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Ivory by Mike Resnick

Ivory (original 1988; edition 1989)

by Mike Resnick

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247546,499 (3.77)4
Authors:Mike Resnick
Info:London: Century, 1989, c1988. [384]p cased
Collections:Your library, books
Tags:L63, fiction, Nebula final novel 1989, Michael Whelan cover, uploaded cover

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Ivory by Mike Resnick (1988)



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Showing 5 of 5
Ivory is a Science Fiction tale spanning millennia with some fantasy trappings. The science fiction parts include extraterrestrial aliens and human colonies spanning the galaxy. The fantasy aspect includes a long dead prophetic shaman, vague mystical abilities, and the ghost of an immense elephant.
Duncan Rojas, an almost totally emotionless and asocial researcher whose day job is to authenticate hunting trophies, is hired by Bukoba Mandaka, the last member of the Maasai tribe to locate a pair of 7,000 year old elephant tusks. Through flashbacks to events uncovered by Rojas using an extremely sophisticated computer, the history of the tusks is revealed although the reason Mandaka wants them is not until near the end of the story.
I found this to be an imaginative and engaging story. The premise is certainly different although the mix of science fiction and fantasy seemed a bit awkward to me. I especially had a hard time with the elephant spirit, which is never really explained, other than it is the ghost of an immense and very intelligent elephant who wants its tusks back. What it really is, how it came to be, or what it means is only vaguely alluded to. The characters are interestingly quirky but do not provoke much in the way of empathy. The two main characters are about as emotionless as the computer Rojas used for his research. They are both compulsively driven to accomplish their mission, Rojas by choice and Mandaka because of his belief that he has no choice but neither is engagingly human.
The book is well written and compelling. Once the mystery of the tusks is presented, you want to find out what happened to them and some of the flashbacks, almost short stories in themselves, are quite enjoyable.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
In the far future, the last Maasai hires the best researcher, the cold Rojas, to find the tusks of the Kilimanjaro Elephant. Rojas’s search takes him from the nineteenth century on Earth to the rest of the galaxy. As he searches, he uncovers past tragedies, treachery, and always, another clue to the tusks. At last, Rojas and Mandaka reach the end of their quest. It’s well written, but I never felt a pull to read it. It is not an engrossing work. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
What I love about Mike Resnick, among other things, is his non-pretentious prose style. He doesn't write like he has a dictionary out to look up the fanciest words for saying everything in an attempt to impress you. Instead, he just finds the right words to tell the story. So you don't need to read his books with a dictionary next to you either, and his books work for readers of all ages.This book, one of several inspired by his love of and travels through Africa, is the story of Duncan Rojas and Bukoba Mandanka and the tusks of the Kilimanjaro Elephant, the largest to ever exist. Rojas, a researcher for Braxton's Records of Big Game, is hired by Mandaka, the last living Masaai, to find the tusks which he believes are the secret to his people's lost power. While he won't explain why he needs them, he is paying handsomely, and Rojas cannot resist a good mystery.As he researches the tusks with the help of his trusty computer, Rojas learns the stories of various people and aliens who have possessed them over time. The tusks have quite a colorful history, as does the elephant himself, and the stories are fascinating and rich with characters, world building, history and solid plotting.The chapters run long, something I myself am guilty of, but that's because each chapter contains a historical story and a section about Rojas' research in the present as he learns the history.In the end, the story raises powerful questions about tradition, faith, and mythology. As is typical of Resnick, the conclusion leaves us to provide our own answers, and there is certainly a lot to think about which resonates with you long after the book has been closed.A not to be missed, rich story. Thoroughly enjoyable and compelling. For what it's worth... ( )
  BryanThomasS | Nov 7, 2011 |
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
Thousands of years in the future, the last Maasai has paid a researcher to find the tusks of the Kilimanjaro Elephant, killed in the last years of the 19th century. The tusks have changed hands many times over the milleniums, and thus this story jumps back and forth and all throughout the galaxy as Rojas, our dogged researcher, tracks them down. Most of the characters are colorful and intriguing - Resnick's opinion is that humankind will stay stubbornly the same even as our technology changes and advances. Both adventurous and lyrical. ( )
  emitnick | Aug 11, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mike Resnickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Carol, as always

And to Perry Mason, the best damned guide in East Africa
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812500423, Paperback)

In the year 6303, Duncan Rojas receives a most unusual visitor. The last of the Masai, Mandaka searches for the tusks of a legendary elephant. Through the quest, Rojas catches a glimpse of the elusive power of Africa and the magic surrounding the greatest hunting trophy ever taken.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:02 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In the year 6303, when earth is bare of anything larger than an insect or a mouse and most people have left for the stars, Duncan Rojas receives a most unusual visitor. His name is Bukoba Mandaka, and he is the last of the Maasai. Mandaka wants Rojas, senior researcher for Braxton's Records of Big Game, to find the tusks of the Kilimanjaro Elephant, tusks that weigh over 200 lb. each. Why? Mandaka will not say, but he will pay enormous sums for them. And Rojas cannot resist the challenge of tracing something lost for 3000 years. Back and forth through time, in card games, wars, and rivalries, Rojas searches. But as he begins to glimpse the elusive, lost power of ancient Africa, he is seduced, and before long the quest has become his own.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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