by Jennifer

Survival (Species Imperative, 1) Survival by Julie Czerneda

There aren’t a lot of SciFi books about biology. So it’s interesting to read one. I first found Czerneda with her book A Thousand Words for Stranger. I was hooked. So of course, when I saw Survival I knew I had to read it.

In this story, Mac is a biologist studying salmon in a wilderness preserve in the Pacific Northwest. She is a very insular person, has never been off-world, and has never wanted to. She just wants to study her salmon and be left alone. But she’s not left alone. Instead, she’s dragged into an interstellar war that’s been going on since before Earth knew we were not alone in the universe.

The concepts and ideas come thick and fast, as you may expect from better science fiction. And since Czerneda is herself a biologist, she brings the personalities of the scientists in the story to life in a way that only someone who works with them would know.

As with all of her stories the aliens in this story are very well thought-out. That makes the whole thing that much more interesting. But unlike her earlier stories, the reason I enjoyed this one so much was because of her human characters. Mac herself is very fun and believable, and the other humans she meets are as well thought out as the aliens.

I enjoyed this book so much that when it turned out that my copy was missing something like 30 pages, I didn’t want to stop reading. So I just skipped ahead and kept reading in the car while we headed back to the bookstore to get a more complete copy. I missed some crucial parts, but nothing I couldn’t figure out and the rest of the book was worth it.