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Contest (2004)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Contest (2004) Matthew Reilly's re-edited first novel (the book before the rip-roaring ICE STATION) is basically an expansion of the short story 'ARENA', where contestants from different planets are pitted against one another until only one survives.A New York City doctor, Stephen Swain, who is great at spur of the moment decisions, is teleported instantly from his apartment to the New York Public Library. Along for the ride is his young daughter, who he was holding in his arms at the time. Within the labyrinth of the library is where this battle will happen. Among the other contestants are an insect-type alien, a reptilian alien, a devil-looking alien and a huge monster which looks like a cross between a gorilla and a grizzly bear.It's explained to Swain by his alien assistant/coach, a diminutive pale humanoid, that there can only be one winner-the last one to survive. And even then they have to somehow survive the monster that is set loose amongst them. Yet Swain has no intention of killing any of the alien contestants, which poses a problem to his survival...CONTEST is an action-packed, non-complicated quick read of a sci-fi book that would probably make a good Hollywood movie. There's no contest that this novel is better than Reilly's TEMPLE and AREA 7.

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