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The Carnivore   By: (1925-)

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The Carnivore by Katherine MacLean is a fascinating and thought-provoking science fiction novel that takes readers on a thrilling journey to an unknown world. Set in a distant future, the story offers a unique perspective on humanity's relationship with nature and the consequences of technological advancements.

The narrative follows the main character, Sarah, a skilled biologist who has been given the opportunity to explore an alien planet teeming with strange and exotic flora and fauna. As she delves deeper into her research, Sarah becomes increasingly fascinated by the planet's apex predator, the carnivorous plant at the heart of the story.

MacLean's writing is rich in detail and beautifully paints a vivid image of the alien world. From the lush landscapes to the vibrant creatures that inhabit them, each scene is brought to life with breathtaking descriptions. The author's extensive knowledge of biology is also apparent throughout the novel, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the story.

What sets this book apart is its exploration of ethical dilemmas and the implications of scientific progress. As Sarah unravels the mysteries of the carnivorous plant, she begins to question the consequences of her actions and the potential harm she may be inflicting on the delicate ecosystem. This introspection raises thought-provoking questions about the limits of scientific discovery and the importance of ecological harmony.

The characters in The Carnivore are well-developed and relatable. Sarah is a strong and intelligent protagonist whose internal struggles make her journey all the more engaging. The supporting characters bring depth to the story, each with their own motivations and convictions that contribute to the overall narrative.

While the pacing of the novel is generally steady, there are moments when the narrative becomes slightly slow, particularly during the more technical passages. However, MacLean's skillful world-building and the looming sense of danger ensure that readers will remain engrossed in the story.

Overall, The Carnivore is a captivating and thought-provoking science fiction novel that combines elements of biology, ethics, and adventure to deliver a unique reading experience. MacLean's writing style and rich imagination create a world that feels both familiar and alien, leaving readers with plenty to ponder long after they've turned the final page.

First Page:

the carnivore


Illustrated by BURCHARD

Why were they apologetic? It wasn't their fault that they came to Earth much too late.

The beings stood around my bed in air suits like ski suits, with globes over their heads like upside down fishbowls. It was all like a masquerade, with odd costumes and funny masks.

I know that the masks are their faces, but I argue with them and find I think as if I am arguing with humans behind the masks. They are people. I recognize people and whether I am going to like this person or that person by something in the way they move and how they get excited when they talk; and I know that I like these people in a motherly sort of way. You have to feel motherly toward them, I guess.

They all remind me of Ronny, a medical student I knew once. He was small and round and eager. You had to like him, but you couldn't take him very seriously. He was a pacifist; he wrote poetry and pulled it out to read aloud at ill timed moments; and he stuttered when he talked too fast.

They are like that, all fright and gentleness.

I am not the only survivor they have explained that but I am the first they found, and the least damaged, the one they have chosen to represent the human race to them. They stand around my bed and answer questions, and are nice to me when I argue with them... Continue reading book >>

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