PYR, Sep 2007, $15.00
In 6303, Braxton's Records of Big Game senior researcher Duncan Rojas knows why he relishes his work on a wasteland where the biggest surviving animal besides the few humans like himself is a small rodent. His vocation enables Duncan to dream of a better earth where large mammals lived instead of being extinct or like most Homo sapiens deserted the planet for other worlds leaving behind a dying orb.
Thus when the apparent last Maasai, a race most thought long gone, Bukoba Mandaka, offers him a large some of money to locate the legendary vanished tusks of the long extinct Kilimanjaro Elephant, he would have agreed even without the cash. Over three millennia ago the last known tusks weighing easily over 200 pounds vanished. Although he tries to learn his client’s motive as this will be an expensive project, Mandaka declines to give any further explanation. Still the challenge awakens Rojas from an ennui that had left him almost as dead inside as the planet. As Rojas follows clues through time and worlds with deadly adversaries competing for the prize, he begins to truly appreciate what was lost when man abused his stewardship of the planet as he learns how magnificent Africa once was through the people he meets and ultimately the majestic Kilimanjaro Elephant.
IVORY is science fiction at its best as the tale works on multiple levels with the most prevalent being a cautionary thriller warning people that what we do today has impact on all the tomorrows. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with non stop action as Rojas travels back and forth through time and across the galaxy in his quest while rivals less scrupulous want him eliminated. However, even with a terrific hero and excellent eccentric support characters that make the pit stops eras and places seem genuine; the Kilimanjaro Elephant owns Mike Resnick’s thriller as the magnificent animal even in a limited appearance serves as the symbolic warning of man’s reign ending with a disposable planet dying.