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Slant Mass Market Paperback – June 15, 1998

3.3 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Queen of Angels Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is the sequel to Greg Bear's popular Queen of Angels, and, like most of this award-winning author's works, it's a stunner. Bear is right at home with the computer and nano technologies that underlie his near-future society. With most of the world's ills having been cured by nanotech, humanity is free to turn its explorations inward, to the mind. Advanced therapies have all but eliminated emotional imbalance, and things have never been better. But when public defender Mary Cho begins investigating a double-murder, she uncovers the truth: all of the high tech is failing, and things will never be worse. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA?In the sixth decade of 21st-century America, violence has been eradicated and advanced therapies have relieved the suffering of the emotionally unstable. It is almost a sane and perfect world. But when Public Defender Mary Choy is called in to investigate the grizzly death of two prostitutes who were illegally transforming themselves with nano-technology (plastic surgery of the future), and an epidemic of "fallbacks" and suicides occurs as people who had gone through therapy revert to their previous states, Bear begins a complex tale that offers a vision of a society in which "dataflow" rules. The entertainment business, particularly pornography, has gone virtual, militia sympathizers and neo-Luddites are isolated in the separatist republic of Green Idaho, and the most advanced artificial intelligence in the world, Jill, is hacked by an unknown AI that is perhaps the creation of a vast conspiracy. Weaving in multiple plots, this sequel to Queen of Angels (Warner, 1994) adeptly shows the potential effects of new technology on our imagined future. Young adults will enjoy both the practical and philosophical underpinnings of this intriguing world in which bathroom fixtures diagnose illnesses, virtual film stars of the past are guests at 21st-century galas, and happiness and even the stability of society depends on nano-monitors imbedded in the soul.?Pat Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (June 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812524829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812524826
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,518,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Greg Bear outdid himself with this one. He turned what appeared to be headed for another dystopia on its head and managed to salvage a rather happy ending. His creative ingenuity salvaged the so-so plot-his content definitely outshone the package. The comparison of the human brain to colonies of bacteria was stunning-how the mind operates by using molecular language. His story shows how the shape of society may rely on its language, e.g., being "happy" or being "rich" can become a kind of drug and staying so can stifle initiative.
Bear's levels of conflict rise as high into the sky as his Omphalos, a utopian temple turned sour. His character Schnee has combined the neural nets of bees, wasps, ants and bacteria laden loam to create an ultimate biological computer capable of spreading prions of infectious RNA material throughout the globe-an ultimate biological weapon. Her tourette like virus, while forcing victims to utter obscenities also makes their brains work faster. Schnee sought revenge on and recognition from her old boss Nathan who had discounted her ideas. AI Jill, a conventional computer, finds herself in a death struggle with AI Roddy, a biological computer. Every character he uses either has an opponent or is engaged in a fierce struggle for their own identity.
We've heard of the quantum computer, the molecular computer, the DNA computer but who has even thought of a bacterial computer? And no writer gives a better model of how data flow can create designs to makes nanotechnology work. Bear seems to rip a crack in the biosphere-noosphere and peer into the future. Futuristic ideas abound-his speaker Torino explains how the earth has become a gigantic single cell. And as man creates self aware AI computers man's own personality is subject to fragmentation. All in all, enough new ideas to make Bear a trailblazer for future writers.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This apparently is a sequel to his previous novel Queen of Angels, which I read so long ago that I don't remember any specifics of the plot other than the bare basics, which didn't help me at all when reading this novel. However, it doesn't really matter because while I think they share the same future and some of the characters, everything else is different and I imagine both works can easily stand alone. In this particular book, Bear postulates a world where most problems have been solved and people have turned to improving their minds, undergoing therapy to smooth over all disorders and so on, making society a not too unpleasant place to live. Of course, there's a problem or we wouldn't have much of a story. Bear doesn't take the easy way out, kicking off the first part of the story by introducing a number of characters who don't have any connection other than the fact that we know their plots are all going to intersect somehow, or else they wouldn't be in the same book. But by doing so he gives us a crosssection of this future society, from the rich people railing against what they see as a regression, to the people working in the entertainment industry (where people immerse themselves more and more), to the police keeping it together, to the therapists who have to ensure we all don't go crazy. And little by little, he starts to show things falling apart at the seams, as each character gets a tiny piece of the puzzle and are drawn together, as we finally see the extent of the plan and what some people will do to make society more in their own image. For me the book works better in the beginning, when we're exploring the society and all the little quirks of it.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I agree completely with those critics who have written of the difficulty of getting involved with this book. Greg Bear is obviously not afraid to make substantial demands on his readers, but rightfully so, in my opinion. The first six chapters (72 pages) introduce a large number of seemingly unrelated characters--the course of the novel will see them interact eventually, but that does not happen for quite some time, and the reader is left wondering where the book is going. That the story takes completely unexpected paths repeatedly was one of its delights for me--I can honestly say that it was totally unpredictable and convincing nonetheless. Further demands on the reader are made with the use of future vocabulary--Bear condescends to no one with lengthy explanations of the terms the characters use, preferring to let us figure them out in context as best we can. This quality and complexity of writing, along with Bear's deeply grim vision of the future, reminded me of John Brunner's novel Stand on Zanzibar. Slant is an exploration of a world driven by the twin forces of nanotechnology and mental therapy, and Bear seems uncannily precognisant of the issues that are likely to arise. Thus sex, Hollywood, the military, politics, religion and personal freedom are all involved in one of the most sophisticated and well-thought out plots I've read in years. Quotes from a future book, Alive Contains a Lie (reminiscent of Brunner's The Hipcrime Vocab) allow Bear to get a bit preachy at times, moralizing as events allow: "Conservative elitists rule much of modern religion, making it a branch of the Entertainment State. So sayeth the evangelistic moneychanger in the dataflow temple: Money can buy peace and salvation! Good works count for nothing against an ever-growing pile of status.Read more ›
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