I'd give this novel 2 stars for page turning entertainment, 4 stars for true science fictional speculation, and 5 stars for hard science research. What held back the entertainment value was the relentless political conflict. I selected this book because I'm fascinated by the idea of a descended species for mankind. I've always hated that most science fiction books create a homo superior by giving them ESP as their defining trait. Greg Bear's approach is far more creative by exploring how this new species evolves. However, Bear spent to many words on political infighting and not enough on what these new people would be like - maybe he's saving that for another novel. I do give Bear great credit for writing a serious science fiction novel and not fantasy escapism that's common to the genre.
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