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Survival (Species Imperative, #1)
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Survival (Species Imperative #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,532 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Herself a biologist, Julie E. Czerneda has earned a reputation in science fiction circles for her ability to create beautifully crafted, imaginative, yet believably realized alien races. In Survival, the first novel in her new series, Species Imperative, she draws upon this talent to build races, characters, and a universe which will draw readers into a magnificent tale of ...more
Paperback, 483 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by DAW (first published 2004)
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Feb 27, 2014 Mark rated it did not like it
Imagine you're at a diplomatic dinner. One of the foreign delegates comes up to you and says "Hello. I'm an archaeologist. I can help in your fight against terrorism if you put me together with a salmon biologist. But I refuse to tell you how this might be helpful." Consequently you put significant security resources at his disposal.

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
Nov 12, 2015 Efka rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Salmon fans
Shelves: sci-fi
When I have read the description of "Survival", I thought that there is some potential and promise. Sadly, that wasn't the case. Sure, the idea and plot are not bad, but the execution is. I've been bought by promises of "beautifully crafted, imaginative, yet believably realized alien races" - and did not find any of those three mentioned above. Maybe, and I mean maybe, they are beautifully crafted, but that's it. And the whole book is.. I'm not sure what word best describes my personal feelings ...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Mar 27, 2011 Jim Mcclanahan rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jim by:
I'm not quite halfway into this book and I'm becoming impatient. If Czerneda is really a biologist, she should know that a King salmon and a Chinook salmon are one and the same. She doesn't. She should also have enough interdisciplinary good manners not to refer to anthropologists as "pot hunters". Aside from that, her characters are one dimensional and stereotyped unduly. Sorry, I've been out of graduate school 40 years and have no wish to revisit the perky milieu of dedicated post-grad work (w ...more
David Fuller
Aug 10, 2012 David Fuller rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
A strong background in science doesn’t necessarily make for good science fiction.
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
Mar 26, 2015 Dmitry rated it liked it
I tried to like this novel. After comparing my thoughts with other reviews im certain the storyline is anything but "intense" as some ladies of a certain age seem to find it.

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
Oct 16, 2008 David rated it liked it
Survival is the first book in the "Species Imperative" series. It is science fiction centering around biology, which I, at least, haven't seen much of. It follows Dr. Macenzie Connor, a salmon researcher on Earth in the far future--far enough that "transect" technology exists, allowing instantaneous travel between the stars (but not within solar systems), which in turn allows for the existence of the Interspecies Union.

One day Mac is visited by a member of a somewhat obscure species, and before
Callan Fromm
May 16, 2014 Callan Fromm rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Excellent stuff.

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
Mar 25, 2013 Trisha rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 22, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paula S. Jordan
May 07, 2013 Paula S. Jordan rated it it was amazing
It was stunning!

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
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
This book was wonderful; though, at times, it seemed to lose its way, and, then, at the end, it seemed to want to rush its way through the climax. I so wanted to give it 4 stars, but I really can't.

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
Oct 08, 2015 L rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Czerneda is SO creative! Her characters, human and other, are real; you want to spend time with them. Their relationships are complex and true. Czerneda creates multifaceted peoples, societies, and problems. It's years since I first read this, long enough to have forgotten large chunks. I think I loved it even more on this second read. And now to find the second book in the series.
Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Jun 04, 2015 Allan Dyen-Shapiro rated it really liked it
I met Julie, a delightful human being, at a con where she was the guest of honor and decided I needed to check out a book of hers. This is the first one I picked up.

My favorite part of this book was the interplay of biological species description with classic character building. I wasn't quite sure what she was doing at the beginning, with all the talk of salmon. I am a Ph.D. biochemist, limited in my background in animal organismal biology, but having read enough to appreciate what she was doi
This is a book that has big ideas but the way in which they are executed leaves something to be desired. An alien spaces that may or may not be hunting and destroying entire worlds, a research base that is being haunted by a mysterious "entity", a scientist who is being manipulated by those around her, trapped on another planet, alone except for a giant blue slug-man beast.

You'd think there would be something great there but the pacing is off and too much time is spent kick-starting this story.
Apr 21, 2008 David rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
A very enjoyable read. Biologically-oriented science fiction with elements of a mystery novel. Characters are well developed, original and engaging. I stayed up later than usual several nights because I didn't want to put it down. The I've already gotten my hands on the next novel in the series, and I will be starting it ASAP.
Dec 16, 2009 Ron rated it really liked it
Good show! Well-developed characters in increasingly weird circumstances. Reader hangs with protagonist's confusion. The evidence mails the culprits before the protag figures it out, but not embarrassingly so.

A few logical gaps, which increase drama and only slightly decrease the fun.
Pomme de Terre
3.5 stars. For a book in which the protagonist spends most of the time pushed about into situations against her will (all the while exasperatedly exclaiming "why do want me to help you with your mysterious alien politics? I study salmon!") and finds out very little of what's going on by the end, this was surprisingly fun. I can't comment on the accuracy of the biology bits in the book, but Mac's personality as a salmon-obsessed workoholic biologist read plausible to my non-scientific eyes, and I ...more
Carolyn F.
Feb 23, 2016 Carolyn F. marked it as could-not-finish
Shelves: library-book
I was just extremely bored by the beginning of this book and put it down. I'll try again another day. No rating.
Erica Anderson
I've been meaning to try Julie Czerneda for ages, and finally started Survival. This is a well-written, readable and very long first book in a trilogy. While I liked the attention to the cultural differences between species and the descriptions of place, the ratio of words to action is really, really high; i.e., lots and lots of words to describe scenes in which nothing happens. As an example--there's a chapter that describes the heroine sitting in a box.

I have no idea how Czerneda made such a
Aug 23, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Brin and Vinge
A fun adventure with a real biological slant, which I absolutely enjoyed, being a biologist myself. I will be reading this whole trilogy because I want to find out more about the other alien species in this universe (plus of course all the answers to the mysteries).

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
Kelly Flanagan
Dec 09, 2010 Kelly Flanagan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
wow! Yet again Czerneda creates a series that pulls you in and holds you in rapture till the end! I love every series I have read by this author, this one really caught me up, considering she begins the first book deep in the heart of mine own area, North of Vancouver in the Haida Gwaii Islands (in the past it was known as the Queen Charlotte Island. Knowing that she must have worked as a biologist in the area to be so keen on the flora/fauna from the area. Truly it is another world for those ...more
May 21, 2008 Mathieu rated it liked it
Recommended to Mathieu by: Condo Geecko
It took me a while to get into it, but in the end, it was a pleasant enough read. Certainly a nice break from my usual fare. See the original complaints below:

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
May 15, 2011 Jules rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because I have had some contact with the author in the past and I (finally) found a store that actually had her work on the shelf.

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
Apr 29, 2013 Clara rated it liked it
An interesting/labyrinthine read, 'Survival' chronicles the adventures of a salmon-researcher who finds herself embroiled in an interstellar titan-clash: two powerful, dangerous alien races, each of which lays its own claim upon her and refuses to let go.

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
Sally McLennan
Apr 27, 2013 Sally McLennan rated it it was amazing

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

Jan 27, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
This is a few years old, but I only read a bit of early Czerneda and never got to this series.

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
Feb 16, 2009 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Czerneda has quite the story here to tell, full of twists and feints and possibilities. The plot is one of those "can't wait to find out what happens next" types, and on its own is enough to ensure I'm itching to get my fingers on the other two books in the trilogy.

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
Aniko Carmean
Mar 23, 2013 Aniko Carmean rated it it was amazing
The kitchen at my office has a paperback lending library. One lunch hour, I ran across SURVIVAL: Species Imperative #1 by Julie E. Czerneda. As a girl whose full maiden name included no less than three instances of the letter "z," I have a fondness for any "z" names. I also have a fondness for science fiction, so I snagged SURVIVAL and brought it with me on vacation to Kaua'i.

Kaua'i is known as the "Garden Isle," and is bright with beauty and multiple ecosystems teeming with colorful varieties
Nov 17, 2007 Speedtribes rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
While this wasn't a book that was without some flaws, it's still a pretty good read. It has been quite some time when I've last enjoyed something I would term 'hard-soft sci-fi'. Hard in the sense that it deals strongly with biology and various aspects of science (The lead character is a salmon researcher) and soft because, in the end, it is about how one can relate to another species based on this science.

Politics, space travel, intergalactic tourism, xenophobia and cultural issues when dealing
Jun 10, 2007 Jim rated it it was amazing
This is the third book I've read by Julie E. Czerneda, and I believe it's her best by far. (Which is not a slam on her other books, but rather a sign that she's getting better.)

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
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