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Thylacines by Deborah Sheldon (retro post)

Thylacines by Deborah Sheldon (retro post)

Thylacines are a long dead species. Or they would be if Professor Rosie Giuliani and her staff at The Resurrection Lab hadn’t been playing with genetics. She’s created a litter of six thylacines, and they’re not exactly what she expected. They’re much bigger, aggressive, and seem to be in some sort of contact with each other despite being in individual pens. The most disconcerting things about them are their all black pupils and their sounds. Nonetheless, she’s pretty proud of the work she and her team have done.

But that work could all come undone, as on the same day that the new owners are coming to assess whether to continue funding The Resurrection Lab, armed animal activists arrive to release the poor caged creatures. Surely there’ll be a peaceful solution to it all, right?

This is a wonderful novella. It’s gory, it’s well paced, it’s got creatures that because of their long deceased status, you can make them look and behave any old way you want! And they were great. Definitely the best part of the story was that Sheldon has obviously put in the research into what the Thylacines were like, and turned the dial up to 11. They are savage, conniving carnivores and I would love to read more of them.

The pacing was great. A little sluggish to get going at first, as most establishing texts can be. But that was over quickly as the characters converged in the pens and we see how quickly chaos can descend when people don’t think through their actions. My main quibble would be with the characters. Some of them just needed a little bit more fleshing out in order for their demise to be cared about. But Jane O’Connell was brilliant. The scene where this police officer and her sniffer dog, Zeus, taking on a thylacine was probably my favourite. Can we get another story with just her and Zeus, please?

Overall, a top novella with great pacing and some excellent monsters.

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