, a multi-zillionaire who has financed the discovery of a fully intact frozen woolly mammoth. He is also a collector and since the discovery of the mammoth wants one for his circus. His idea is to clone the mammoth using elephant surrogate mothers.

So he hires Susan Morgan, the best elephant traine
Bookmarks Magazine

Over the past three decades, Varley has won almost every SF award. Called "The New Heinlein" and described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a far better science fiction writer than [Michael] Crichton," Varley has written a captivating time-travel thriller. Although he delves deeply into scientific and metaphysical principles, Varley never loses sight of his characters, who, like the engaging baby mammoth Fuzzy, keep the book alive. Besides its great humor, intelligent prose, spiritual discover

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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong first pub date for Varley's Mammoth 2 16 Sep 08, 2011 09:06PM  
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Full name: John Herbert Varley.

John Varley was born in Austin, Texas. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, moved to Port Arthur in 1957, and graduated from Nederland High School. He went to Michigan State University.

He has written several novels and numerous short stories.He has received both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

More about John Varley...

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