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Hunter's Run Paperback – 2 Jun 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; paperback / softback edition (2 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007260229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007260225
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Hunter’s Run is a good old-fashioned adventure story in which one man is pitted against the law, the elements, terrifying creatures, and himself … gripping and enjoyable’ Lisa Tuttle, The Times

‘Intriguing … dark and gritty … the Byzantine political intrigue bears Martin’s hallmark, and although it’s not fantasy, those awaiting the next instalment of his Song of Ice and Fire sequence could do worse than pick this up’ DeathRay

‘Adventure here meets psychological development and a rich setting’ Sunday Age (Australia)

‘An action-packed sci-fi tale, which questions what makes us human’ Glasgow Herald

From the Inside Flap

In a fight outside a bar Ramon Espejo kills a man. Next day, all hell breaks loose. The dead man was a big shot, a diplomat on a mission to the out-world of Sao Paulo. Ramon goes on the run, heading north toward unexplored territory, land so far only glimpsed from orbit during the first colony surveys.

Ramon has gone from being nothing in the hills of Mexico to being nothing on Sao Paulo. He makes a bare living prospecting for minerals. Maybe God meant him to be poor, or he wouldn't have made him so mean. He can't even remember why he killed the European, only the drinking, and the rage that followed.

Better to be alone in the wild landscape ... off the map, beyond law and civilisation. Each trip out he's sure will be the big one that'll make him rich. This one, too.

Instead he finds something else, something terrifying. Or rather, it finds him, and uses him: as humans are used by species more intelligent than themselves. But Ramon Espejo is about to prove what a man is capable of. Ramon is about to demonstrate what it is to be human; to be angry, intelligent and alive. And he is about to discover his function in the broad flow of the universe. And why it was he killed the diplomat in the first place ... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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I have to confess, up front, that I am no sci-fi buff. I don't, normally read the genre of sci-fi that's set in the future or on alien planets etc although I do read a fair amount of the genre that is set in some quasi-medieval period in a sort of 'Middle Earth'. As such, I am an avid George RR Martin fan (A Song of Ice & Fire series) and Daniel Abraham (both the Long Price quartet and the Dagger & Coin series are great). I'd never heard of Gardner Dozois. The premise of Hunter's Run sounded intriguing and, as it was co-written by two of my favourite authors (I ignored Mr Dozois) I had high expectations. And there's the rub.

If I ignore the provenance, then this is a pretty good sci-fi story. The characters are well developed and the descriptive narrative sufficient to paint a vivid picture of an alien world, even if it is very like Earth. The basic moral dilemma upon which the story rests, and which I can't reveal without it being a spoiler, is fairly good but I did feel that the possibilities weren't fully exploited. There is also a gapping flaw in the logic of the story as the main character; a very street wise and cynical creature, is given a tale by one set of aliens, regarding the nastiness of another alien species and he just accepts it as gospel truth, without question. He has the opportunity to question it but he doesn't. As this then drives the rest of the plot line, it seems to be a bit of a leap to me. The conclusion is also a bit vague for my tastes.

However, the overall writing style is pretty good and the story itself is sufficiently sound to hold the interest easily. Hence the four stars.

My grumble is that, without knowing that Mr Martin and Mr Abraham had a major hand in this novel, I would never have guessed.
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Format: Hardcover
When Ramon Espejo, a prospector and local thug, kills a diplomat in a brawl at a bar, he flees as far as he can from the rest of humanity. What he doesn't realise, is, how far. Hoping to make his fortune (and avoid the police) he goes to the mountains where he comes upon something so utterly profound that it changes him forever...

Hunter's Run, is above all, a character-driven novel. It focuses on what makes us, and what it is to be human. Captured by alien life on his own planet, Ramon is used as a hunter to track down someone else who escaped them not long ago. Later, it becomes clear who that other person is, and Ramon changes with that knowledge, as he realises what it is to be who he is.

I really can't say more without spoiling the story, but, the crux of it is a physical and psychological journey, a journey to understand himself, his race, and the alien race better. It was, and indeed, George R.R. Martin does say so in the afterword at the end of the book, reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn in some senses.

With the knowledge that the alien species are hiding from their enemies, the Enye, enemies with whom humanity works with (and, unbeknown, is being used by) Ramon gradually begins to feel more and more for his captors. I would have liked, though, to have seen more reason for what the Enye have done, and I think that would only have added to the story.

It's a richly realised world with a clear set-up. The language, and the description of the alien races is some of the best I've read. Ramon is also one of the few protagonists in science-fiction who has been of Mexican origin. The authors talk of the reasons for this in the fascinating Q&A at the end of the book.

A very good book from a "dream team" of writers.
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Format: Hardcover
This story's first incarnation was a novella titled Shadow Twin, which was a limited edition published by Subterranean Press in 2005. Unfortunately, I haven't read the novella-length version of this book, so I can't draw comparisons between the two versions. All I can say is that Hunter's Run is a damn good read!

With this being a collaboration between George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham, I was concerned that their different writing styles would result in a work lacking a certain cohesion. I'm glad to report that such is not the case. The whole tale streamlines quite seamlessly and one can never tell where one author's inspiration or style ends and his collaborators' begin.

Survival, identity and loyalty are probably the three main themes explored within the pages of Hunter's Run. And although there's enough action to satisfy most readers, what with the principal protagonist being pursued by aliens across outlandish wilderness, the underlying storyline which carries this novel remains that of Ramon's inner journey.

Ramon, Hunter's Run's main character, is far from being a likeable fellow. Truth to tell, he's quite antipathetic at the beginning. And yet, as it gradually dawns upon him that he might be more than a fry or two short of a good meal, Ramon slowly grows on you. This character growth is without a doubt the most compelling facet of this book.

Even though the supporting cast consists of a number of characters, only Elena and Maneck play important roles in the greater scheme of things. This doesn't mean that the characterization aspect leaves something to be desired. After all, Hunter's Run is, essentially, Ramon's story.

The worldbuilding, though well-done, is not a predominant characteristic in this novel.
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