Survival (Species Imperative #1)
But as Julie E. Czerneda shows, it doesn’t hurt, either.
Czerneda, a former biologist, lives in Ontario. One of her previous novels, In the Company of Others, won the 2002 Prix Aurora, Canada’s equivalent of the Hugo.
In Survival, Czerneda draws on her experience as a researcher in animal communication to create a complex galaxy of precarious interspecies alliances. Though the alien characters are few, interpreting th...more
The foundation of this book is that scenario making sense.
Oh, but what about the characterization. The main character deals with colleagues by throwing things at the...more
It starts well enough with science which kids today likely know from BBC nature programs. The migration of the salmon, the energy cycle, the futuristically bureaucratic conservation efforts. There is some mention of a mysterious nano-trawling machine engineered by one of the intrepid biologists.
Then it quickly descends into...more
One day Mac is visited by a member of a somewhat obscure species, and before...more
As a former biologist, Czerneda interleaves her intense storylines and characterizations – both Human and not – so deftly with the underlying science that you get it all at once. In descriptions of a Canadian coastal wilderness the beauty and the ecological interdependencies are inseparable. With her alien species – and there are many of them – their ingenious, scrupulously logical design is revealed in detail as their resulting behaviors move the story forward. The plotline bot...more
I loved the first third. Thrilling and fascinating. But, then, we went through what I think of as the "lost" section. Not bad writing, but there were all these sections where I just felt I couldn't keep track. And, then, at the end, she seemed to find her way but she rushed it.
Also, I'm really not qu...more
I picked Survival up on the recommendation of my uncle, a science fiction author and scholar. I went in with high expectations, and I was not disappointed at all-- in fact, I found myself happily surprised by Czerneda's talent for characterisation, pacing, and plot. Mac, the protagonist, is well-written and refreshingly multifaceted. I do think she could have done without the romance part of the plot (I was genuinely excited about the prospect of a realistically-portrayed ace pro...more
You'd think there would be something great there but the pacing is off and too much time is spent kick-starting this story....more
A few logical gaps, which increase drama and only slightly decrease the fun.
My favourite aspects of the book were
- the more realistic approach to alien biology and behaviour than most SF has (but it's still less hard SF, and more space-opera-y, than books like Blindsight or Embassytown);
- and the descriptions...more
Allow me to indulge in the nitpicker in me: it's a 'flair' for melodrama, Julie, not a 'flare'. Just started the book, and the only thing I'm enjoying so far is the alien. Here's hoping he gets more of these melodramatic lines.
NB: I've been wondering why that mistake set me off like that... I think it's the florid prose in descriptive pass...more
The very beginning of the book had a lot of narrative retelling (as opposed to action in the present), primarily because the future world in which this story is set is reasonably complex. Persevering through the slower sections of the narrative was definitely worthwhile, because by Chapter 3 the action of the story picked up and I was drawn to th...more
I found myself well-entertained by this story. A cast of intriguing characters, including the very alien Dhyrn (man?) Brymn--a budding, often confused romance thread--a series of attacks/misadventures which drag protagonist Mac deeper and deepe...more
I swallowed this book in one delicious gulp and went on to read the next two in the series in quick succession.
Julie Czerneda has won a slew of awards and was nominated for the John w. Campbell Award for the best new writer. Survival demonstrates her calibre as a writer beautifully. Czerneda's descriptions of the natural world are effortlessly elegant and, in particular, suggest a deep connection with the landscape in British Columbia that her characters initially inhabit. Likewise Czerneda's wo...more
Mac Connor is a biologist; she studies salmon migration in the nature preserves of the Pacific Northwest. (Halfway between Vancouver and Moose Poop, Nowhere.) Earth has made contact with cordial aliens, imported a bunch of alien technology, started a bunch of offworld colonies, and is generally paradisiacal. Mac's biggest problem is wrangling permission to set foot in the (highly protected) Castle Inlet...more
The characters are as involving as the story itself, and I found myself really caring about what happened to each of them by the time they got swallowed in the events surrounding them. Brymn was especially well drawn, balancing his co...more
Kaua'i is known as the "Garden Isle," and is bright with beauty and multiple ecosystems teeming with colorful varieties...more
Politics, space travel, intergalactic tourism, xenophobia and cultural issues when dealing...more
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I've sold two stories to Julie Czerneda for her anthologies FANTASTIC COMPANIONS and MISSPELLED. I also bought her story "A Touch of Blue" for HEROES IN TRAINING.
SURVIVAL introduces us to Dr. Mackenzie Winifred Elizabeth Wright Conner (Mac), a salmon researcher w...more
Though the pace can be frustratingly slow, the effort is well worth it. Mac's first encounters with new species and planets are absolutely fascinating; as a biologist, s...more
On the downside, I found the pacing to be off-kilter. It was a rather glacial story for about 2/3 of the book, and then it absolutely races to the end. Also, apparently the main character is picked by...more