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Darwin's Children Paperback – Jul 4 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (July 4 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007132387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007132386
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.9 x 3.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Morning lay dark and quiet around the house. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
The sequel to the considerably better Darwin's Radio lacks much of interest - the injection of recent understandings of the possible role(s) of viruses in evolution aside.
The topic matter at hand truly could lend itself to very interesting story-telling, but in this text Bear does not seem to push hard enough. What it lacks is a penetrating insight needed to take expository texts into the realm of worthwhile fiction.
Also, I think that a chief problem in the plot arcs is that they do not cohere very well. Much is left out and context is often absent, with the result for me being that I really didn't follow the story - as it were - too closely. I found myself skipping/skimming over large portions of the text.
The "science is good" in the text, sure, but the "science is good" also in Scientific American. In the SF genre, good science absent good ploting means, ultimately, a less fruitful yield.
What perhaps irks me the most is that the actual payoff of the text is so asymmetrical with the tout & hype.
Put another way, if this is considered "masterful" science fiction, then we are in a dark period of science fiction writing. My view is that the science fiction genre, emblazoned as it used to be with irreverance and occasional iconoclastic brilliance, is now almost completely subject to creativity-dampening strictures of political correctness. Bear's work is almost a monment to P.C. in writing.
Put anoyther way: P.C. and S.F. are utterly incompatible. Since the publishing industry will not publish those texts which do not jibe with current notions of what's P.C., and since the American readership is evidently so docile and easily pleased, then we may predict an extended dark age for the SF genre.
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By A Customer on March 21 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ah, the wonders of on-line communication! This is my third attempt to write a review of this novel. The first was submitted, acknowledged, but lost, the second disappeared when I attempted to edit it before submission. So this will be shorter than the other two I wrote, as it's starting to get old now. However, I did want to highly recommend both Darwin's Children, and its prequel, Darwin's Radio.
Both novels make use of an iconoclastic theory of evolution in which elements of the "junk DNA" found in humans as well as other creatures responds to stresses in the environment by bringing about changes in the genomes of the species'off-spring. When these human up-grades are born in increasing numbers, society reacts with predicable fear and panic. The children are removed from their parents, who are oftentimes not told where they are, or what's happened to them, and forced to live in concentration-camp type "schools", where they grow to adolescence in a society which seems to resent their existence. At first, there are legitimate fears that these children may harbor dangerous viral diseases; later the policy is continued for reasons of political expediency.
Both novels follow the main protagonists Kaye and Mitch, who, with their daughter Stella, one of the Homo Sapiens Novus, struggle to keep their family together, and to bring about a more humane societal response to the new humans in their midst.
The books, which should be read one story, are informative, suspenseful, and very moving. In my opinion, the story as a whole is Bear's best.
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By A Customer on March 18 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm writing this review of Darwin's Children, but it actually applies to both that work, and the one preceeding it, Darwin's Radio. Both are great science fiction stories that go beyond the genre, and would interest fans of human-interest fiction as well. The novels deal with an iconoclastic evolutionary theory (turning out to be right in the story, of course) which challenges the neo-Darwinian scenario of a slow process of natural selection taking place over eons. In the new theory, very briefly, portions of the "junk DNA" in organisms, including humans, can respond to sufficient stresses in the environment to bring about a new genotype in the off-spring of a species at a very rapid rate. The story deals with the effects on society and the individuals involved, when increasing numbers of these upgrade humans are born.
The trauma faced by society as a whole, who's leaders mistakenly believe that these children pose a disease risk to the society, is exceeded by that of the parents, who find their children forcibly taken away from them, often without any follow-up word on where they are, or what their condition is. And the new children themselves have to deal with a world that seems to resent their existance, forced into concentration camp type "schools", and kept there even after evidence clearly indicates there is no danger, for reasons of political expediency.
The two main characters, Kaye and Mitch, and their daughter Stella, one of the Homo Sapiens Novus, contend with forces seemingly beyond their control, trying to keep their family together, and to help bring about a more humane response to the new type of human being in our midst. The story,again including both books, is genetically informative, suspensful, and very moving. Get both books and read them as a single work. I highly recommend both of them!
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