Hunter's Run


George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham


Science Fiction / Fantasy


Date Reviewed:

March 16, 2009

read this whole book in one day, so it certainly is interesting enough to keep the reader turning the 300 pages. It is surprising that three different authors could work together to produce such a good story, a lot of collaborations suffer from a lack of a single story teller.

Hunter's Run is a science fiction story set in a future where humans are exploring and settling on new planets. Ramon Espejo is a prospector on the world of Sao Paulo, an earth like world that is mostly unexplored. Due to a violent crime that Ramon commits, he decides to take his flying prospecting van far out into the unexplored wilderness and hide out until the police cool down. After flying up to deep into virgin territory, Ramon discovers an alien race that is also hiding out in the wilderness. The aliens are desperate to remain their secrecy, and Ramon's van is soon destroyed and the aliens are pursuing him. What follows is an adventure tale, as Ramon tries to make his way back to human civilization, while the aliens are determined to prevent that from happening.

I wish this book had spent more time with the aliens. The hidden civilization seems intriguing from the glimpses we are given of it. Equally intriguing are the Enye, the aliens who's starships have command of space travel. This book seems deliberately designed for a movie treatment - low number of characters, aliens that are bipedal/human form (so they could be protrayed by a guy in a suit, rather than expensive CGI graphics), an earthlike world so the action could be filmed right in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It might make a good movie if it focused on the suspense, and on the survival tricks and traps that Ramon employs as he tries to get back to freedom.

Given the potential wonders of stem cells, it doesn't seem implausible that an advanced alien race could regrow a complete organism from a fragment of cells taken from the original. But how would the newly grown organism obtain the memories, skills, and behavior of the original creature? The authors don't address this huge flaw in the plot. Also, although a new organism might be grown from cells, the new organism would not bear the same scars and injuries that the original suffered. I thought this theory was dis-proved back in the 18th century, when a scientist cut off the tails of all the rats in a population, yet discovered that each new generation was always born with full length tails. Our DNA does not store a record of our life experiences.

Another puzzling plot point is the aliens level of pursuit. They fear that discovery could lead to destruction of their civilization, so why don't they marshall all their forces and technologies in a massive manhunt? Why do they only send a lone agent after Ramon when so much hangs in the balance?

Wouldn't law enforcement in the future have unbeatable truth detection drugs or technology? Hard to believe anyone in the future would believe unreliable witnesses.

This book reminded me of Wilderness, by Roger Zelazny. Despite the fact Zelzany is a SF writer, Wilderness is a true life story of two mountain men in the American West each who survived a harrowing journey through the American wilderness to return to civilization. Especially the story of John Colter, who was captured by the Blackfeet, and then released naked with 150 warriors pursuing him. That's an amazing story.