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Warren Fahy, . . Delacorte, $25 (356pp) ISBN 978-0-553-80753-0

Fahy’s imaginative debut puts a fresh spin on the survival-of-prehistoric-beasts theme popularized by Jurassic Park . When members of the cable reality show SeaLife , aboard a ship in the South Pacific, respond to a distress beacon from Henders Island, several of the show’s scientists wind up slaughtered by bizarre animals on the remote island. In response, the U.S. government blockades Henders Island to contain the serious biothreat its unique fauna could pose to humanity. The ship’s botanist, Nell Duckworth, joins the investigative team, which quickly finds that arthropods on the island have evolved into sophisticated and ferocious life forms. Particularly memorable and frightening are the creatures Nell dubs “spigers,” which have eight legs and are “twice the size of a Bengal tiger.” Exciting debates on topics like the role of sexual reproduction in the development of life on Earth provide a sound scientific background. (June)