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Darwin's Radio

by Greg Bear

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Darwin Series (1)

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3,143762,925 (3.53)99
A retrovirus is discovered which provokes miscarriages in women, followed by a second pregnancy without sexual intercourse. As scientists race to unlock its mysteries, fears grow it may herald the end of the human race as we know it.

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» See also 99 mentions

English (72)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
The first time I read this I felt horrified and dazed for weeks. I still consider this a masterpiece of horror/sci-fi. The characters are somewhat memorable, but more memorable is their pain; indeed, the pain of the whole world was felt in the back of my mouth, preparing it rise up from my stomach, up the pipe, out the maw, to hang onto my lip and smack me thrice on my face, wink, and then jump off to slither under the door-jam and horrify someone else.

Don't get me wrong, this is a pure sci-fi novel, but no sci-fi affects me as much as the types that are just as facile in other genres. This one does and gleefully so. I may not know that much about biology, or enough to tear Bear apart, but I followed his arguments and treatment and was amazed at the way he pulled a rabbit out of the junk DNA.

I've been a fan of Greg Bear's work for many years, and I thought I had really loved works like Eon and Legacy, and then I was amazed by Queen of Angels and then I was jumping up and down with Moving Mars. His short story collection of Tangents still makes me sit in awe. Still, all of these books paled in comparison with Darwin's Radio.

I have to say one thing: I cried uncontrollable tears at no less than three times during this novel. I cannot give higher praise.
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Interesting story, taking place in present times but assuming a strange biological twist to human development. The start and introduction of the idea is nice and exciting. The story follows a bit randomly several characters (three scientists, one anthropologist and two life scientists) and introduces here and there other characters that feel they do not develop as much as they could. The last part of the book is underwhelming, trying to shift perspectives from the grand scheme of things to a more personal level, but the action seems occasionally not fitting. The summary of the conclusion of the book is good, but it is a summary in the book as well, not enough effort is put into narrating it. An interesting, ironical fact is that the book mentions some things that can't be done with current medical technology (book was wrote in 1999), but today (2019) the medical technology advanced much more than was guessed in the book. ( )
  vladmihaisima | Jul 11, 2019 |
Skimmed but not interested any more.
  librisissimo | Mar 11, 2019 |
Bear is famous for Blood Music, a fix-up novel that postulated a virus that leads to our body cells become autonomously intelligent. Darwin's Radio returns to extreme biological speculation, but in much greater depth and sustained length. This time Bear explores a possible cellular mechanism for near-instant evolution. The focus is not on the new humans, who appear only at the very end, but on the parents and the effects of uncertainty and risk on society. Bear devotes a lot of time to the biology, sociology, and politics, both scientific and governmental. It is an impressive construction, with strong characters, but is also a good example of more being less. Nancy Kress in Nothing Human achieved comparable if not greater impact telling a similar story, with far less plausibility and attention to detail.

Still, highly recommended. ( )
1 vote ChrisRiesbeck | Dec 31, 2018 |
Young women are getting a virus, which causes them, if they are pregnant, to miscarry. But then they get pregnant again--without sex. Immaculate conception, apparently. Meanwhile, an investigator for the Centers for Disease Control, looking for a disease scary enough to preserve CDC's funding so that it will survive to fight the next big threat, finds evidence of strange massacres that have occurred in different parts of the world over the last fifty years: massacres of pregnant women and their husbands or partners. When their neighbors can be questioned about why it happened, they say that the women were bringing the devil's children into the world. An American scientist has discovered evidence that long-latent "junk DNA" in human cells has become active, and is doing something.

And a disgraced paleontologist discovers three frozen corpses high in the Alps--a Neaderthal man, a Neaderthal woman, and a newborn baby, who appears to be Cro-Magnon, but also, when tissue samples are resequenced, appears to be definitely her child, and probably the man's, as well.

This was fascinating to read, and I recommend it, but probably not to any woman who is pregnant. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Bearprimary authorall editionscalculated
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romero,Pedro JorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosvall, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For My Mother, Wilma Merriman Bear 1915-1997
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The flat afternoon sky spread over the black and gray mountains like a stage backdrop, the color of a dog's pale crazy eye.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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