Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future
Mike Resnick. Pyr, $15 (322pp) ISBN 978-1-59102-546-7
First published in 1998, this episodic novel showcases Hugo-winner Resnick's strengths and weaknesses. Thousands of years in the future, after most wildlife on Earth is extinct and humans have spread to distant stars, the last descendent of the Maasai tribe hires a researcher to locate the massive tusks of the Kilimanjaro Elephant. The search dominates the book, showing the passionless scholar's growing identification with his employer's quest as it echoes the elephant's spiritual journey toward the sacred mountain, but most of the book consists of vignettes about the various entities who have possessed the tusks. Resnick's fluent writing and respect for African cultures and wildlife make for some smoothly ironic glimpses of people who imagined they ""owned"" the ivory, but several pieces are facile little gimmick stories, clever enough for fast reading but essentially just filling gaps in the tale's chronology. Overall, this is a very pleasant read that just misses being truly memorable.
Reviewed on: 07/30/2007