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(Species Imperative #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,893 ratings  ·  139 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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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,893 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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Feb 27, 2014 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
Mar 13, 2014 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 11, 2011 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
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Fuller
Aug 10, 2012 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
Aniko Carmean
Mar 23, 2013 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
Oct 16, 2008 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
Oct 25, 2013 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
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
There was cyberpunk. There is steampunk. And there should be biopunk. I loved the alien biology in this book so much that I forgive the annoying protagonist, whose most distinguishing feature is her hair. I also forgive the disjunction between biology and psychology (surely aliens should be, well, alien). I even forgive the slow plot development at the beginning compensated by the breakneck speed at the end. In another book, these would be serious flaws but I'm so happy with the biological inven ...more
I read this first when it originally came out, and after such a long time I had barely any memory of it other than that I generally like Julie Czerneda as an author, and the book takes place in my general bailiwick, though a bit north from where I live. I seemed to recall that I had liked the trilogy.

Alas it has not aged well for me. It rubbed me wrong pretty much immediately with a casual statement in which King and Chinook Salmon are listed as different species by a salmon researcher. They're
Laura Fredriksen
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some hard sci-fi that takes a good focus on Biology instead of the usual (physics). I was happy to see this alternate path. The alien characters were also great.
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Callan Fromm
May 16, 2014 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
Paula S. Jordan
May 07, 2013 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
Jul 20, 2012 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
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jill Carroll
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Mmmm, 3 stars. Patchy with good bits.
Oct 08, 2015 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.
Apr 21, 2008 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 14, 2009 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.
Carolyn F.
Nov 13, 2014 marked it as did-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.
Peter Tillman
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
2013 booklog notes: B+, slow start but gets better. Plan to read sequel sometime.

Well, maybe. Or not. Lots of lukewarm or worse reviews here, some pretty entertaining, like
"I don't remember ever reading a book that doesn't make sense in such a wide variety of ways."

OK, but see
" Dr. Mackenzie Connor, Mac to everyone she works with, is a biodiversity researcher specializing in salmon. In her future United States, hum
Sydnie Macelroy
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Good world-building is a must in sci-fi, and Czerneda is certainly excellent at it, in spite of tending to give aliens really silly sounding names. But descriptive genius can go a bit too far at times, and spending the first quarter of the book on unspoiled Pacific Northwest landscape and the migration of salmon made it extremely difficult to get into the story. In fact, it really didn't start getting interesting until about half way through... and by then the plot was pretty glaringly obvious. ...more
Natasha Hurley-Walker
I found this a bit tough to get into, and slow going in places, but the world-building and character development made up for it. There were also some physics and biology "whaaat?" moments, especially to do with the scale and persistence of interstellar civilisations. Plus the romance elements were a bit comical and contrived. But I was fairly surprised by the (view spoiler) ending, and it certainly left me looking forward to the sequel.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, but didn't quite match my expectations. Not having read this author before, I was expecting a bit more research-scientist stuff, and a bit less traditional-SF stuff. I guess I just never found the essential connection of Mac and her research with the plot. Perhaps that comes later, but I think at least a few more threads around that should have been woven in here.

But it was good, and I'll probably read the next one at some point.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review is for all three books in the Species Imperative trilogy: Survival, Migration, Regeneration.

A fascinating and unique page turner. This is biological science fiction, with the central mystery and plot of the story revolving around the intertwining biology of two alien races. World building was also marvelous and biological, with "tech" being a minor background (but credible) layer, while the fleshing out of multiple other alien races was carried out in loving detail.
Eileen Daly-Boas
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This is science fiction with a lot more real science than usual, and it's a pretty good story, too. There are some predictable parts, but overall, it's a fun read with a little bit of everything: aliens, danger, comedy, love. It's not a perfect novel by any means, and sometimes tries too hard to have a little-bit-of-everything in it. The audiobook readers were very good.
Norman Howe
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Interesting premise, unfortunately handled in a predictable manner. This felt like a Dan Brown novel, in which the protagonist is manipulated from one point to another until the desired result is achieved. And worse: it’s a continued story.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I knew where this book was headed, but apparently not.
Deena Abutaha
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
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For over twenty years, Canadian author/ former biologist Julie E. Czerneda has shared her curiosity about living things through her science fiction, published by DAW Books, NY. Julie’s written fantasy too, the first installments of her Night’s Edge series (DAW) A Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow, winning consecutive Aurora Awards (Canada’s Hugo) for Best English Novel. Having completed her Clan ...more

Other books in the series

Species Imperative (3 books)
  • Migration (Species Imperative, #2)
  • Regeneration (Species Imperative, #3)
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