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34 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Trapped in the words
I do not like to read, and was forced to read a book for an english class I took. I chose this book randomly off of the libray shelves judging only by the science fiction label on the spine. I could not put it down! Someone like me who does not read for pleasure was so wrapped in the book that I could not bring myself to put the book down. I loved every word of it.
Published on March 24 2004 by Debora Stinner

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3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been happy with just Darwin's Radio
This sequel tells the story of Kaye's daughter up to about 16 years of age. The new species of man Bear creates proves to be not all that different. There are new social interaction possibilities, and new english phrases, but they really aren't that much different. This makes it not that interesting. Additionally, the more group focus of the new species leaves the...
Published on June 26 2004 by owookiee


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4.0 out of 5 stars Darwin's Legacy, Oct. 27 2004
By 
Neil Tabbenor (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've been a fan of Greg Bear for sometime, it started, I think, with Eon. Like Orson Scott Card, another favourite, Bear writes stories about people, draped over a science fiction setting, driven by the same emotions as us all. In that regard, Darwin's Children doesn't disappoint; there's no escaping Mitch and Kaye's love for their daughter and each other, tested as it may be. After finishing Darwin's Radio, I was hesitant to pick up the sequel. I found Darwin's Radio to be cluttered with genetics 101 to the point of losing the story. Darwin's Children doesn't make that mistake. It finds a better balance of story and science. I read on the web that the book will soon be turned into a movie, which surprises me, as there's very little in the book that would seem attractive to Hollywood. It's a great read that gives pause. Enjoy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been happy with just Darwin's Radio, June 26 2004
By 
owookiee "owookiee" (Winston-Salem, NC USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darwin's Children (Hardcover)
This sequel tells the story of Kaye's daughter up to about 16 years of age. The new species of man Bear creates proves to be not all that different. There are new social interaction possibilities, and new english phrases, but they really aren't that much different. This makes it not that interesting. Additionally, the more group focus of the new species leaves the individual characters seeming disinterested or plain.
If you liked Darwin's Radio - I would suggest you leave it at that, and use your imagination instead of reading this.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The first novel from Bear I didn't finish, June 25 2004
By 
Franklin "bfranklin" (Chandler, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
Greg Bear was my favorite writer, period. If I saw a new novel from him, I'd buy it, no questions asked. But Darwin's radio falls short. His mutated children characters could be fascinating, but he doesn't spend enough time on them. On and on we go, about Washington, hearings, and recriminations. Hey, if I wanted to see that crap, I can turn on C-SPAN and watch the 9-11 hearings, I don't need to pay eight bucks. Where is the wonder and majesty of the Way, in the Eon series? The vast loneliness of space, and awesome sense duty in the Forge of God books? The strangeness and alien humanity in Queen of Angels? This book is a disappointment. If you want to go find the wonder that was Greg Bear, go get yourself an Alistair Reynolds book. That guy ROCKS! And Mr. Bear, please go back into the wonder business, so I can go back to buying your books again without worring about wasting my time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Boring, Disjointed and Over-rated, June 12 2004
By 
Publius (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darwin's Children (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.
However, to give Bear proper credit for not being completely P.C., he does engage the issue regarding the peopling of the Americas. This contribution to the discourse alone made me bump Bear's work up from two to three stars. All praise be the vestigial remnants of independent thought!!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars X-Men 2 All Over Again, June 7 2004
By A Customer
This isn't really a bad book, but it is almost a rehash of the second X-Men movie. Here you have a school (or a series of schools) for gifted children beset by government officials or self-appointed vigilantes who want either to kill them outright or put them in "camps", as in the X-Men movie. I kept expecting adamantine claws to extend from a character's hands to slice up a bad guy (but that never happened). I tried to push the images of Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Children out of my mind, but I couldn't do it. The writing is competent, but the drama is flat. The other lasting criticism I have of both books together (Darwin's Radio and Darwin's children) is that the specialness or unique qualities of the new children aren't made all that clear. Perhaps this will come in the last novel of the series. As it is, there are far greater classics of mutants in the genre. It's hard to beat Van Vogt, Stapelton, and Sturgeon who've already done it better.
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3.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment� what a book this could have been, June 4 2004
By 
This review is from: Darwin's Children (Hardcover)
Why you should read this:
Many of the devoted fans of Bear who read with relish Darwin's Radio will eagerly look forward to buying this book. For them, it will be a very quick and, perhaps in some ways, satisfying read. It will answer certain questions about "what happened next" and could even leave room for yet a third novel. It is otherwise a harmless novel that will not enlighten but not irritate a reading audience(...)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Trapped in the words, March 24 2004
By 
This review is from: Darwin's Children (Hardcover)
I do not like to read, and was forced to read a book for an english class I took. I chose this book randomly off of the libray shelves judging only by the science fiction label on the spine. I could not put it down! Someone like me who does not read for pleasure was so wrapped in the book that I could not bring myself to put the book down. I loved every word of it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent near-future thriller, March 21 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Darwin's Children (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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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellant near-future thriller, March 19 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Darwin's Children (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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1.0 out of 5 stars Just plain terrible., Feb. 22 2004
By 
Jane Avriette (Arlington, Virginia USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darwin's Children (Audio CD)
I read the first book. Like, read it, on paper. I enjoyed it. So, on a whim, I picked up the sequel to Darwin's Radio on the iTunes Music Store. Boy, it was just awful.
First off, the person reading the book is trying way too hard to do all kinds of voices -- latina women, black women, old men, old women, young girls -- and detracts entirely from the flow of the book. It's very difficult to be paying attention to the book itself when the narrator keeps speaking in tongues.
As for the book itself, the plot is much more like a romance novel. Thin, lacking detail. Plot devices are cliche and predictable. About half an hour into this book, I knew exactly what was going to happen, simply by the way the author laid things out.
It seems to me that the ending of the first book left a lot open. Sometimes, that's a good thing. It leaves the reader to chew on what the author is trying to convey. It allows open-ended thought on the subject. In the case of Darwin's Radio, this is definitely a good thing.
However, it also seems that this book was some compulsory thing Mr. Bear did because there was .. I dunno, need from his readerbase to "finish the story"? This is clearly the work of small minds. To take these characters off into all these spurious thread-cleaning-up adventures at the expense of the reader's time and money is just criminal.
Sometimes, well enough is well enough alone.
If you must read this book, borrow the paper copy. The audiobook is not worth the time or money, and the book isn't either. At least the paper won't be attempting some inflected southern accent.
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Darwin's Children
Darwin's Children by Greg Bear (Turtleback - April 30 2004)
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