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Survival : Julie E Czerneda

11/21/05

  11:43:51 am, by Nimble   , 312 words  
Categories: Reviews, Books, Fiction

Survival : Julie E Czerneda

I'm a science fiction afficionado of sorts, but I must say, my collection is not that big. Out of the reams of books on shelves, it can take a considerable while to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Also, good fiction keeps me awake until dawn reading it, which is not always good!

I usually go with authors I have read previously, like Vernor Vinge or Robert Charles Wilson, but my favourite authors only write so fast.

So I took my birthday present gift card from Dena and spent some time looking at the summaries and flipping through pages to get a sense of author's styles. Julie E. Czerneda's "Survival" was one of the two I chose. I was very pleasantly surprised.

We meet the protagonist, a biologist doing salmon studies, before strange events conspire to take her away from her comfort zone, and her activities, into something much larger. The main story is punctuated with snippets of gross, creepy events.

I just don't do spoilers, so I'll have to limit myself to commenting on the style and substance. One thing that impresses me with the book (and indeed impresses me whenever I find it) is that once you've got your modicum of suspension of disbelief under your belt, everything else hangs together. The writing is gritty, the cultural renderings and alien interactions are credible, and the technology is futuristic, but "workaday".

It also has some good future advice. Like taking water with you, and testing out alien showers on something that is not you before stepping into them.

The best thing about this novel is the way that everything, in retrospect, totally hangs together, even down to why an 'unremarkable' salmon biologist ends up caught up in things.

It's a science fiction (and thriller) novel of the highest caliber. Very, very smartly written. I hope the sequels are as good.

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