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Survival: Species Imperative #1 [Kindle Edition]

Julie E. Czerneda
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

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 interstellar intrigue, as an Earth scientist is caught up in a terrifying interspecies conflict. Senior co-administrator of the Norcoast Salmon Research Facility, Dr. Mackenzie Connor, Mac to her friends and colleagues, was a trained biologist, whose work had definitely become her life. And working at Norcoast Base, set in an ideal location just where the Tannu River sped down the west side of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast was the perfect situation for Mac. She and fellow scientist Dr. Emily Mamani were just settling in to monitor this year's salmon runs when their research was interrupted by the unprecedented arrival of Brymn, the first member of the alien race known as the Ohryn to ever set foot on Earth.

Brymn was an archaeologist, and much of his research had focused on a region of space known as the Chasm, a part of the universe that was literally dead, all of its worlds empty of any life-forms, though traces existed of the civilizations that must once have flourished in the region. Brymn had sought out Mac because she was a biologist -- a discipline strictly forbidden among his own people -- and he felt that through her expertise she might be able to help him discover what had created the Chasm. But Mac had little interest in alien races and in studies that ranged beyond Earth, and as politely as she was capable of, she tried to make it clear that she was unwilling to abandon her own work.

However, the decision was soon taken out of her hands when a mysterious and devastating attack on the Base resulted in the abduction of Emily, and forced Mac to flee for her life with Brymn and the Earth special agents who were escorting him. Suddenly, it appeared that Earth itself might be under attack by the legendary race the Ohryn called the Ro, the beings they thought might be the destructive force behind the Chasm. Cut off from everything and everyone she knew, Mac found herself in grave danger and charged with the responsibility of learning everything she could that might possibly aid Earth in protecting the human race from extinction...

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Must one species' evolution ensure another's extinction? Canadian author Czerneda (To Trade the Stars) attempts to answer that loaded question by focusing on the unique but dangerous relationship that biologist Mackenzie "Mac" Connor forges with Brymn, a Dhryn archeologist and the first of his race to visit Earth, in this imaginative, if somewhat slow-moving not-so-distant-future novel set in the Pacific Northwest and the far reaches of space. The story comes alive whenever the workaholic, emotionally withdrawn Mac interacts with the seven-armed Brymn, "a giant bearlike being," who at one point applies makeup to go diving with salmon. Trouble arrives in the form of the alien Ro, who kidnap Dr. Emily Mamani Sarmiento, a colleague of Mac's at Norcoast Salmon Research Facility. Blamed for creating the Chasm, a zone of space littered with worlds that have been sucked dry of all life forms, the Ro also want Brymn and Mac. The Interspecies Union's representative, Nikolai "Nik" Trojanowski, whose mysterious attraction to the straight-laced Mac adds romantic heat to the proceedings, helps the two escape to Haven, the Dhryn homeworld. Unfortunately, Brymn and Mac soon find no place is safe from one species' imperative to survive at any cost. A planned sequel may try to answer the next vital question-can friendship evolve to forgive the ultimate betrayal?
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Czerneda opens the Species Imperative series with a somewhat original variation on the theme of alien invasion. Dr. Mackenzie Connor heads the Norcoast Salmon Research Facility and is completely immersed in her work. She and Dr. Emily Mamani are just settling in to monitor the year's salmon run when Norcoast is visited by Brymn, the first member of the Dhryn species to come to Earth. An archaeologist, Brymn is studying a region of space called the Chasm. All of the worlds in it are empty of life forms but contain traces of life, and even civilizations, that once existed on them. Brymn needs the help of a biologist, but biology is a discipline forbidden by his culture. Mackenzie isn't interested in obliging him--until Emily disappears. Czerneda has created convincing future Earth and space cultures, and her characters, though archetypal, pass muster. The novel suffers from extremely uneven pacing, however-- very slow in the first half, then bouncing along in the second to a series-auguring finale. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 991 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (May 3, 2005)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,604 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction for Scientists October 11, 2004
I used to read a lot of science fiction. I picked up new copies of the various pulp sci-fi magazines and a correspondent sent me his old copies. I especially liked GALAXY, FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION and later ISAAC ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION, but I occasionally read ANALOG as well. I also read the novels by numerous sci-fi authors, including Asimov, Heinlein, Herbert, Norton and a host of others. I don't read much of that genre these days because of time and the fact that while there was always a lot of schlock out there (as there is in any book type) it seems like many sci-fi books these days are take offs on movies or TV shows (I have a possibly snobbish dislike for such made up books).

However, after reading Julie E. Czerneda's "Survival: Species Imperative #1" I may be hooked again. Here is a sci.-fi. book actually written by someone trained in biology. Yes, I know that the space travel involved probably does not have much of a scientific base (Isaac Asimov once said that one needed such devices just to make plots work), but the depth of the work keeps the reader turning pages. While I have my doubts that we will ever (or at least in my lifetime) find aliens like the Dhryn or the Ro, they are fabulous constructs by someone who at least has a handle on how weird living things (even on this planet) can be.

The book centers on one human- Mackenzie Winifred Elizabeth Wright Conner (Mac to her friends) and one alien- the Dhryn Brymn. Mac is a biologist who studies salmon on the Pacific Coast; Brymn is an alien archeologist from a species that mostly has little use for science.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book! Julie Czerneda, winner of Canada's Aurora Award, has created a unique tale where the principles of biology underscore the essential mystery of the story.

Dr, Mackenzie Connor, known as "Mac" to her colleagues, is a research biologist, specializing in salmon spawning. Unfortunately, her research is disrupted by a visiting Drhyn, looking specifically for her. Brymn is giant, alien and blue (Ms. Czerneda is known for her ability to bring aliens to life on the page, and she succeeds again here; Brymn has a sense of humour, he is enthusiastic about his specialty and interests, he even lies when he thinks he should, to her and to his own kind--which all sounds very human, but his motives are entirely alien). He is an archaeologist who is investigating a series of disappearances occurring along a space lane which leads to his planet as well as to others. At one end of this lane--a wormhole-like technology that transects areas of space, enabling faster-than-light space travel--is the Chasm, a region of space where planets have somehow been denuded of life in the past.

Mac knows very little of this, but Brymn's visit triggers a series of incidents that draw her directly into the mystery: another alien species tries to kidnap her in the night, a human bureaucrat arrives who seems to be something other than what he claims to be, and intruders invade the living/research space of her base on the Canadian West Coast. For the sake of her species, and herself, Mac finds that she must join Brymn in his search for answers, and eventually leaves Earth in this quest.

But this novel isn't about an ordinary quest. It deals with the far-reaching issues of biological determinants in people who are otherwise intelligent, even among Mac's own colleagues.
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2 of 0 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and funny April 26, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I resisted reading this because the cover art annoyed me, but don't let that slow you down. This trilogy is great. It addresses the funniest parts of first contact with the horror of xenocide, while making real people out of most of its amazing characters. I'm picky about my science fiction and I read lots of it. Czerneda has a real winner here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Julie Czerneda's Survival is a rare blend of hard science fiction and exceptional characterization. Biologist author Julie Czerneda creates unusually believable aliens in her stores, and this first novel in a projected series 'Species Imperative' is no exception, building entire races and moving scenarios as it tells of an Earth scientist caught in interspecies struggles.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow But Enjoyable April 30, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Survival by Julie E. Czerneda is the first in the Species Imperative Trilogy about a mysterious eradication of clumps of civilization throughout the Interspecies Union. The book focuses on Mac, a biologist at an oceanic research center in the Pacific Northwest at some point in the future. Mac's a workaholic scientist, interested only in one thing, the study of salmon.

Her placid little world is interrupted when an unwelcome visitor arrives, a member of a species, the Dhryn, which has never set foot on Earth before. Yet, this member, whose name is Brymn, has not only come to Earth, but he insists on visiting Mac. The study of biology is forbidden to the Dhryn, but Brymn is an archaeologist who has noticed a strange pattern in the mysterious eradication of several colonies and he believes Mac is the only person who can help him prove that the attacks are related to the ancient enemy of the Dhryn, the Ro.

Mac resolutely refuses to get involved, preferring to remain on earth to continue her studies, until a nighttime attack results in the capture of Mac's best friend and fellow scientist Emily. An Interspecies Union representative, Nik, convinces Mac that she is also in danger and Mac ends up traveling with Brymn to the Dhryn home world.

If this all sounds confusing, it is, and I had to read the first few chapters a couple of times, and then constantly refer back to them until I had everything straight in my mind. There are long interludes of minutia broken up by fast and furious action passages, however, I really did enjoy the book and had a hard time putting it down.

I liked, first of all, the depiction of the scientific research engaged in by Mac and the other scientists in her community.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
book in good condition, amusing inventive story.
Published 22 days ago by brady stallings
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This author has a real gift for world building.
Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I really like this author a lot and this series
I really like this author a lot and this series, like all the others I've read, is engaging and keeps you interested.
Published 5 months ago by Shawn Morrison
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
The book, though initially daunting, was intriguing. The characters evolved with each new aspect. It seems that this will be an exciting series to continue reading. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Chevy
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi bio-thriller!
Super fun to read. It is very intense, and you end up caring so much about all the characters. Love the world-building. Shout-out to biologists everywhere!
Published 9 months ago by N. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting
This is the first of a trilogy and I read them all! I would recommend them to anyone interested in science fiction that doesn't have to do with war with the ETs. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Dolores J. Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Tight writing
This book starts a little slow, while Czerneda explores the life and researches of the main character. Read more
Published on June 22, 2012 by J. C. Good
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent view of alien sentience
Rarely does a writer capture my imagination as Czerneda can. Her prose is a lesson in character development. Read more
Published on May 24, 2012 by Sharon M. Steed
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Julie E. Czerneda
I am a big Julie E. Czerneda fan, a friend found Thousand Words for s Stranger in a used bookstore and read the whole series. Read more
Published on August 31, 2011 by Andromeda
2.0 out of 5 stars A severe disappointment
On page 443 (of 483 total), the protagonist says, "I don't begin to understand how we got here. . ." Yes, I knew exactly what she meant. I may have laughed out loud, in fact. Read more
Published on January 23, 2011 by Bradamant
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More About the Author

A love of reading turned into a love of writing for Julie E. Czerneda. A former biologist, then writer and editor of non-fiction, in 1997 DAW Books published Julie's first sf novel, "A Thousand Words for Stranger" and she hasn't stopped since. Her work has received international acclaim, multiple awards,and best-selling status. You'll find her work in anthologies as well, as she enjoys working with other writers. Julie is a popular speaker, whether on writing, science, or the use of science fiction to promote scientific literacy. Her recent adventures included being Guest of Honour for the national conventions of New Zealand and Australia, as well as Master of Ceremonies for Anticipation, the Montreal Worldcon. She'll be Guest of Honour at Chattacon, TN, February 2015.
Julie is currently writing the concluding trilogy to The Clan Chronicles, the SF series that began with her first novel. DAW Books has bought a further three titles in her fantasy series, Night's Edge.
For more on Julie's work and upcoming events, please visit
Oh, and when not writing or at conventions? Julie and her photographer husband grab their canoe and disappear into the glorious wilderness surrounding their central Ontario home.

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