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Queen of Angels Hardcover – July 1, 1990

3.7 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Queen of Angels Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The motivation of the mass-murderer--in this case a noted poet--becomes the subject of investigation by an ambitious policewoman, a renegade psychologist, and the murderer's closest friend. Twenty-first century Los Angeles provides the surrealistic setting for a remarkable exploration of human guilt and fears in the latest novel by the author of Blood Music and Eternity (LJ 10/15/88). Bear's blending of high-tech gloss with penetrating insights into human nature results in a complex and challenging speculative vision of the "country of the mind." Highly recommended.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Greg Bear, author of more than twenty-five books that have been translated into seventeen languages, has won science fiction’s highest honors and is considered the natural heir to Arthur C. Clarke. The recipient of two Hugos and four Nebulas for his fiction, he has been called “the best working writer of hard science fiction” by The Science Fiction Encyclopedia. Many of his novels, such as Darwin’s Radio, are considered to be this generations’ classics.
Bear is married to Astrid Anderson, daughter of science fiction great Poul Anderson, and they are the parents of two children, Erik and Alexandria. His recent thriller novel, Quantico, was published in 2007 and the sequel, Mariposa, followed in 2009. He has since published a new, epic science fiction novel, City at the End of Time and a generation starship novel, Hull Zero Three.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446514004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446514002
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,549,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The reader who is about to pick up "Queen of Angels" should understand one thing about Greg Bear: he writes hard sci-fi (sci-fi which is typically laden with "tech talk"), and he writes the hardest sci-fi probably in existence today. The effect of this can be bewildering to the neophyte, especially considering the variety of his narrators. One of them, while close, is not even human, and that can easily drive away the most committed of readers.
However, dear reader, may I suggest that you persist to the end? Bear writes the most satisfying conclusions in sc-fi today, and the ending of "Queen" is among these. The ending, though, is not the best part. Neither is Bear's vision of mid-21st Century Southern California, which can be vexing. What is most fascinating about this novel is the evolution of its characters, and the effects of their modern world upon them. Not even the advanced therapy taken on by Mary Choy, Bear's wunderkind gumshoe, can protect her from the slings and arrows embedded in the human psyche. In fact, the most human character in the novel is Richard Fettle, the vaguely Luddite disciple of Emmanuel Goldsmith, the one whose life is only indirectly touched by technology, and who consequently seems to be able to access his primal self best of all, and who therefore can best understand Goldsmith's motivations most readily.
What may intrigue the reader of this novel the most is the "character" AXIS, an artifical intelligence which directs a craft in the exploration of an Earth-like planet around Alpha Centauri, and which may have been constructed too well for its own good. One imagines while reading this what may become of a child who is sent on a similar mission, and the conclusion of insanity makes perfect sense.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Queen of Angels isn't the easiest book to read, and fans of throw-away space opera may find it hard to get through, but if you've got a bit of an attention span and want more from science fiction than most of it is willing to give us, you'll find this novel to be among the best ever written in the genre. I'll happily put it in the company of Dune, Neuromancer, Gateway, and Foundation.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many people might have a hard time reading Queen of Angels because of its complexity, in both style and plot. I, too, found myself struggling at parts, occassionally even putting the book down for days at a time, so that I could fully grasp the images Bear was trying to convey. However, I think his unique way of writing this book did more to elaborate a detailed and incredible world than to alienate the reader. You will either love this book (being able to accept how he is handling his story) or despise it (not wanting to be actively involved in the reading). For those who have read Greg Bear before: this is something different and singular. Don't expect anything similar from any other book he, or anyone else, has written. For those who have not read Bear yet: don't think this is an example of his normal work. Queen of Angels stands alone as a unique and intricate work of art, successfully and intelligently exploring the avenues that it pursues, and is to date, the most amazing science fiction book I have ever read. Any difficulty one might have with accepting that it is not as easily digestable as most other literature must come to the realization that readers of science fiction can't expect to be breastfed all their lives.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since many of the reviews are well written, I thought I'd just add a few more thoughts. Bear's novel is, as the back cover brags, incredibly ambitious. The different plot lines are brimming with fascinating ideas that make you reflect deeply on the process of writing, the human condition, our own society, and where it's headed. This is perhaps the best that can be said of any science fiction work.
I found Bear's division of the future world seductive. We do indeed seem to place overreliance upon therapy in today's culture, and our justice system, with it's property based-punishment, may one day meet out purely psychological torture. (Some might say it does already.)
Bear's is a grim dystopian vision, and I must say that I appreciate the innovation but that I think it is all too easy to say that "thing's are getting worse." The only reason why I didn't find Bear's rehashing of this theme boring is that his vision contains intricacy.
As a black reader, I found the character of Emmanuel Goldsmith (the murderer) to be somewhat convincing and effectively able to portray the themes confronting black society today: the nasty process of assimilation with its accompanying globalized atomization. (No one admits that when you learn to speak and act like the majority you'll also want to wear headphones on the subway.) The journey into Emmanuel's Country of the Mind was one of the most fascinating stories I've ever read.
That said, Bear made the post-modernist mistake of referring to the process of writing while doing a hackneyed job of it himself. The characters of Richard Fettle and Nadine don't really seem to take off, and it is only Martin Burke that comes across as believable.
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