creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

11 Oct 2010

Ancestor - Scott Sigler

This novel is great!

Now, let's cut the whole mini synopsis thing and go to what really interests me: how this novel compares to Jurassic Park. Because let's face it, everything that has to do with genetic engineering gone lethally out of control will be compared to Jurassic Park.

Let's see:

  • Setting: an isolated island. Check.
  • Limited number of people on the island. Check. Most of them die; double check. All the designated bad guys die; triple check.
  • There's a hurricane-level (or rather, blizzard-level) storm at some point. Check.
  • There's genetic engineering going on. Check.
    • HOWEVER, while JP's geneticists made dinosaurs from preserved DNA, the ancestors were actually made from scratch and from genetic projections... the book explains it better
    • Also: the genetic engineering going on is financed by a company, and there's some trouble on the company's financial horizon. While industrial espionage and running from the international hand of the law aren't quite in the same league, CHECK.
  • Everything would have gone well if someone hadn't fucked up repeatedly. Check.
    • Mind you, in JP Nedry's the sole responsible person for the disaster (in my opinion), whereas in Ancestor... Person A messed up with the design, person B messed up by enabling the monsters to live, person C is sociopathic, person D is an all-around asshole - the list goes on.
  • Sex! Actually, JP didn't have any sexing up going on (except for the dinos, but that was behind the... foliage). Nevermind.
  • Sort of ominous and open-ended story: check.
Final verdict: Ancestor is better than Jurassic Park. The science is better, there's a bunch of current references that amused me (including a jab at H1N1 and a recurring gag involving porn-y vampire romance novels), it's very fast-paced and gory, and quoth the Advance Praise on the back of the book:
"Michael Crichton has a worthy successor in Scott Sigler.... Ancestor takes thriller and science fiction conventions and slams them together to make something new and fascinating [...]" - Simon R. Green

1 comment:

  1. Soph, I'm glad you enjoyed ANCESTOR! However, for the real archetype of "bad things on an island," you might dial-in the wayback machine to THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, published in 1896. A key to writing horror is isolation. If you have monsters, you either need that remote house in the woods, that town of rejects that won't let you get to a phone (or the highway), that haunted house that magically locks the doors, or -- you guessed it -- an island. Any story where you can walk out your door, get in your car and drive away as you call 911 just doesn't make for a compelling read.