I love a good time travel book and this one has all the ingredients for one. It does get a little bogged down and side tracked about mid way through the book, but overall it is a good read.
Howard Christian is a very rich man who buys whatever he wants, and at the moment he wants to breed a Woolly Mammoth, so he hires a team to find and excavate a frozen Mammoth, so that he can have the DNA extracted to create a elephant/mammoth hybrid. When the crew discovers a caveman's body frozen next to the carcass wearing a very modern wristwatch, Howard's obsession takes a turn. A metal briefcase lying next to the caveman has to be a time machine, so Howard goes about hiring the best of the best to figure out how to make it work, which is Matt Wright, the smartest mathematician around.
In the meantime, Howard continues his quest to breed the Mammoth by hiring Susan Morgan, an elephant trainer, to help care for the elephant that has been artificially inseminated with the elephant/mammoth embryo.
Working next door to each other in a warehouse on their separate projects, Susan and Matt meet and fall in love. When an accident sends the two of them back in time, to the Ice Age, and then home again, with half a dozen living, breathing Mammoths accidentally transported forward in time, their lives change forever.
Who was the caveman found next to the Woolly Mammoth and how does it relate to Matt & Susan's jaunt back in time?
This really is a good story, with a fantastic, ending that brings the whole thing together and makes you wonder? Is time travel possible?
This was a great read. From the start to the finish it kept me involved and wondering what would come next. Then just as I thought I could see the outcome, Bam! Out of the blue, Varley turns things around and changes everything that I thought I had down pat. Very enjoyable book that I'd have to rate very high as one of the best books I've read this year. 12,000 year old animals, time travel, love stories. Mammoth has it all.
Good enough book. Tends to get bogged down in excessive detail that really does nothing but add to the word count. I really don't need 150 words on ballistics and the development of gunpowder 'cause a character is going to get shot.
This book has more plot turns than the hairs on a mammoth. Some of them I expected and others I didn't.
The ending was not a complete surprise to me, but I did wonder how the author was going to manage it. Now I understand why the author used a plot gimmick for one of the characters that didn't seem to make a lot of sense.
It was light but enjoyable reading. I also appreciated the fact that what sex there was in the book was not lurid, but was handled very modestly.
Very enjoyable, original story. The characters are interesting, and the plot is compelling. The author brought off all exciting points in the plot in a believable manner. You do not have to be a sci-fi buff to enjoy this book. While the author didn't ignore the science, the story is not "heavy" in the science, and the science he does address is well-explained. Anyone who enjoys a good story would enjoy this book. I gave it 5 stars.
I continue to be amazed by John Varley's books. Although I can't say it was a thrill ride the entire way, it was a wonderful read. This book is certainly more "normal" SciFi reading than his Eight Worlds series.
The story kept twisting and turning, giving me surprises every time, which was great. It starts with the title and the cover: "Mammoth," and a big picture of a woolly mammoth. My first thought was this was a book version of a Saturday Monster Movie, with a frozen mammoth like I've seen hundreds of times before. But then the back cover text provides the first twist: with that frozen mammoth is a dead human, frozen along side for 12,000 years, wearing a wristwatch.
This was not a straightforward book. This book had a story that twisted and turned, and surprised me every time I thought I had it figured out. And that made is a nonstop page turner. Lots of fun. Highly recommended.
Probably the most interesting thing about this book was the twist at the end. I found all of the main characters annoying and, in some cases, downright unlikable. At times it was difficult to follow the explanations given by one of the main characters about how things happened so I just gave up. I love sci-fi and action adventure and almost always have no trouble suspending common sense and reality and just going with the flow of a book. Not so here. I really wanted to like this book but I just didn't.
Ok book. Enjoyable time paradox, somewhat annoying characters, didn't really connect with any of them, except the animals. The switch between the two story lines was a little hard to get used to because the writing styles were jarring in their differences. I liked it enough to keep going.
Some swearing, not much but with heavy swear words here and there.
John Varley has long been my favorite sci-fi author. He manages to include lots of real science with zany scenarios and great character development. This book is no exception. Time travel, pre-historic critters, egomanical rich guy, really gifted scientist -- everything you need to a great romp through Varley's world.