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Natural Selection Hardcover – June 28, 2006
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
From Publishers Weekly
The sea monster "Demonray," who makes landfall in Freedman's far-fetched but entertaining debut, possesses all the predatory features to provide maximum chills. It's got a big brain, big wings, big teeth and a big purpose: to devour anything in its path, including humans. Harry Ackerman, a jaded millionaire whose Manta World (think Jurassic Park) failed when all his captive manta rays died, learns about the sighting of a mysterious flying ray and dispatches a staff of young scientists led by ichthyologist Jason Aldridge, "the next Jacques Cousteau," to investigate. What they find is no ordinary airborne ray, but an amphibious "new order" that has the potential to wipe out mankind. The exciting, science-packed hunt moves quickly but slows down once the crew encounters the Demonray in Northern California's Redwood National Park. Culminating in a cartoonish showdown, this Michael Crichton adventure wanna-be suffers from other odd plot elements, unconvincing romance and pedestrian prose, but it might make an awesome beach read. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This debut novel changes before your very eyes. It begins as an implausible riff on Jurassic Park, with carnivorous rays (those big, flat sea creatures) standing in for the dinosaurs. But somewhere along the way, something remarkable happens to the story: you start believing it. Is it the author's enthusiasm, or his characters, or his research? Whatever the reason, there comes a moment when you feel the first twinge of fear, and then you realize that you're buying into this story of giant, prehistoric rays that have learned to fly (yes, fly, in the air) and are now hunting on land. Some of the imagery--shapes swooping out of the blackness, rays as big as hang gliders hovering in midair--evoke a visceral terror in the reader. And the protagonists, a research crew struggling to figure out what these creatures are--and then running for their lives from them--are a likable bunch. Okay, so bits of the story are a little shopworn, like the financially strapped theme-park owner who sends the crew of plucky young scientists out to find the creatures, but in the end, this hardly matters. Like all the best horror authors, Freedman takes his story well beyond the safety of camp; by making it believable, he makes it genuinely terrifying--and when that happens, large audiences follow. Don't be surprised if giant flying fish are the talk of the summer. Keep watching the skies. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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What still stands out most in my memory was the timeline. I liked the steady progression of the evolution / discovery that didn't happen overnight. It made the book different from the other monster books and built up a very satisfying suspense.
Most of the characters were believable although a bit predictable including the love story. And I was able to see the betrayal a mile away due to the characterisation. However, most importantly, none of that annoyed me enough to distract from the monsters and story.
The monsters scenes were great - even if the blood and gore were at a minimum. They were believable from my point of view. I still cringe remembering the killer whale scene.
Since I'm not a scientist I can't say anything of the actual quality, but the execution was perfect as it blended well into the story.
This is a story I could reread.
I had no problem with suspension of disbelief, as far as the creatures were concerned—the monsters were very unique—and I liked the characters.
But I have to say, it did remind me of the old 1950s Lone Ranger TV show—where 100s of bullets and arrows were fired—and they never ran out of ammo. They must have had a golf caddy following them around full of arrows and bullets to keep them supplied.
Plus, even Legolas—of LOTR fame—couldn't simultaneously shoot three clay pigeons (skeet) out the air with a bow and arrow on one throw. One clay pigeon, I could have believed, but three? Please. A long-bow is not an automatic weapon.
But read it—it’s a fun read—I recommend it. Really.
The last 1/4 of this book is really good. Tons of action with some very good suspense. It took me maybe 2 weeks to get through the first 250 pages but read the end of it a three sitting span. So if this book would of kept up the action more then it would of been a 5 star rating for sure. Other than those few problems I did enjoy this and would recommend it to creature readers.
Most recent customer reviews
There should be a series!!! Absolutely loved it.