Saturday, June 27, 2009

I just finished Ivory by Mike Resnick.

I don't know if there is a term for this type of story, but I have seen other examples, like the movie The Red Violin. Basically, it tells a larger story about the last of the Maasai tracking down the tusks of a legendary large elephant through smaller stories of the people who owned them, or stole them, or tried to acquire them. In this case, the stories range from Mount Kilimanjaro in the 19th century to 7 milleniums in the future, and from Earth across the galaxy.

The main character is the researcher who helps the Maasai. The author tries to make that part of the story interesting by holding back why the Maasai wants the ivory, as well as adding some minor growth in the protagonist, but it's really just an excuse for the mini-stories. The researcher is portrayed as a great puzzle solver, but his work seems entirely to consist of asking his super-computer "Have you found and new data on the tusks yet?".

But that minor quibble aside, it's quite an enjoyable book.

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