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Dead Lines: A Novel of Life . . . After…

Dead Lines: A Novel of Life . . . After Death (2004)

by Greg Bear

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I'm sorry, but this dudely dude is going to have to find someone else to care about him. Maybe one of those women he likes. *eyeroll*
  GinnyTea | Mar 31, 2013 |
To call a book about a bunch of dead people not being able to be pass on to wherever it is dead people are supposed to go a good fun read seems almost perverse, yet that is exactly Greg Bear’s Dead Lines is. The lines, in this case, are lines of communication, both on this plane of existence and whatever lies beyond this world.

Part of the premise is easy enough to believe: with the proliferation of cellular cell phones and other wireless devices, we are running out of bandwidth for these devices to operate in. Enter a bizarre scientist as brilliant, misunderstood and eccentric as Nikola Tesla with a solution: he has hit upon a scheme to utilize some previously unknown, “forbidden”, frequencies that will provide unlimited bandwidth and instant communication across the entire planet. The secret to this instantaneous communication described in a manner very reminiscent of interstellar travel used in Dune, folded space. Problems arise as it becomes apparent this dimensional folding is preventing spirits of the deceased from completing their final journey and channeling some less than desirable entities back into this world.

What follows is a captivating story that, while predictable in the outcome, has just enough twists to keep the reader from being bored. Formalized religion is left out of the plot lines, but spirituality and karma heavily influences the action. While clearly a work of fiction meant to entertain readers, Greg Bear provides a lot of thought provoking material to ponder here about what happens when we die.

Filled with eccentric, well-developed and unforgettable characters, good dialog and a semi-original plot, Dead Lines weighs in at a solid four stars. If offbeat spirit filled fiction is your thing, you will enjoy this work. If you’ve ever attended a séance or seen shadow things in the corner of your eye while telling spooky stories, you will readily identify with this story. ( )
1 vote PghDragonMan | Feb 14, 2013 |
Greg Bear narrows the line between horror and science fiction in this novel. The plot involves a new communications technology that promises to revolutionize the cell phone. It promises zero distortion and complete connectivity. But using the phone seems to free the dead to return.

The first problem I encountered is the feeling that this isn’t what people want. We repeatedly are willing to sacrifice communications quality for data rates. Ok, so I’m surprised Greg Bear missed that.

The main character is somewhat unbelievable. I couldn’t empathize with him. He is a director of porn theater. But his female leads respect him too much. And the reasons for his involvement in the phone business don’t seem reasonable.

Then he had to rely on a pop-in character, a psychic, to explain how the technology works and why it’s a problem. The character never appeared again. I really expect an experienced writer to avoid plot devices like this. It didn’t even feel like it fit into the story.

Too much was unexplained in the book. We don’t know why the phone interferes with the process of death. Why are the dead appearing to people. What happened in Europe? It seemed to be a major event and harbinger of things to come, and we never hear of it again.

The end of the book felt premature and anticlimactic. I really feel like I missed something, maybe I did?

I normally really like Greg Bear, he has written some excellent science fiction with some good takes on the latest science. This book doesn’t fit.

http://books.randolphking.com/?p=896 ( )
  Nodosaurus | Dec 24, 2012 |
novel, fiction, sci-fi ( )
  Vic33 | Jun 26, 2012 |
Though he made his name in the 80s and early 90s as a hard SF writer, Greg Bear has more recently branched out into that catch-all mainstream category of techno-thriller. In this case, the SF part of things is just a means to get the ghost story that makes up most of the plot underway. This book really belongs in the horror genre than anywhere else.

I must say I enjoyed this book a fair deal more than I thought I would. Its light, but well told. The characters are well drawn and though it takes a while for the creepy parts to kick in, the story of Peter Russell, an ex-softcore director and his tribulations are compelling enough reading to get you through. There is a genuine enough scary bit towards the end, and the conclusion, while not unexpected, is satisfying. Overall, this was a quick, entertaining read.

One thing I would like to point out is that the blurb at the back gives way too much away. Seeing as I picked this up because I like the author, I didn't bother reading the blurb until I was about 1/5th of the way into the book - and it STILL gave away way too much. Anyone wanting to avoid spoilers should stay away from the back cover! ( )
  iftyzaidi | Mar 12, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Bearprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pennington-McNeil, DreuCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345448383, Mass Market Paperback)

With his acclaimed novels Darwin’s Children and Vitals, award-winning author Greg Bear turned intriguing speculation about human evolution and immortality into tales of unrelenting suspense. Now he ventures into decidedly more frightening territory in a haunting thriller that blends modern technology and old-fashioned terror, as it charts one man’s inexorable descent into a world of mounting supernatural dread.

For the last two years, Peter Russell has mourned the death of one of his twin daughters—who was just ten when she was murdered. Recent news of his best friend’s fatal heart attack has now come as another devastating blow. Divorced, despondent, and going nowhere in his career, Peter fears his life is circling the drain. Then Trans comes along. The brainchild of an upstart telecom company, Trans is (as its name suggests) a transcendent marvel: a sleek, handheld interpersonal communication device capable of flawless operation anywhere in the world, at any time. “A cell phone, but not”—transmitting with crystal clarity across a newly discovered, never-utilized bandwidth . . . and poised to spark a new-technology revolution. When its creators offer Peter a position on their team, it should be a golden opportunity for him. If only he wasn’t seemingly going mad.

Everywhere Peter turns, inexplicable apparitions are walking before him or reaching out in torment. After a chilling encounter with his own lost child he begins to grasp the terrifying truth: Trans is a Pandora’s box that has tapped into a frequency not of this world . . . but of the next. And now, via this open channel to oblivion, the dead have gained access to the living. For Peter, and for humankind, a long, shadowy night of the soul has descended, bringing with it the stuff of a horrifying nightmare from which they may never awaken.

By turns spine-tingling, provocative, and heart-wrenching, Dead Lines marks a major turning point in the consistently dazzling storytelling career of Greg Bear. Alongside its hero, Dead Lines peers into the darkest place we can imagine and wonders—fearfully—what might be peering back.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:45 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When a new information channel that enables the transmission of unprecedented volumes of data is developed, the bandwidth's users begin having strange experiences that lead to the realization that it might be a pathway to the spirit realm.

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