The Tusks of Extinction
by Ray NaylerGenres: Science Fiction
When you bring back a long-extinct species, there’s more to success than the DNA.
Moscow has resurrected the mammoth, but someone must teach them how to be mammoths, or they are doomed to die out, again.
The late Dr. Damira Khismatullina, the world’s foremost expert in elephant behavior, is called in to help. While she was murdered a year ago, her digitized consciousness is uploaded into the brain of a mammoth.
Can she help the magnificent creatures fend off poachers long enough for their species to take hold?
And will she ever discover the real reason they were brought back?
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I’ve been curious about Ray Nayler’s work for a bit, since my wife enjoyed The Mountain in the Sea, so I was quite interested in giving The Tusks of Extinction a shot. The blurb left me a bit unsure, though, wondering if it’d feel maybe a bit goofy and weird, with a human in a mammoth body.
Well, the execution worked out well, tying in Damira’s memories and past with how she’s experiencing the world now as a mammoth, with different senses and different priorities. It took a few pages for me to orient myself to what exactly was going on, but that’s very much intentional, because Damira’s a little lost in the memories too.
I was going to talk about one of the threads being rather weak, but actually looking back on it, I was wrong to think so. There are basically three threads: a rich hunter (from the point of view of his husband), Damira, and the son of a poacher. They do all three meet and make sense of each other, giving each other meaning and casting the point of the story into relief — and Vladimir’s point of view in particular really added emotional shading to the story, beyond just the obvious outrage of Damira.
Definitely eager to try more by Nayler now.