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Darwin's Radio Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2000

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780345435248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345435248
  • ASIN: 0345435249
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

All the best thrillers contain the solution to a mystery, and the mystery in this intellectually sparkling scientific thriller is more crucial and stranger than most. Why are people turning against their neighbors and their newborn children? And what is causing an epidemic of still births? A disgraced paleontologist and a genetic engineer both come across evidence of cover-ups in which the government is clearly up to no good. But no one knows what's really going on, and the government is covering up because that is what, in thrillers as in life, governments do. And what has any of this to do with the discovery of a Neanderthal family whose mummified faces show signs of a strange peeling?

Greg Bear has spent much of his recent career evoking awe in the deep reaches of space, but he made his name with Blood Music, a novel of nanotechnology that crackled with intelligence. His new book is a workout for the mind and a stunning read; human malignancy has its role in his thriller plot, but its real villain, as well as its last best hope, is the endless ingenious cruelty of the natural world and evolution. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In the medical/SF tradition of Robin Cook, Bear (Blood Music) spins an outlandish tale of evolutionary apocalypse. In an ice cave in the Swiss Alps, Mitch Rafelson, a renegade paleontologist, discovers a frozen Neanderthal family, including an oddly evolved infant. Meantime, in Soviet Georgia, Kaye Lang, a microbiologist, is investigating a massacre site, where pregnant women were exterminated. These events relateAby way of elliptical scientific reasoningAto a retrovirus being hunted by U.S. government scientist Christopher Dicken. Called SHEVA, it causes genetic mutations in embryos and may also be an agent of evolution, ushering into being a new race of humans. Is it a sexually transmitted disease? Or, more sinister, is it a God-sent means of delivering up a new Adam for the millennium? When Mitch and Kaye fall in love, then decide to bring their own SHEVA baby to full term, they are about to find out the truth firsthand. This complicated tale is read somberly by the deep-voiced Rudnicki, who works hard to keep the sense of drama high through all the mumbo jumbo. Simultaneous release with the Ballantine hardcover. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The story moves--the problem is that the characters, such as they are, are not very believable.
William R.
There's actually a glossary of terms from molecular biology, as if this book was based on science rather than just using the jargon for window dressing.
It's like the story just gets lost and it ends abruptly, then Bear just started typing randomly with no ideas of where the story is going.
Gabriel H. Vermund

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 96 people found the following review helpful By R. Hubbard on April 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This was the first novel I read by Greg Bear and, overall, I am rather disappointed. The science behind the disease which gives the book its title is fascinating and lies within that intriguing realm of sci-fi which leaves you wondering where the real science has ended and the extrapolation begun. However, what made Darwin's Radio a disappointing read for me was not the heavy handed ecological and epidemiological jargon (some of which clearly could have been excluded), but the poor characterization, tiresome CDC and NIH politics and ultimately unsatisfying conclusion.
I found myself trudging through pages of "intrigue" between the factions of various government agencies which really could not have been more dull. Perhaps this sort of thing would be more palatable to others who are more interested in politics.
The characterization starts off strong but ultimately sinks into cliche, with one character (Mark Augustine) metamorphosing into a cartoonish evil scientist of monstrous proportions and another vanishing almost completely (Christopher Dicken). The main characters, Kaye and Mitch, who are initially presented as brilliant and dedicated (if somewhat troubled) scientists, abandon science altogether in order to solve the mystery of SHEVA by basically experimenting on their own bodies with nothing more than faith as their guide. Further, their romance is ludicrously two dimensional and peppered with such cringe-inducing dialogue as, "Mitch, be my man." Blech.
The conclusion of the novel is incredibly abrupt and leaves so many facets of a very complex story unresolved I found myself thumbing through the dictionary at the back thinking perhaps the rest of the ending was hidden behind it. Alas, it was not.
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65 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Omer Belsky on March 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have allways held a strange opinion about Greg Bear. I thought him to be a quite a good writer, but I simply haven't read anything by him I loved. I read a few short stories, and 'Foundation and Chaos', and they were all good, but nothing to addict me.
Alas, neither was "'Darwin's Radio"
But don't let that stop you. Darwin's Radio is certainly worth reading.
I'll start with what I didn't like. The characters, while all different, didn't seem all that interesting. The only one I really cared about was Christopher, and to a lesser extent Saul. They were different and came alive. Bear spent alot of time about the rest of the characters, especially Kaye and Mitch, but I never cared for them, or for the romance.
The other main complain, is that there really isn't too much of a plot. The book is marked as a Techno thriler, but there really isn't any action or advature. The characters are more or less passive spectators, watching Sheva, speculating about it, and trying to survive the catastrophes the world throws at them. In a sense, there's no story here.
OK. Then why should you read the book? Simply, because the ideas behind it are mind blowing, and well explained. Yeah, sometimes I was lost in the science, but I truly enjoyed Bear's scientific imagination. Bear does something that science fiction rarely does - he expands scientific ideas, and he should be commanded for that. Also, the book deserve notice for Bear's ability to make the scientific method, and the scientists, not only comprehensible but also fascinating. The tensest moments of the novel are scientifical exchanges of ideas and theories. At its best, you read with wide eyes as characters present incredible ideas, that seem strangely likely.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Jvstin VINE VOICE on July 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
(Note that this is substantially the same review as I wrote for the hardcover edition of the novel)
Greg Bear is a SF writer with an excellent range. While his novels uniformly show a joy in describing unusual and exotic extensions of science as we know it, from the nanotechnology of Blood Music to the unusual physics of Moving Mars, he has always kept the human element front and center in his writings. We care about the people who inhabit his worlds. Darwin's Radio is a story about people and differences. A story about the prejudice of being different, being ostracized, being demonized, being hated and feared. A story of how resistant people are to change, be it changes in scientific theories, changes in what they look like. It much resembles the medical thrillers of Robin Cook. Interestingly enough, there is even a reference to a character reading one of his novels.The plot itself is straightforward enough. SHEVA, an agent lying dormant in our very cells, in our very genes for millions of years, has started to act of its own accord and begun to infect women and men, causing strange pregnancies. Is it a virus? A mutagenic agent? A sign of the end of humanity? Or the mechanism by which the next step in evolution will take place? Several well drawn viewpoint characters, from a discredited anthropologist, to a scientist critical to the discovery of the agent are our windows into this near future world.
Perhaps focused on as much as the science of SHEVA is how the scientists and ordinary people react to its seemingly implacable onslaught. All too plausible to me, as a graduate student of Biology, is the reluctance of academics and ordinary people alike to see the truth for what it is for the mere reason that it contradicts beliefs they hold dear.
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More About the Author

Greg Bear is the author of more than thirty books, spanning thrillers, science fiction, and fantasy, including Blood Music, Eon, The Forge of God, Darwin's Radio, City at the End of Time, and Hull Zero Three. His books have won numerous international prizes, have been translated into more than twenty-two languages, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Over the last twenty-eight years, he has also served as a consultant for NASA, the U.S. Army, the State Department, the International Food Protection Association, and Homeland Security on matters ranging from privatizing space to food safety, the frontiers of microbiology and genetics, and biological security.

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