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Blood Music Paperback – December 3, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 150 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


An unusual 'invasion' by intelligent smaller beings who are changing the structure and definition of 'humanity' are at the heart of Bear's classic story which has been newly reprinted in paper for new audiences. Blood Music is one of his finest works and its appearance in this new edition assures that new audiences will relish his talents. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Greg Bear’s novels and stories have appeared in more than twenty languages worldwide and have won numerous prizes, including two Hugos, five Nebulas, and the Prix Apollo. His novels include Darwin’s Radio (winner of the Nebula and Endeavor awards), Darwin’s Children, Vitals, Blood Music, Eon, Queen of Angeles, and Moving Mars. He has served as a consultant and a lecturer on space and defense policy, biotechnology and bioterrorism, multimedia entertainment, and Internet issues. He lives in Lynnwood, Washington, and is married to Astrid Anderson Bear; their children are Erik and Alexandra.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: e-reads.com (December 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0759241740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0759241749
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,613,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review and rating is only about this printing, by a company called "E-Reads". I have lots of great things to say about the novel but a lot of it has already been said by the other reviewers.

This printing is unacceptably terrible, and I can't imagine anyone proofread it. There is at least one mistake on every page, and that is not an exaggeration. Punctuation is the least of its problems. Words are actually replaced with words that you can guess look like the intended word, but are far from it. Often the word "nun" shows up instead of "him", as one of many, many examples, and many sentences are so disjointed that you have to read them two or three times to figure out what Greg Bear actually wrote in the first place.

The printing reminds me of some e-books I have read, ones that have obviously been scanned from actual printed pages and word-recognition software used to generate the e-book, as there are always such mistakes in those renditions. It's my belief that this is a print from such a scan, which I know makes no sense (printing from a scan instead of printing from the source material) but I can see no other way these mistakes were made. The publisher's name, E-Reads, certainly suggests this is what happened, and research will show you they are an e-book publisher.

It isn't only annoying, it makes it hard to keep reading. Do not, I repeat do not buy this printing. Find another one. I'll write to E-Reads to find out what is going on here, and will be returning my copy to Amazon, as I would not disgrace my bookshelf with such an awfully published novel.

EDIT: I've found out that this is a Print On Demand book, and so was likely not proofread by the publisher. Beware of books like this.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this novel yesterday - literally read it in one sitting - maybe not so good for my productivity at work today (I was up until 4 in the morning reading it) but this was one I couldn't put down. Good writing and a gripping idea.
This is NOT a conventional "horrific plague" novel, although it appears to be so at the beginning.
I do agree that there are problems with characterization. The logic of his idea leads Bear to introduce and kill off (sort of) a series of main characters, so they don't have much chance to develop. Despite this problem, characterization is one of the stronger points in Blood Music's first half, although it gives way in the second half to development of a visionary idea. I DID feel sufficient sympathy with the characters to feel them as real and to care about what happened to them.
The power of Blood Music is that it starts off as a "plague" novel and by novel's end has brilliantly turned this premise on its head.
Over the past decades, I haven't read much science fiction, including several sci fi novels with good reputations that I started but didn't see any reason to finish. Blood Musicis my first intro to Greg Bear, and based on its quality and the grudging respect that even some of its carping critics have for Bear's other novels, I plan to read more of his stuff.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
With an apocalyptic vision at its heart, Blood Music is escapist reading with high drama, though its excitement has been somewhat muted by time and the magnitude of the real events which have transpired since its publication in 1985. Here a genetic experiment goes awry, and the whole world is endangered. When Vergil Ulam, a cross between Dennis-the-Menace and a stereotyped nerd, is fired from his job, he takes his private research with him--by injecting himself with intellectual lymphocytes, cellular computers, which he has developed. Not unexpectedly with Vergil, things go wrong, and these cells take over his body and eventually spread wildly, endangering the whole world.

Though only seventeen years have passed since its publication, the book feels old-eerily so. Gene therapy is now a reality. The Soviet Union, which here rattles its nuclear sabers in an effort to dominate the world, seems like a very old enemy. Strangely, a number of particularly vivid scenes here take place in a ravaged World Trade Center, images so similar to the present reality that I found them painful to stumble upon in a piece of light fiction. Suzy McKenzie, a lonely survivor in New York, sets up home in the World Trade Center lobby, and Bear's descriptions of her explorations through the desolate upper floors and of the collapse of one of the towers conjured up nightmarish images for me which Bear could never have foretold and which some readers may wish to avoid.

Bear's narrative is fast-paced and suspenseful. With an acute sensibility and eye for detail, Bear creates stark images. His characterizations of Vergil and Suzy are often touching, however, and the dialogue between Vergil and his mother will bring smiles to the faces of many parents.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The difficulty with evaluating this unusual novel lies in a structural peculiarity - Bear has really written two different novels here, featuring different main characters who are responding to what are very much radically different situations. The first half of this book is the story of Vergil
Ulam, a secretive research scientist developing microscopic biological computers who stumbles onto something much more than he bargained for. The focus is clearly on Vergil, his personal struggles with his employers, his mother, and his own social ineptitude. Readers will watch with fascination and horror as Vergil opens a biological Pandora's box, and wonder just how he's going to get out of the mess he's created. But it seems Bear wanted to go beyond Vergil's problems to the story of the nanotech beings themselves, so he wrote another (virtually) separate story describing the nanites spread, and after the auspicious beginning, this second half is a considerable disappointment. The point of view shifts away from Vergil to a number of different characters, some of whom were bit players in the first part, but many of whom are introduced for the first time in the second half. Plus, there's a lot of jumping around between these characters, each having something to show us (although it's often very little), but none of them ever becoming a strong enough central character to hold this part of the book together, leaving this second half painfully unfocused, and almost entirely disconnected from the characters and events of the first half.
Recapping, the first half of this book is tightly written and powerful, with a strong central protagonist whose motivations and character are carefully delineated.
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