©1985 Greg Bear; (P)1991 RECORDED BOOKS
Vergil Ulam is a lab tech working on organic thinking cells, he injects these cells into his body which begin to colonize and take over his life.
Greg Bear originally wrote this as a short story in the early 80's, after winning the Hugo Award for best short fiction, he fleshed it into this novel, the first about nanotechnology in science fiction. I don't want to give anything away from this book, other than what I've said above but how could I convince you to check it out? The surprises in characters, science, and the possibilities of life stretched beyond the covers and jumped into my daily life. To be sure, this is NOT a Jekyll and Hyde story. As this book was written in 1985 the author's choices now seem prophetic and intriguing as if they were purposely done. Whatever life is it has only enhanced the possibilities of this book's reach and meaning. This story (and characters) is fascinating, terrifying, and emotional without hitting obvious cliched chordes.
George Guidall paces his reading, letting the words rest for a moment before carrying on. This approach and command of understanding the material emphasizes the possibilities of where you, the listener, can take these ideas. There's a lot to digest in this book, crazy ideas, and I think Mr. Guidall gets this. He did an incredible job.
This book is unlike anything you've read/listened to recently, or maybe ever. There are very few books that transform my understanding of life but this one did it. This isn't for everybody but if you liked Perdido Street Station and have a natural curiosity of life, I think this book will fit right in. I might also recommend reading about the "noosphere" to give context for the nooscytes, if you find yourself confused.
This is as good as Darwin's Radio and its sequel, assuming you liked these. It is hard factual (some theoretical, admittedly) biology and a good story. Greg Bear, nails another one.
Certainly in the top 3rd. A very unusual book, that takes some fascinating turns and twists that are unexpected, to say the least. A good combination of Greg Bear and George Guidall.
Mostt...the communication between the nanocells, and humans, without a doubt. A highly original concept.
Least...nothing immediately comes to mind, to be honest. Few flaws.
Goodness, where do I start? George G gives a brilliant performance. The Neocytes, the female characters, the accents. Classic GG. He is an artist, and truly brings this very nuanced novel to life in an approachable, genuine way.
Other reviewers note some timing/editing issues, but this appears to be have been done intentionally.
They' re here!
The other reviews of this fascinating Bear offering don't give it justice, IMHO. Granted, the book moves forward with scientific concepts, and suspensions of disbelief, that otherwise would require a great deal of committment.
I tend to disagree. This book blends nano-end of times concepts, with real characters and concepts that are at once a stretch, and believable.
I am very impressed by this effort, and highly recommend it to all.
The uniqueness of Bear's writing and the recording by George Guidall
Very similar to Eon by Greg Bear, but the particulars and story line are different.
When the noocites began speaking
Blood Music by Greg Bear is in four sections, each being named after one of the phases of mitosis. The characters are mostly different in each of the four sections, with some spillover. The basic story is about a bioengineer who creates an intelligent virus and infects himself with it rather than destroy it, as he is ordered to by his superiors. A plague ensues, and the world must deal with a billion trillion new sentient life forms.
As I stated in my review of Eon, this is a book that was written in the 1980s, but is still relevant today, but perhaps even more so. Heck, if you replaced “East Germany” with “Germany,” this could be a contemporary novel with a few other minor changes. Really, Blood Music is a horror science fiction novel, as it's terrifying, but a lot of the reason why the audiobook is terrifying is the brilliant reading by George Guidall, who is well known to readers of audiobooks. I didn't like it quite as much as I liked Eon, but it's still a solid novel reading, and I look forward to reading more of Greg Bear. ****
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YOUR LIKE A BUNCH OF MOONIES
This is the book that put Bear on the Map. It started with the novella of the same name, which won some awards. I thought that his widening the story into a book worked very well. Written in 1985, it is as stimulating now as it was then. If you enjoyed Crichton's "Prey" you will love this. It is also similar to Bear's more recent hit, "Darwin's Radio".
Imagine that the cells in your body of which there are billions, could think on their own. Actually you do not have to, as Bear already did. Your body is a universe, full of worlds and cities of cells. You want to listen to as much of this book as you can in one setting. It is a book in which you immerse yourself. The book does not have a bunch of well developed characters, although there are a couple, because you are the main character. You want to think of yourself and immerse yourself in the book and your body. Each time you leave the book and come back, it will take a short time to get back into the feeling of the book, so try to set some longer lengths of time to listen. Those who listen in larger blocks of time will enjoy the book, better then those who grab short snippets.
Guidall is the King of Narrators.
I must mention that there was some sort of production problems in the recording. It is not enough for you not to enjoy the book, but you will notice it. Several times the sound will dip and it sounds like Guidall is not speaking into the mic or he has a hand over his mic. I have listened to hundreds of books read by Guidall and this is the first time I have had this problem. I can not believe it was him that was the problem. Let me repeat it is not a reason to not buy the book, it is a minor annoyance.
A lover of contemporary, character driven sci-fi.
Good God, Guidall takes his sweet time. Too many long pauses between words. Sped up, the performance became more satisfactory, and the awesome story (albeit somewhat meandering as is Bear's style) was able to come out.
The narrator, and the decision to narrate a specific major character in an overdramatic and incredibly annoying whisper. Almost ruined a good book.
Fast paced beginning evokes "The Fly" type of horror, then moves into gripping hard si-fi and quickly accelerates toward a visually bizarre and tactile almost hallucinatory post apocalyptic setting.
Again, the affected and tiresome whisper was really hard to bear, I actually resorted to fast forwarding this specific character's dialogue, and it's a main character and that totally defeats the purpose of listening to a book.
Yes, awesome visuals would make for great film effects.
The reader was good, but the audio quality was poor. At its best the volume is low. At intervals it sounds like layers of cotton are being placed between the speaker and the microphone. At its worst it sounds like he is speaking from the other side of a mattress.
No. This isn't the sort of book that needs a sequel. It ends as it should.
It's easy for me to recommend the book, it's one of my favorites. But the quality of the audio here forces me to suggest you get a print copy. It is possible to listen to if you listen in a quiet space, but if you listen where there is background noise, you may not be pleased.
Avid reader all of my life! Favorite author: Stephen King. Favorite book: Hyperion.
The first half of this book was very engrossing and captivating. The second half - not so much. The story works well when its about the main character: Vergil. You're interested in his plight and his fate. Once that is determined, the story meanders about to various other characters that I just couldn't really care about.
The narrator also does not speak clearly into the microphone at a few points in the book making you have to turn up the audio very high just to hear him. In his defense, this was recorded many, many years ago when audiobook recording was not at the best. The narrator does not have a vast range of voices either: alternating from gruff, gravely to a high-pitched attempt at female voices which just doesn't work.
An interesting premise and great first half of the book, but not one that I could recommend.
The beginning kept me excited but the middle and end was muddled.
There was no character development and the characters depicted were unbelievable.
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