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Primeval: Extinction Event
Dan Abnett
Titan Books, 351 pages

Primeval: Extinction Event
Dan Abnett
Dan Abnett lives and works in Maidstone, Kent. After graduating from Oxford, he worked for a while as an editor of comics and children's books before turning to writing full time. In the dozen or so years since then, he has written for such a diverse range of characters -- including Scooby Doo, Thunderbirds, Conan the Barbarian, the X-Men, Johnny Bravo, Batman, Rupert the Bear, Dr Who, Mr Men, The Terminator and Postman Pat -- that he is now clinically bewildered. He created the popular series Sinister Dexter, which he continues to write, along with other strips, for 2000 AD, and has recently helped rejuvenate the Legion of Superheroes for DC Comics.

Dan Abnett Website
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SF Site Interview: A Conversation With Dan Abnett
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SF Site Review: Ravenor
SF Site Review: Riders of the Dead

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

'The water was full of them, wallowing down, heads raised, tails going, hind feet kick-paddling. The cacophony of hooting and splashing sounded like a colliery band going through a car wash.'
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Many readers will be familiar with the British TV show Primeval, that deals with anomalies, holes in time, which allow creatures from the age of the dinosaurs, and occasionally things from the future, to cross into the present. At the time of writing this review the TV show has returned for another series, with lots of glitz but minus pivotal characters. The good news, is that the Primeval book franchise is following its own path, and that means characters are still available.

Dan Abnett is a great fit for this world, being the kind of writer who is able to tightly focus his imagination, and squeeze the most out of characterisation. Although using a main cast that is not his own, the characters he adds have substance and purpose. No cardboard cut-outs here, and surprisingly few red-shirts. In this version of Primeval, the scientist Nick Cutter and his wayward, time traveling wife, Helen, are both still pursuing their own agendas. On the printed page, the Cutters are well drawn as vibrant people, brilliant and passionate about their views, yet poles apart. The sidekicks, Connor and Abbey, play effective supporting roles, if somewhat predictably. Only the crew of the ARC are pedestrian, but Abnett does what he can with limited material, and the result is acceptable. Where this book shines, is in how the building blocks of the story are put together, and in its visualisation. Abnett has the skills to make the less than original scenario of man versus dinosaur seem fresh, visceral and gloriously cinematic. The extinction event of the title refers to is the big one; the comet strike that ended the reign of the dinosaurs. Why is that important to the events in the here and now? Because, in Siberia, specifically the Tunguska region, a giant, semi-permanent anomaly is connecting the days directly before the end of the dinosaurs, to the present. The details are slowly revealed as Cutter and crew, kidnapped by Russian special forces and flown to Siberia, use their specialist expertise to uncover a deadly truth. What follows is a race, literally against time, to save the future from the past.

Extinction Event reminded me of all that originally appealed about the TV show, but with the unlimited budget of imagination based special effects. This, combined with Abnett's tight plotting and pacey story telling, made it a cracking read. The book can be read as part of a collection, but also works as a stand-alone story. I can recommend it to existing fans of Primeval, those looking for an introduction to the world, and to readers who simply enjoy man versus dinosaur adventures.

For readers who are interested in authors, Dan Abnett has one of the more unusual and entertaining biographies, available on his web site.

Copyright © 2011 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at www.inkdigital.org.


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