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3.8 13
by John Varley

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Not content with investing his fortune and watching it grow, multibillionaire Howard Christian buys rare cars that he actually drives, acquires collectible toys that he actually plays with, and builds buildings that defy the imagination. But now his restless mind has turned to a new obsession: cloning a mammoth…

In a barren province of Canada, a mammoth


Not content with investing his fortune and watching it grow, multibillionaire Howard Christian buys rare cars that he actually drives, acquires collectible toys that he actually plays with, and builds buildings that defy the imagination. But now his restless mind has turned to a new obsession: cloning a mammoth…

In a barren province of Canada, a mammoth hunter financed by Christian has made the discovery of a lifetime: an intact frozen woolly mammoth. But what he finds during the painstaking process of excavating the huge creature baffles the mind. Huddled next to the mammoth is the mummified body of a Stone Age man around 12,000 years old. And he is wearing a wristwatch.

It looks like Howard Christian is going to get his wish—and more…

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“John Varley is the best writer in America.”—Tom Clancy

“[A] rollicking, bittersweet tale of time travel and ecology…Varley’s sparkling wit pulls one surprise after another out of this unconventional blend of science and social commentary.”—Publishers Weekly

“Terrific…H. G. Wells meets Jurassic Park.”—The Best Reviews

“[An] imaginative and engaging . . . writer . . . Varley is in top form.”San Francisco Chronicle

The Barnes & Noble Review
This novel from science fiction icon John Varley (The Ophiuchi Hotline, Steel Beach, the Gaea trilogy, et al.) is a time-travel adventure with a big, fat, hairy twist -- one that includes a two-ton baby woolly mammoth named Fuzzy that is 12,000 years from home.

When Howard Christian, a maverick billionaire, discovers what he believes to be a time-travel device next to an intact woolly mammoth in a remote Canadian territory, he gathers together world-renowned experts to help him achieve two very different -- and top-secret -- goals: to clone a new mammoth from the dead animal's frozen spermatozoa and to somehow unlock the secrets to the strange mechanism, which have the words "HAD A GOOD LIFE NO REGRE" scratched onto its metallic surface. He hires Dr. Susan Morgan to head the project that will implant the mammoth embryo in a modern-day elephant and assigns Matthew Wright, a genius mathematician, to figure out how the time-travel device works. What Christian doesn't tell them is that a mummified man and woman, dressed in Stone Age animal furs, were also found next to the mammoth and the time-travel device -- and the man was wearing a wristwatch!

In Mammoth, Varley is as outrageous and entertaining as ever -- and just when readers think they have this paradoxical mystery figured out, he throws in an elephantine plot twist guaranteed to drop jaws and boggle minds. Two tusks up. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
When eccentric megabillionaire Howard Christian commissions a hunt for a frozen mammoth in northern Manitoba to clone a new model in Varley's rollicking, bittersweet tale of time travel and ecology, he gets more than he bargained for: next to the 12,000-year-old beast his team unearths lies the body of a human being, wearing a wristwatch, with a metal box-a time machine?-nearby. Christian hires Matt Wright, Canada's top scientist on the physics of time, to fix the machine, and employs elephant vet Susan Morgan to oversee the cloning of a new mammoth. The machine hurls Matt and Susan back to the mammoth age, then forward again, along with a baby Columbian woolly mammoth, Fuzzy, whose engaging story cleverly alternates with Christian's indefatigable quest for personal fame. Varley's sparkling wit pulls one surprise after another out of this unconventional blend of science and social commentary with real people convincingly doing unreal things. Fuzzy, though, is the true hero, an irresistible 15-foot-tall reminder of the wonders of nature and imagination. The winner of numerous Hugo and Nebula awards, Varley (Millennium) should garner new laurels with this outstanding effort. Agent, Kirby McCauley at the Pimlico Agency. (June 7) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Although multibillionaire Howard Christian can afford anything, he has one wish-to recover and clone a mammoth. To that end, he hires science professor Matthew Wright to find a way to repair his time machine and solve a particular anomaly from the distant past involving a frozen mammoth, a Stone Age human, and a wristwatch. The author of Red Thunder excels in imaginative sf adventure, bringing together an intriguing premise and resourceful characters in a tale of mystery, suspense, and a voyage through time. A good addition to most sf collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From the author of Steel Beach (1992), etc., a yarn about time travel and-well, you guessed it. Mammoth-obsessed industrialist moneybags Howard Christian's team scours the Canadian permafrost for a mammoth carcass from which Howard hopes to clone a living example. They find a perfectly preserved specimen. Huddled against it is a frozen human, 12,000 years old. He's wearing a wrist watch. Nearby lies a briefcase. Howard summons super-geek physicist Matt Wright to his warehouse in California to examine the briefcase. Along with some bits of circuitry, it contains an array of spheres set in a sort of movable Rubik's Cube matrix. Howard proceeds with the mammoth-cloning program, hiring elephant expert Susan Morgan to oversee the pregnancy. Matt replicates the briefcase device but can't get anything to work. Some nutty animal-rights fanatics break into the warehouse. One takes a whack at a time machine-and Matt, Susan, the warehouse and the elephants arrive 12,000 years in the past! Though the elephants head off for pastures new, there are plenty of real mammoths around. In an inspired moment, Matt manipulates the spheres and brings himself, Susan and several mammoths back to the present. Varley tells us a children's story about one of the survivors, Little Fuzzy, in alternate chapters. Soon, mysterious agents kidnap Matt and relentlessly interrogate him about the time machine, but even he can't figure it out. Can the past or the present be changed? Who invented the time machine? And who is fated to die 12,000 years in the past?Sometimes amusing and informative but more often barely tepid, with stock characters, a contrived mess of a plot and ideas that refuse to delve beneath the superficial.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.98(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

John Varley is the author of the Gaean Trilogy (Titan, Wizard, and Demon), Steel Beach, The Golden Globe, Red Thunder, and Mammoth. He has won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his work.

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Mammoth 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Johny556 More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, I do not read allot of sci-fi, but this takes the cake, crazy Billionare, time travel, mammoths, LAZERS! What more does one need? Nothing this is perfect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book to read by the pool. Enjoyed thoroughly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like most of Varley's work, this novel has a crisp style and interesting story. It kept me entertained throughout and I devoured it quickly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Varley is good science fiction writer but this book, which I could hardly wait to get and read, was disappointing. The beginning and the end were up to Varley's standards. It was the middle of the book that made you turn pages one after the other without reading them. A lot of information that was not relevent to anything and when it was relevent, it was boring. The concept is great but it needed more creative development.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Multibillionaire Howard Christian is known for a lack of patience and obsession when he sets a stretch goal. Currently, he has his team searching Nunavent Territory, Canada in a quest to find a wooly mammoth, which they do thanks to the Inuit. Howard wants to clone one with his plan to use the bull¿s testicles to provide DNA to have expert Dr. Susan Morgan in vitro fertilize an elephant.................... However, a corpse by the frozen mammoth reveals two startling developments, a body with a wristwatch on and a brief case with words in English etched on it. Meanwhile Howard hires the world¿s leading mathematical physicist on time theories Professor Matthew Wright to lead a team repairing a time machine that Howard possesses. As Matthew and Susan wonders what is gong on and who is the corpse with the watch, they ponder what Howard¿s true agenda actually is.......................... MAMMOTH is a terrific science fiction thriller with a fabulous final twist that will shock the audience. The story line grips the audience who will wonder along with the two leading scientists why Howard is pushing both paths and how the briefcase and watch got to the prehistoric epoch mindful of a classic EC comic involving modern day scientists and the first creature trying to leave the sea. The cast is a delight as the prime players seem real, but it is the science in which John Varley has HG Wells meets Jurassic Park that hooks the audience....................... Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would like to see John Varleys "GAEAN TRILOGY" on my "NOOK", I READ THEM EVERY FOUR OR FIVE YEARS. The story keeps getting better...
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an outstanding book that used the native lanscape. I thought I knew where he was going only to be sent for a spin.Bravo! John Varley built great characters with everday flaws and needs. How many kinds of Mammoths are there? Did early man eat them? What is the gestation of an elephant? Read and learn!
NYMuseum More than 1 year ago
I tried several times to continue reading the story but could not get interested in such a tar pit plot so I decided that fate should take a hand and I left it on a subway seat.