The Tusks of Extinction

Tor.com. Jan. 2024. 112p. ISBN 9781250855527. $26.99. SF
Dr. Damira Khismatullina is the world’s premier expert on elephant behavior in the wild when she and her entire team are murdered by ivory poachers as the last herds of wild elephants are slaughtered for their tusks. It is the end of the elephants’ story, and it should be Damira’s as well. But her consciousness was uploaded before she died and now has been downloaded into the matriarch of a herd of mammoths, recreated in a lab in a de-extinction experiment. Damira leads the mammoths well, and they thrive, until greed brings new poachers to the taiga to take their ivory. But Damira is much better armed as a mammoth, and she is determined that this time the fight will end differently—even at the cost of the last shreds of her remembered humanity. That so much of the story is told through the eyes of Damira gives it a gut punch of an ending.
VERDICT Nayler’s (The Mountain in the Sea) compelling sci-fi thriller contemplates human greed and de-extinction through science. Highly recommended for readers of ecoterrorism thrillers and climate fiction.
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