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Natural Selection by Dave Freedman
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Natural Selection

by Dave Freedman

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174None68,073 (3.27)5
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Italics abuse. Bad attributions and constant use of full names. An altogether too-predictable plot. This was targeted as a beach read, I'm sure, but really, it was targeted more to inflame every one of my bookish sore spots, even when adjusted for "trashy monster novel" status. And I love trashy monster novels.When you're far more interested in the psychology and character development of the monster than the protagonists, you know something's wrong. Particularly when it's obvious that this wasn't intentional... ( )
  candlemark | Jul 18, 2011 |
Great read! I couldn't put it down. ( )
  Caneil | Mar 3, 2008 |
A little far-fetched, but gripping. ( )
  roninc30 | Feb 13, 2008 |
This book requires some serious suspension of disbelief to get around all the silly little science mistakes, which is ironic given the great lengths that the author goes to in laying out the possibility of a huge leap in evolution and then turns around and makes literally dozens of little mistakes that even *I* knew were not sound scientifically and I'm totally NOT a science geek. That said, Natural Selection is beyond a shadow of a doubt an exhilarating, fun, and frightening read...but ONLY if you can overlook the gaping holes in the science, if you can do that you are golden. Probably if you regularly watch Sci-Fi movies with giant sharks or squid and enjoy them you can read this and enjoy it knowing it's wrong but loving the idea and enjoying the "what if" of it anyway.

In Natural Selection the cast of characters includes four scientists (two women and two men), a photographer of questionable morals, a desperate business man, and a species of rays that is in an evolve or die circumstance. Our intrepid scientists (a couple...both former military working to bankroll a future family, a driven Type A personality, and a free spirit who just wants to do her own thing) are out doing field work (along with the photographer) for the business man. They are initially working on the reason why their multi-million dollar Manta World went belly up (literally, all the manta's died). When a report comes in of a possible new manta, Ackerman (our desperate business man) immediately sends the team off in search of this elusive new species and thus begins our adventure into a dangerous new world.

The characters here are only slightly more developed than broad caricatures which makes them easy enough to recognize and identify with, at least on a superficial level. Because they are not more developed though, I never really found myself caring for or identifying with any of them in a real way. It was more like guessing which ones were going to be picked off and in what order (as I do with those same movies I spoke of above). There were many changes of perspective and it often switched more than once in a chapter, which made a little choppiness in the flow. I did like that we saw things from the perspective of different characters as well as the manta themselves, this was an additional and much appreciated layer to the story and meant that while the ray were predators to be sure, there was something more behind it than just "oh, they are evil." There was meant to be a large twist and surprise, but I figured it out less than halfway through the book...and for a group of brilliant scientists, they were pretty darn stupid not to figure it out WAY sooner themselves.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Natural Selection...it was a real page turner once I was able to put on my science blinders and just go with the premise and not sweat the small details. The idea of an ideally adapted deep water predator making a huge evolutionary leap and becoming basically a giant bird with razor sharp teeth and gaping maw large enough to bite a man in half (or close to it) is terrifying. I will look forward to seeing what Freedman comes up with for his next book since his first effort was delightful. Let's hope he improves his technique and does a bit more research the next time out! I rate it four stars, I'd recommend it for anyone looking for a light read that is also good scare. Not a bad way to spend an evening or two. ( )
  the_hag | Dec 30, 2007 |
Okay, I've spent enough time on Amazon to have seen plenty of ranting, hyperbolic book reviews. That said--and in all seriousness--this is the worst book I have ever read. And it pains me to say that. I've been looking forward to reading Natural Selection for months. I have a background in marine biology (Smithsonian Institution) and was the editor of a scuba magazine for years. Simply put, there's absolutely nothing I love more than a good, trashy, sea monster novel. I'm not a snob about these things. But Natural Selection was just terrible in every way and on every level that it is possible for a book to be terrible.

The characters are all one-dimensional. Each one has a motivation that can be summed up in a single sentence. And just in case you don't get it, the sentence is repeated over and over. One character has trust issues. A married couple wants to save money to start a family (because two gainfully employed professionals can't possibly get pregnant without a bankroll). Another man wants the respect of his peers. That is all you really need to know.

As unbelievable as the characters are, the dialog is even worse. It is simply horrifying. You don't believe me. You need to see. [...]

But worse than the tissue paper-thin characters, worse than the laughable dialog, is just the sheer stupidity of this novel. Yes, part of the problem is that I actually know a lot about marine biology. And biology. And anything. God, this book is dumb! Biologist A suggests using thermal imaging equipment to find the flying killer manta and biologist B asks, "What's that?" Um, duh. Not to mention that it's a cold-blooded animal with a body temp that matches its surroundings! Yes, that sounds nit-picky, but page after page of stupidity just adds up. And the writing and editing is so sloppy! [...]

I realize that there are dumb books out there. I know there's a market. I've read and thoroughly enjoyed many. But this book is just BAD. [...]Don't waste your money! ( )
  suetu | Aug 22, 2007 |
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Book description
A shocking biological discovery.
A previously unknown predatory species.
Evolving just like the dinosaurs. Now. Today.
Being forced out of its world and into man's for a violent first encounter.


Weaving science and thriller in a way not seen since Jurassic Park, Natural Selection introduces a phenomenally dangerous new species that is rapidly adapting in a way never before seen...

A mystery. A chase. A vast, expansive puzzle. A team of marine scientists is on the verge of making the most stunning discovery in the history of man. In their quest for answers, they engage a host of fascinating characters. The world's premier neurology expert. A specialist on animal teeth. Flight simulation wizards, evolution historians, deep sea geologists, and so many more. Along the way, the team of six men and women experience love, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal. Together they set off to exotic locales. Literally to the bottom of the ocean. To a vast and mysterious redwood forest. To an unknown complex of massive caves. When people start dying, the stakes are upped even further. Then the real hunt begins...

Loaded with astonishing action sequences, Natural Selection is that rare breed of thriller, filled with intricately layered research, real three-dimensional characters, and tornado pacing.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786893923, Mass Market Paperback)

A shocking biological discovery. A previously unknown predatory species. Evolving just like the dinosaurs. Now. Today. Being forced out of its world and into man's for a violent first encounter. Weaving science and thriller in a way not seen since Jurassic Park, Natural Selection introduces a phenomenally dangerous new species that is rapidly adapting in a way never before seen A mystery. A chase. A vast expansive puzzle. A team of marine scientists is on the verge of making the most stunning discovery in the history of man. In their quest for answers, they engage a host of fascinating characters. The world's premier neurology expert. A specialist on animal teeth. Flight simulation wizards, evolution historians, deep sea geologists, and so many more. Along the way, the team of six men and women experience love, friendship, loyalty and betrayal. Together, they set off to exotic locales. Literally to the bottom of the ocean. To a vast and mysterious redwood forest. To an unknown complex of massive caves. When people start dying, the stakes are upped even further. Then the real hunt begins ... Loaded with astonishing action sequences, Natural Selection is that rare breed of thriller, filled with intricately layered research, real three-dimensional characters, and tornado pacing.

Dave Freedman lives in Southern California with his wife. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Princeton and a master's degree from Harvard. Natural Selection is his first novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A team of marine scientists is on the verge of making the most stunning discovery in the history of man. In their quest for answers, the six men and women experience love, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal. When people start dying, the stakes are upped even further. Then the real hunt begins.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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