NOMINATED for the Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction in the Australian Shadows Awards 2018.
The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was hunted to extinction some eighty years ago. Now, Professor Rosie Giuliani and her staff at The Resurrection Lab have done the impossible: created a living, breathing litter from a preserved specimen. Yet Rosie can’t share this scientific breakthrough with the world. The cloned animals are more like monsters than thylacines. By chance, a small band of activists hears about the caged litter, and their decision to free the tigers will unleash a deadly havoc upon the campus of Fraser University.
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EXAMPLES OF READER REVIEWS
Dale Robertson, 5/5 stars – Loved this! Had all the ingredients to satisfy my horror needs – scientists trying to resurrect an extinct creature, ghastly abominations as a result, and unparalleled chaos resulting in a shed ton of blood and gore. This is my first read by Deborah Sheldon and i was very impressed – the writing is “easy” to get into (a definite compliment!) and flows superbly, keeping you gripped and turning the pages. The atmosphere of the story is tense as the tale unfolds. I felt i was getting stalked along with the characters. I really hope a sequel is planned!
Steven Paulsen, 5/5 stars – This novella is a ripping read. Fast paced, exciting and gripping, I read it overnight unable to put it down. Based on a similar premise to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Matthew Reilly’s The Great Zoo of China, where scientists bioengineer a lost species from recovered DNA, the creatures recreated here are the extinct Tasmanian Tiger. Or are they? Rising above the genre tropes, this book has strong characters, an authentic Australian setting, and believable science that delivers an action packed terrifying story that could be happening even as we read this tale.
Anniemac, 5/5 stars – Bloodthirsty! Wow! Jump right into a bloodbath! A fast-paced story well written & clever. Deborah Sheldon has a delightful imagination & this is such a fun story with action that never flags. I love reading anything that this author writes.
Gerry Griffiths, 5/5 stars – Beware of the clones! Thylacines is fast-paced and will keep readers turning the pages. Just the right amount of science to make it believable and informative. Things go terribly wrong when a scientist with good intentions tries to clone Tasmanian tigers, the species having been hunted into extinction. Plenty of blood and gore to go around.
R. Ridgeway, 5/5 stars – Great fun! The story was well written in graphic detail. The characters were well developed and easy to understand and relate to. Lots of action, suspense and plety of gore. Would recommend this book and i will check out other books by this author.
Technophile, 5/5 stars – I did not expect to get a rip roaring blood fest when I downloaded this item but that is exactly what I got. It is a well written, believable story with good characters and lots of action. A bit short but a good read. Well done Deborah.
BOOK REVIEW FROM THE HORROR TREE
This bio-horror novella (122 pages) by Australian writer Deborah Sheldon, is a fast, pacy, adrenaline fuelled read which you can gobble up in a sitting or two. The author has clearly done her research into Thylacines aka Tasmanian Tigers or if you want to be cosier, you could call them Tassie Tigers and she deftly weaves this information into the narrative without making it a lecture. The striking cover gives you an idea of what Sheldon has in mind.
An older female scientist, (a well written character) has succeeded in bringing a litter of Thylacines back from extinction. This would give most people pause but not this crew. Whilst the animals are locked up in the lab they can’t do much damage. But (ironically) it is a trio of animal rights’ activists who by deciding to free T1-T6, end up being the first course on the menu. For these newly born Thylacines have significant differences to their ancestors. They are faster, fiercer, more intelligent, larger and with a taste for human flesh.
The action unfolds, contained within the university’s campus- as body parts fly and there are several tense scenes where the Thylacines are cornered and fight back. Each chapter ends on a cliff hanger in fact. Another strong female character leads the tiger chase, a local cop, pulling overtime, Janine and her trained police dog, Zeus. I was rooting for Zeus all the way. Go Zeus! An engaging and convincing partnership.
My only disappointment is that it’s a novella not a novel and the ending came really fast. I would have liked a longer played out denouement. Maybe there is a sequel in the offing? If you liked Jurassic Park or any other novels in that vein, you’ll go for this novella. It’s the equivalent of a B movie on steroids. Have fun. (Alyson Faye)
BOOK REVIEW FROM RISINGSHADOW
Wow, what a nice surprise this novella was! I was totally surprised by it, because it’s highly entertaining. It’s been a while since I’ve read this kind of horror fiction in such a good and intriguing format.
Deborah Sheldon’s Thylacines is a gritty and well written horror novella about resurrected thylacines. It has a distinct B-monster-movie feel to it that makes it irresistible for horror fans who crave for something entertaining to read. In certain ways, it’s similar to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, but differs from it.
Because there may be readers out there who are not familiar with thylacines, I think it’s good to say a few words about them. The thylacines (Thylacinus cynocephalus) were the largest known carnivorous marsupials of modern times. They were native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. They were hunted to extinction during the 1930s. (More information about the thylacines can easily be found on the internet.)
In this novella, Deborah Sheldon blends biological and scientific in an enjoyable way. She has written a thrilling story about what happens when thylacines break out of the laboratory and start to kill people.
Here’s a bit of information about the story: Professor Rosie Giuliani and her staff members at the Resurrection Lab are worrying about their funding, because a North American company, Clout Energy Drinks, may not want to sponsor them. They’ve managed to create a living litter of thylacines, but nobody outside the lab knows that the created animals are a bit off… Meanwhile, an animal liberation group consisting of George, Hannah and Llewellyn is about to break into the Lab and set the animals free…
This marks the beginning of an action-packed horror story with plenty of entertainment values. Although this novella is relatively short, the characterisation works well and the female characters are satisfyingly strong. The author has created a surprisingly intriguing cast of characters that ranges from Rosie Giuliani and her staff members to the animal rights activists and Bill De Vries, who is the company accountant for Clout Energy Drinks. I especially enjoyed reading about Professor Rosie Giuliani, Senior Constable Janine O’Connell and Bill De Vries, because they’re well-created characters.
The resurrected thylacines are fascinating animals, because they are not like the extincts ones, but bigger, faster, more intelligent and much more dangerous than them. They’re killers and they like human flesh. What makes them especially intriguing is that they seem to be capable of communicating in a mysterious way that can’t be explained.
The author explores well how important securing a funding for a science project is, because it’s impossible to do certain things without funds. She also writes fluently about what happens when things go badly wrong and people have to deal with a dangerous and unexpected situation that should not have happened.
It’s interesting that the author touches upon the theme of animal rights in this novella, because it would’ve been easy to dismiss it. I also want to mention that I find the author’s way of writing action scenes scenes excellent, because she keeps things in motion and effortlessly maintains an exciting atmosphere.
This story has a satisfying amount of graphic and gruesome scenes ranging from flesh being eaten to skulls being smashed by strong jaws. I think that those who are intrigued by this kind of scenes will be pleased with them, because the author doesn’t shy away from violence.
Because I enjoyed this novella and found it highly entertaining, I give it strong 4.5 stars on the scale from 1 to 5 stars. Its charming B-movie feel impressed me, because readers will immediately know what they’ll get from it when they begin to read it. The author delivers a good and exciting story that will thrill readers.
My final words are: Deborah Sheldon’s Thylacines is a small gem awaiting to be discovered by horror readers who love entertaining and well written stories. It’s one of the best novellas of its kind, because it’s pure horror entertainment from start to finish.
BOOK REVIEW FROM ELAIA EZINE
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, 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 the way Sheldon has 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. – E.K. Cutting
BOOK REVIEW FROM BOOKWORMS CORNER BLOG SPOT
This short story/Novella is truly frightening. If you are a lover of the horror genre and are looking for a quick, exciting, horror read then I thoroughly recommend Thylacines.
Thylacines (a dog like marsupial extinct since 1936) were more commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger a team of scientists use a preserve specimen to create a litter of the extinct creatures. The litter are different, twice the size and deathly dangerous, they are released by a group of activists who have no idea of the horror that they are releasing onto the poor college campus.
For a relatively short story (122 Kindle pages) this story packs a huge punch.
BOOK REVIEW FROM AUREALIS #115
The characters in Deborah Sheldon’s new horror novella Thylacines clearly have
not read or seen Jurassic Park. Scientist Rose Giuliani works in the Resurrection Lab
at the Fraser University outside Melbourne. Rose and her team have brought the
extinct thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, a marsupial carnivore extinct since the 1930s,
back to life through DNA extraction and cloning. This work has indeed been
postulated in real life by Professor Mike Archer, formerly of the Australian National
Museum. But, as readers (and viewers) of Jurassic Park already know, bringing
extinct species to life is fraught with risk.
Rose has managed to raise a successful litter of five thylacines. But even she
admits that these are not ordinary thylacines. They are more than twice the size of the
original animal and are super-aggressive. All hell breaks loose when a group of
incompetent animal libbers break in to the lab and demand at gunpoint that the
thylacines be released. Once the cages open, it quickly emerges that the superthylacines
enjoy both the hunt and taste of human blood.
The rest is mayhem, cliffhangers and gore.
There are more Jurassic Park echoes as the thylacines act remarkably like
velociraptors from the movies. The group of super-predators quickly adapts to hunting
in a pack, setting up cunning ambushes and ripping unsuspecting humans limb from
limb for no other reason than… they can.
A group of unlikely heroes, including 60-year-old scientist Rose, Glenn the animal
keeper and Janine, a female cop with Zeus her trusty German shepherd sidekick, hunt
the rogue thylacines as the body count rises.
While there is nothing new and little in terms of surprises on plot, Sheldon’s prose
moves at a good pace and she offers a fun, if bloody, distraction. Ultimately, readers’
enjoyment of Thylacines will depend on how much they go for this type of B-movie
style monster rampage.