Saturday, January 11, 2014

Before Adam (Jack London)

Before Adam
Jack London
Public Domain Books
Fiction, Adventure/Sci-Fi
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Since childhood, a man's dreams have taken him into a distant ancestor's life. He recounts here the experiences of Big-Tooth, a protohuman in the savage wilderness of the Mid-Pliocene, who battles predator and starvation and even his own species for survival.

REVIEW: Though based on outdated models of human evolution, this story nevertheless creates an adventurous, danger-filled world with various "tribes" of primitive hominids. Interestingly, London chose to portray not the more advanced "Fire People," who have developed weapons and rudimentary language, but a less-advanced primate whose kin vacillate between arboreal and terrestrial existence, casting some question over which lineage eventually led to modern Homo Sapiens. But, then, neither the narrator nor Big-Tooth claim to be scholars; they simply relate their experiences as their shared memory recorded it, admitting that there are simply too many gaps and too many puzzles to ever find true answers. The story itself wanders, with glimpses of human impulses often overshadowed by animal leanings among Big-Tooth and his kind - the man-to-be still grappling with the beast-that-was. Still, I found it intriguing for what it was, and it successfully killed a couple afternoons.

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Wolf Brother (Michelle Paver) - My Review

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