Blood Music Paperback – Dec 3 2008
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About the Author
Greg Bear is a multiple Nebula and Hugo award-winning author whose works have been celebrated for their vision, scope, intensity, and sheer drama. His novels include his newest, Moving Mars, Queen of Angels, The Forge of God, Eon, Eternity, and Blood Music. He lives in Washington State. A Main Selection of Science Fiction Book Club® --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Blood Music starts off with a promising concept and treats
it in a relatively sophisticated manner. Through the use of
recombinant DNA research, Vergil Ulam, creates a sentient single
cell organism. These organisms subsequently begin to build a
society to fit their needs. This means changing the molecular
structure of living creatures, including human beings, to suit
them. Thus begins (and ends) Blood Music.
The better aspects of Blood Music involve the exploration of
the possibility of intelligent single-cell organisms. The scenes
where organisms actually "talk" or communicate with Vergil and
later Bernard had great potential. Unfortunately, most of the
novel reads like a second rate horror flick. I have not read the
novelette that won a Hugo so I suspect the more carelessly
conceived aspects of the novel were left out. The "blob" that
takes over New York city and the "ghosts" that appear to convince
Suzy to "join" them are simply trite B-movie devices.
It's hard to recommend reading the entire novel. Only the
first third and second third are worth the effort.
The main plot is
1. scientist discovers plague
2. plague takes over America
3. plague is actually next evolution for human species
Now I believe pretty much anyone can write an end-of-the-world novel and make it at least somewhat compelling, and surely this book is an acceptable page turner. But there are several problems with Blood Music that left me disappointed.
First, the initial discovery and explanation of the noocytes (individual cells that are intelligent) is poorly done. Bear does a hack job of really explaining this at a biological level and I was never convinced.
Second, the idea of an intelligent plague is an intriguing one, but is has been used for a better end in other books, most notably Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card. Bear never really builds up the ethical dilemma of what does it mean if we eradicate this disease.
Third, any end-of-the-world novel is going to need to seem epic in nature. The Stand by Stephen King is I think a great example. You really need more character's viewpoints to get the whole picture. Instead, we are given about five characters to follow. This leads to another problem:
Fourth, the characters are very poorly done. Virgil, Edward, Bernard - all three are pretty much interchangable as they go through their plague symptoms. Bear uses a lot of strange syntax to show their mental states, but it is confusing to read.Read more ›
The first third to half of this felt like you were sitting in a taut, well made thriller film. Virgil is a classic tool to set up an action/slight SF plot - a gifted geneticist, socially inept, is caught out doing shonky private research on the company time, and in a classy scene told he has two hours to destroy all his stuff. He manages to hide the most crucial enhanced 'learning' cells he's been working on, but eventually can only smuggle them out by injecting them in his own body - a crazy act, but he can't bear the thought of losing years of successful research. The stuff will probably die anyway, although of course it shouldn't have been let out of carefully quarantined conditions. All this presented skilfully, with the pseudo-scientific dialogue (how would I know) not abusing your suspension of disbelief.
Of course weird things start happening, and he calls on his friend (and seeming ideal hero vehicle), Edward, a Doctor and Harrison Ford style intelligent and resourceful (but still sort of everyman) figure. Has Virgil potentially unleashed a deadly virus? And who are these suspicious CIA types in the background - there was actually defence research secretly happening at Virgil's lab: are we squaring off for a standard little man against the establishment, using his wits to unravel the mystery while on the run, finally using whatever the discovery is to cleverly resolve the book? There's even a powerful potential mini-resolution relatively early on that Bear could have built up to as a satisfactory conclusion.Read more ›
Bear's anti-hero is the socially inept but staggeringly brilliant Vergil Ulam, a cellular biologist who makes a startling discovery with genetically modified human leukocytes (white blood cells Ulam has been tampering with), attempts to contact a rival genetic researcher, gets caught, and promptly finds himself out of a job and---more importantly---out of a laboratory. With a discovery in hand that could catapult him to the forefront of the field of nanotechnology (the science of creating molecular-level machines that are capable of self-replication), what's a Mad Scientist to do?
He injects himself with the little nanites, of course, and then goes out on the town.
Greg Bear is a consummately gifted science fiction thinker who typically sacrifices character development, plot, and pacing to the more visceral and esoteric ramifications of the science at the core of his stories. "Blood Music", then, is even more of a rare gem, a book in which Bear's scientific acumen and literary craftsmanship come together.
In the first few chapters, "Blood Music" takes on the pace and grue of a horror novel.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The book is in great shape. It looks brand new. The back of the book has a clearly misspelled word on it which is the only problem I could find with it. Read morePublished on July 31 2013 by Michael Anderson
This is a great book with a unique plot, but the admitted low intelligence of one of the POV characters detracts from the novel. Read morePublished on June 8 2013 by Adam Eryavec
I am not a big science fiction fan but, or maybe because of that, enjoyed Blood Music very much. It is a sort of apocalyptic tale: Artificially mutated blood cells with... Read morePublished on Oct. 5 2007 by ginger snaps
One of Bear's more popular works from the Eighties, "Blood Music" tells of the takeover of the living world by a thinking, reproducing nanotechnological being. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2003 by John S Harris
Greg Bear originally wrote Blood Music as a short story but then later expanded it into a full-length novel. Read morePublished on May 29 2003
Looking for a book so good you drop everything else and get behind on all that stuff you should be doing? This is one of those books! Read morePublished on March 10 2003 by Jennifer Juday
Greg gave the appearance of knowing his science in this book. It felt convincing. It showed an important part about scientific squabbling and reminded us of the arrogance of... Read morePublished on March 2 2003 by mobiusklien
I've been reading SF since the 1960's and I've re-read this book 3 times. Bear takes a simple Frankenstein science moment and extrapolates it out into the the most extreme human... Read morePublished on Dec 30 2002 by Guy Marsden