The Great Zoo Of China

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Juras­sic Farce

Re­lease Date: 12 Fe­bru­ary

515 pages | Hard­back/ ebook Au­thor: Matthew Reilly Pub­lisher: Orion

Matthew Reilly says

that he’s “The world’s big­gest Juras­sic Park fan.” We be­lieve him, be­cause this is the world’s big­gest piece of Juras­sic Park fan fic­tion. It’s like he put a piece of trac­ing pa­per onto his telly.

The plot fol­lows a mixed group of ex­perts, jour­nal­ists and so­cial me­dia gu­rus as they ex­plore The Great Zoo – part of China’s at­tempts to be as cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant as their ri­val su­per­power, Amer­ica, via their very own Dis­ney­land. As in Juras­sic Park, the ex­perts are mis­chie­vously kept in the dark as to the zoo’s real na­ture. As in Juras­sic Park, their jaws drop as the truth is re­vealed – danger­ous, gi­ant, lizard- like beasts ( here, there be dragons) have been bred in cap­tiv­ity for en­ter­tain­ment. As in Juras­sic Park, things go wrong.

Reilly’s ar­gued that be­cause his story en­com­passes “The geopol­i­tics of China” it’s orig­i­nal, but ac­tu­ally all that does is high­light the irony of what he’s do­ing. The book com­ments on China’s re­liance on out­side agen­cies: “It has noth­ing of its own. It makes other peo­ple’s stuff.” We imag­ine Michael Crich­ton would agree that’s a bad thing.

Af­ter a de­cent build, the nar­ra­tive de­scends into one long chase se­quence that’s as bor­ing to read as it was ex­cit­ing to watch. The pic­ture- book pol­i­tics, gory vi­o­lence and sweary dia­logue mean you can’t even give this to kids, mak­ing us won­der who ex­actly it’s for. Aside from the world’s big­gest Juras­sic Park fan, ob­vi­ously. Sam Ashurst Matthew Reilly col­lects movie me­mora­bilia. His col­lec­tion in­cludes a life- size replica of Han Solo in car­bonite, and a DeLorean.

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