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Darwin's Radio Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2000
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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
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Though not on a comparable level, Radio and Children are as beautifully realized as the Forge of God or Anvil of Stars.Published 3 months ago by m. d. honodel
The current accepted models of evolution emphasize small changes perpetuated over many generations, taking thousands, if not millions, of years to change one species into another. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dione Basseri
I really liked it. It gets just a touch repetitive with the "science-y" parts, but it's a great book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Christina
Interesting because of the science-based plot premises. Unusual to find a sci-fi book having to do with genetics and micro-biology. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ricardo Vacilon
This is a fascinating tale.
If you feel overwhelmed by the science terms and vocabulary try to stay with this compelling tale. Read more
Thank you to Greg Bear . I still suspect there is a 3rd book to this thread somewheres <3 Merry Christmas Greg Bear <3 :) & Thank you :)Published 8 months ago by AmBee
The story started strong, with the now common thriller mechanism of shifting chapters between different protagonists to set up the plot lines and characters that soon are joined... Read morePublished 8 months ago by JeffTMaine
What's not to like in this character driven speculative adventure into the near future where scientists discover evidence of ancient sudden and dramatic shifts in human genetics... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Christopher P.
Good story, good science (I think) good capture of society mercurial moods and patterns and -- NOTE -- MYTHS.Published 9 months ago by LaPortaMA