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Queen of Angels Hardcover – Jul 1990

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Time Warner Publishing (Hc) (July 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446514004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446514002
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 798 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,569,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

The motivation of the mass-murderer--in this case a noted poet--becomes the subject of investigation by an ambitious policewoman, a renegade psychologist, and the murderer's closest friend. Twenty-first century Los Angeles provides the surrealistic setting for a remarkable exploration of human guilt and fears in the latest novel by the author of Blood Music and Eternity (LJ 10/15/88). Bear's blending of high-tech gloss with penetrating insights into human nature results in a complex and challenging speculative vision of the "country of the mind." Highly recommended.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Greg Bear, author of more than twenty-five books that have been translated into seventeen languages, has won science fiction’s highest honors and is considered the natural heir to Arthur C. Clarke. The recipient of two Hugos and four Nebulas for his fiction, he has been called “the best working writer of hard science fiction” by The Science Fiction Encyclopedia. Many of his novels, such as Darwin’s Radio, are considered to be this generations’ classics.
Bear is married to Astrid Anderson, daughter of science fiction great Poul Anderson, and they are the parents of two children, Erik and Alexandria. His recent thriller novel, Quantico, was published in 2007 and the sequel, Mariposa, followed in 2009. He has since published a new, epic science fiction novel, City at the End of Time and a generation starship novel, Hull Zero Three.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The reader who is about to pick up "Queen of Angels" should understand one thing about Greg Bear: he writes hard sci-fi (sci-fi which is typically laden with "tech talk"), and he writes the hardest sci-fi probably in existence today. The effect of this can be bewildering to the neophyte, especially considering the variety of his narrators. One of them, while close, is not even human, and that can easily drive away the most committed of readers.
However, dear reader, may I suggest that you persist to the end? Bear writes the most satisfying conclusions in sc-fi today, and the ending of "Queen" is among these. The ending, though, is not the best part. Neither is Bear's vision of mid-21st Century Southern California, which can be vexing. What is most fascinating about this novel is the evolution of its characters, and the effects of their modern world upon them. Not even the advanced therapy taken on by Mary Choy, Bear's wunderkind gumshoe, can protect her from the slings and arrows embedded in the human psyche. In fact, the most human character in the novel is Richard Fettle, the vaguely Luddite disciple of Emmanuel Goldsmith, the one whose life is only indirectly touched by technology, and who consequently seems to be able to access his primal self best of all, and who therefore can best understand Goldsmith's motivations most readily.
What may intrigue the reader of this novel the most is the "character" AXIS, an artifical intelligence which directs a craft in the exploration of an Earth-like planet around Alpha Centauri, and which may have been constructed too well for its own good. One imagines while reading this what may become of a child who is sent on a similar mission, and the conclusion of insanity makes perfect sense.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since many of the reviews are well written, I thought I'd just add a few more thoughts. Bear's novel is, as the back cover brags, incredibly ambitious. The different plot lines are brimming with fascinating ideas that make you reflect deeply on the process of writing, the human condition, our own society, and where it's headed. This is perhaps the best that can be said of any science fiction work.
I found Bear's division of the future world seductive. We do indeed seem to place overreliance upon therapy in today's culture, and our justice system, with it's property based-punishment, may one day meet out purely psychological torture. (Some might say it does already.)
Bear's is a grim dystopian vision, and I must say that I appreciate the innovation but that I think it is all too easy to say that "thing's are getting worse." The only reason why I didn't find Bear's rehashing of this theme boring is that his vision contains intricacy.
As a black reader, I found the character of Emmanuel Goldsmith (the murderer) to be somewhat convincing and effectively able to portray the themes confronting black society today: the nasty process of assimilation with its accompanying globalized atomization. (No one admits that when you learn to speak and act like the majority you'll also want to wear headphones on the subway.) The journey into Emmanuel's Country of the Mind was one of the most fascinating stories I've ever read.
That said, Bear made the post-modernist mistake of referring to the process of writing while doing a hackneyed job of it himself. The characters of Richard Fettle and Nadine don't really seem to take off, and it is only Martin Burke that comes across as believable.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the best Greg Bear book I've read. It's not as accessible as BLOOD MUSIC (his other really good one), but in many ways it's more impressive. A reviewer's blurb on the cover of my paperback edition calls it "...possibly the most ambitious novel ever written..." which sounds like the most ridiculous hyperbole, but I wouldn't call it completely off the mark.
For some reason, the author wrote several sections in a deliberately obtuse fashion, which forced me to reread the first couple pages of many chapters. I haven't quite figured out the intent behind this literary "technique", but plowing through the difficult parts of this one actually pays off.
The novel's obsessive focus on the themes of crime and punishment (mostly punishment), looked at from the perspectives of different characters in different situations, impressed me much the same way Frederik Pohl's novel GATEWAY did (which dealt with the themes of survival and guilt). It really sticks with you after reading it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
How this novel has been overlooked by so many sci-fi fans, not to mention the Hugo and Nebula awards committees, is beyond me. This is one of the greatest novels of the 20th century in any genre. Read it more than once, and discuss it with your friends (a fair amount of technical knowledge can help you understand some of the more arcane parts, but is not strictly necessary).
"Queen of Angels" is a vivid and deeply philosophical novel about how a future society deals with the crime of murder, as seen through the eyes of a policewoman, a psychiatrist, and a poet. Bear is without living equal in his ability to create convincing future worlds and extrapolate the effects of technology on the human spirit. Along the way, he challenges the reader's fundamental perceptions of self, humanity, mental illness, and justice.
This book is a good introduction to Greg Bear. It has a more-or-less-sequel, "Slant", which is also very good, although I thought the ending of that book was a little too pat. Fans of end-of-the-world fiction will love his "Forge of God" and "Anvil of Stars", which are better than anything Niven and Pournelle have done. Anything by Bear is guaranteed to be an enjoyable read at minimum, and several of his novels are complex and moving enough to stand with the best fiction of any age. I promise, if you are a thinking person, you will not regret reading this book.
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