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Ghost Species

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  276 ratings  ·  57 reviews
An exquisitely beautiful and deeply affecting exploration of connection and loss in an age of planetary trauma.

When scientist Kate Larkin joins a secretive project to re-engineer the climate by resurrecting extinct species, she becomes enmeshed in another, even more clandestine program to recreate our long-lost relatives, the Neanderthals. But when the first of the childre
Kindle Edition
Published October 15th 2020
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Rob Cook
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Bradley’s new novel begins on the leading edge of now and ends in a future so terrifyingly near we can see its smoke on the horizon. Set principally in remote Tasmania, Ghost Species begins like a hybrid of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border, and Greg Egan’s Darwin’s Radio, combining the forward momentum of the science fictional technothriller with the reflective inwardness of the literary novel. But Ghost Species is also very much its own thing, a politically u ...more
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

Ghost Species by James Bradley. (2020).

Scientist Kate joins a secretive project to re-engineer the climate by resurrecting extinct species, including the Neanderthals. But when the first of the children is born, Kate is torn between science and wanting to protect little Eve. As Eve grows to adulthood she and Kate must face the question of who and what she is. Is Eve natural or artificial? Human or non-human? And as civilisation unravel
Michael Livingston
This is packed with big ideas (climate collapse! tech saviours! shady science! (de-)extinctiom!) and is elegantly written. The characters have surprising depth given how much ground the book covers and the whole situation feels horrifyingly plausible. It's a striking contrast with Fauna, which starts with the same central idea but never really clicked into gear for me. Ghost Species though felt so timely and important - Bradley writes about climate with such awful knowledge and assurance. ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some writers are just a class above. With Ghost Species, Bradley proves himself once again to be one of them. An astounding masterwork of speculative fiction - entirely plausible, utterly compelling and, as it progresses, eerily prophetic - Ghost Species absolutely floored me. Just read it.
Sally Piper
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With a frighteningly possible near-future premise, this timely novel is an ode to the natural world as well as a cautionary tale of the consequences of climate change and humanity's response to it. A unique, wholly believable and imaginative story.
Cass Moriarty
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Bradley is a thoughtful, scientific thinker who writes his fears about what is happening in the world around us into careful narratives that are prescient and believable. In his latest novel Ghost Species (Hamish Hamilton Penguin 2020), he presents a subtly terrifying world that changes from one relatively familiar in the first chapters (set perhaps not too far in the future) into a world that gradually deviates from ‘normality’ in every sense, as chaos and disorder disrupt society. But wh ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fantastic. It was an interesting premise which I thought would be tricky to pull off but the author did it with skill. Fascinating premise and beautifully executed. 5 stars.

In the meantime... Bradley has done it again, delivering a novel of rather epic cli-fi scope in under 300 pages.

This didn't go where I was necessarily expecting, but examined the impact human kind is having on the planet and how our attempts to help often make things worse, but more in the way that this was a backdrop for Eve's life, which we witnessed in fairly brief (but focused and detailed) snapshots as she grew.

I don't know what I'll be rating it yet, but it was eerie at times to watc
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian
It must be hard for a writer or editor to determine the correct length a book should be to tell its story, be understood, maintain the continuity and hold the attention of a reader. There were some aspects of this work by James Bradley that felt perfect, and others (very few) that just missed that mark; lengthy time jumps were a devise often used to gloss over these flaws, especially towards the end.
Part of a view of the global near future that has spawned its own genre title (Cli-Fi), this work
Danielle Clode
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A harrowing and evocative tale of finding your place in a disintegrating world. What is it that makes us human - and is being human necessarily a good thing? A delicate and precise exploration of motherhood, loneliness and love in a soon-to-be posthuman world from one of our finest writers of climate change fiction.
When scientists Kate and Jay are summoned to Tasmania by an unknown person to discuss a mysterious project, they decide that the trip is worth it just for a change of scenery on somebody else’s expense account. The last thing they expect is to be asked to head a secretive and ethically questionable rewilding project, a project which may be the only thing standing between the world and total climate collapse.

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg-alike Davis Hucken has found the key to de-extinction, and wa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darcy Moore
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2020
A good read; as with Clade I wanted more. It felt like both novels were successfully on their way to something else but just end too soon. I wanted to know more about Eve’s (and our) futures. The novel should appeal to a wide audience.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very much in the vein of Bradley's previous work of 'cli-fi', Clade, in this one he gets into the resurrection business as well as depicting our grim climate future. The ghost species of the title are the Neanderthals, and Bradley conceives of a Zuckerberg/Elon Musk type character who uses his billions to resurrect not only mammoths and aurochs, etc. to release into the wild as a climate change mitigation measure, but also a Neanderthal, called Eve. The novel is set in Tasmania and traverses twe ...more
Suzy Coull
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strong example of speculative fiction exploring what it means to be human. The relationship between a mother and daughter is at the centre of this novel but it also addresses what might have been for us all.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book that delves into collapse of the world and our society due to climate change. This is the main theme, however it also examines the absolute power that men with enormous wealth do wield and how their dreams seem important to the world but are more about their need to be deified
Robert Lukins
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s thrilling and beautiful and real, and so, terrifying. A damn fantastic rush.
Jackie McMillan
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"We need to be tested by other minds, other perspectives. We need to learn how other eyes see the world." This is the justification used in James Bradley's new novel, Ghost Species, for recreating the Neanderthal species. The first thing that struck me was how similar this novel's premise was to Donna Mazza's book Fauna, which was published a month or two before it. I guess the imminent destruction of the planet through climate change has inspired many Australian writers to delve backwards to fi ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay book but a bit disappointing.

Would have loved it to be slower paced and really explore Eve and Kate's relationship, Eve's thoughts on the project to de-extinct species, and the difference between her and Sapiens humans - so far the only point she thinks of this is her rejection of humanities violence. Also, her apperance has been described as shocking and repulsive, and she was left to her own devices to find out about Neandertals. If I was Kate I would have framed current scientific disco
I'm not sure I should have read this novel at this point in our world's crisis. It's sad, to put it bluntly, though also full of pathos and good character development. I found myself relating to Kate, the scientist and protagonist who decides to become the de facto mother of a newborn Neanderthal girl who has been born as part of an initiative to bring back extinct species from preserved DNA. Their relationship through the years is tender and gratifying to watch unfold, but the backdrop of relen ...more
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, 3-5
Ghost Species is the latest book by Australian author James Bradley, and as with many of his novels, it's speculative fiction with climate change the main driver.

Kate Larkin is a scientist who joins a project group that are trying to reverse the runaway effects of climate change, by resurrecting extinct species. When they successfully create a Neanderthal girl, Eve, Kate finds her motherly instinct at odds with the project's scientific community, and takes matters into her own hands to protect E
Maureen Mathews
This began as a compelling novel with a profound ethical decision at its core, but, it then peeters out as a dystopian vision and some extremely implausible plot device. The closing scene is banal, as though the author couldn't work out how to end it. I was disappointed, because it had potential, and it was set in Southern Tasmania.
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I obviously missed what everyone else loved with this novel. The concept was intriguing but the author didn't hit the mark. As the story progressed significant characters just disappeared from the storyline, overall it felt disjointed and after the first third a rushed. Disappointed.
Giovanna Walker
Not a genre I'd go for, but I enjoyed it. A bit Jurassic Park - bringing back 'extinct' species. The moral rights and wrongs and all the questions that go with that, a man to whom money is no object 'playing god'. Set in Tasmania, you get a feel for the isolation, it makes you think, the ending was a little rushed I felt. Otherwise a good COVID read.
Melanie Hunt
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this speculative novel by James Bradley and felt it was a worthy follow up to his previous climate change novel Clade (which I loved). It was a well written and compulsive read - I finished it in two days - with some truly beautiful and (at times) terrifying imagery of our world undergoing environmental collapse. I've resisted thinking about the premise too much as I don't want to spoil, or nitpick over, what presented as a plausible idea thoughtfully explored, for the most part. ...more
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It seems I will be out of step with most recent reviews in calling this book fairly average - and perhaps even a bit disappointing.
I was drawn to the premise, but there was so much going on that it became confusing to me. There seemed to be many loose ends, superficial moments, shallow characters and under explained context.
I found the end to be especially odd, with a largely unexplained creeping environmental apocalypse in the background of a touchy feely moment of the reunification of a lost s
The writing wasn't great (e.g. distracting stylistic tics and flaws), but the story was strong enough that I didn't have any reluctance in picking up the book of a night. And obviously the (cool) idea of bringing back a Neanderthal is risky in terms of potential silliness, but I thought it was handled well here.
2.5 stars
The last quarter/ending of the book is off-kilter.
Dean Osborne
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so Ghost Species is a great example of why I changed my rating system a few months back. If I give a book a five star rating because at the time it’s a five star book but then what happens when I read a book that is much better than that five star book?? I can’t give it a six star rating, can I? Or… maybe I have been too generous with my ratings in the past. Well this is exactly what happened when I read Ghost Species. Ghost Species is a fantastic read and I will be giving it a ‘Book Vagab ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James is the author of four novels: the critically acclaimed climate change narrative, Clade (Hamish Hamilton 2015), The Resurrectionist (Picador 2006), which explores the murky world of underground anatomists in Victorian England and was featured as one of Richard and Jud

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