Queen of Angels Hardcover – Jul 1990
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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
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
"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.
Most recent customer reviews
I stopped reading it after a hundred pages or so. The story wasn't going anywhere and I felt Bear was trying too hard. Read morePublished on Sept. 26 2010 by petitetoilonrouge
I read this book some years ago, and I have come to the conclusion that it is the best book I have ever read. Read morePublished on June 29 2004 by Julian Keogh
One of the best SF books that I have read in a very long time. Bear deals with issues of race, sexuality, gender, body image, justice, and human self awareness in some very complex... Read morePublished on June 8 2003 by dr. b.
I could not get into this book. The characters did not draw me in and hold me. The language was sometimes confusing and you get these + signs that I never quite got. Read morePublished on April 2 2003 by William Black
I am a tremendous fan of Greg Bear, but not this time. This book totally misses the mark. I don't care about anyone.Published on March 2 2003 by mobiusklien
When science fiction is at it's best, it usually is a social commentary of the future. This is such a book and it one of the best commentaries you will find any time soon. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2003 by papaphilly
I really liked this book. Unfortunately, I read it after reading Slant. If you can, read Queen of Angels first, followed by Slant, then Moving Mars. it'll make more sense.Published on March 4 2002 by Steve DeGroof
A rare thing. A science fiction novel that's complex, interesting, entertaining and lots of other good 'ings. Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2001 by jonshade