The Barnes & Noble Review
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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