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Darwin's Children | [Greg Bear]

Darwin's Children

Eleven years have passed since SHEVA was discovered in human DNA, a retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence...and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths are also ticking time bombs that could exterminate the "old" human race...
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Publisher's Summary

Eleven years have passed since SHEVA was discovered in human DNA, a retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence...and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths are also ticking time bombs that could exterminate the "old" human race.

Fear and hatred of the virus children have made them a persecuted underclass, quarantined by the government, targeted by bounty hunters, and demonized by the population. But pockets of resistance have formed among those opposed to treating the children like dangerous diseases.

Scientists Kaye Lang and Mitch Rafelson are part of this small but determined minority. Once at the forefront of the discovery and study of the SHEVA outbreak, they now live as virtual exiles in the Virginia suburbs with their daughter, Stella, a bright, inquisitive virus child who is quickly maturing and eager to seek out others of her kind.

But for all their precautions, Kaye, Mitch, and Stella have not slipped below the government's radar. The agencies fanatically devoted to segregating and controlling the new-breed children monitor their every move, waiting for the opportunity to strike the next blow in their escalating war to preserve "humankind" at any cost.

© 2003 Greg Bear; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Bear's sure sense of character, his fluid prose style and the fascinating culture his 'Shevite' children begin to develop all make for serious SF of the highest order." (Publishers Weekly)
"Top-shelf science fiction, thrilling and intellectually charged." (Amazon.com)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (285 )
5 star
 (71)
4 star
 (112)
3 star
 (63)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (18)
Overall
3.9 (106 )
5 star
 (40)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (20)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (6)
Story
4.0 (101 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
 (41)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-27-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    8
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    "Get the abridged version and do yourself a favor"

    The idea was compelling, but it jumped around a lot and this is very confusing in an audio book. It meandered and spent way too much time dwelling on meaningless details in descriptions. I can see how the Sheva children would pay attention to smells, but he even excessively described smells that only the humans were present for, and would not normally be noticed by humans or worthy of description.

    I also thought the children were rather odd as mutants go. Why would an enhanced sense of smell be an evolutionary advance? It went overboard on the role viruses would play, instead of giving them an expanded role in genetics, he gave them the entire role in genetics and reproduction.

    Then he threw in stuff about one of the characters having a deep religious epiphany and went on and on about it. It made no sense in the plot and must have just been something he wanted to share.

    The characters spent too much time in maudlin navel-staring. And the language was frequently overwrought and melodramatic.

    This was my first Greg Bear book and it will be my last. I don't like his style--way too much superfluous descripion. I'm not rating the book lower than two stars because it had an interesting idea, even if I hated how he executed it. I also cared about some of the characters.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Huttunen P. 03-23-05
    Huttunen P. 03-23-05 Listener Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
    ratings
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    41
    7
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    "MIxed feelings about this one"

    I haven't read or listened to the earlier Sheva-book by Greg Bear (Darwin's Radio), so bear that in mind when reading my review.

    Although raising interesting questions about genetic development of the human species this book was extremely annoying in its righteous atmosphere and in its portrayal of the characters with such one sided empathy that seemed at times pathetic. The characters were surprisingly one dimensional and although one might assume that the main characters were supposed to be touching to the listener, they left, at least me, pretty much cold. I felt like the writer tried to force the idea of human evolvement with these Sheva Children to be right, without leaving room for any other thoughts. I felt underestimated by the writer for not giving me the option for wider speculation.

    I'm not too sure whether Scott Brick was the right choice to voice this book. I really do like him, and sometimes even buy a book here because he is the reader, but in this production his usually quite rich voice acting felt rather melodramatic and carried with it mainly the tired and tiring message of how sad is it that the Sheva Children are treated so badly. Throughout the book Brick used his voice to sound like it's almost breaking of emotion, which might of course be good if the action in the book would justify that, but he used this effect ALL THE TIME with the main characters, and made them sound like such a sorrowful bunch, which actually made me hate them.

    I'm sure that many people find this book to be very interesting and thought provoking. It's too bad that the rather splendid idea is, in my opinion, carried out so poorly and flatly. But to the book's credit I have to say that in a good science fiction fashion it raised interesting questions, and anyway kept me entertained. Although I expected more from Greg Bear and Scott Brick.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    phil b houston 04-16-04
    phil b houston 04-16-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
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    120
    8
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    Overall
    "Well..."

    Ok, just ok. Interesting story but hampered by apocalyptic narration, in my opinion. The narrator uses a continuous melodramatic tone that wears on me after a bit.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Miraglia Bay Area, CA, USA 10-05-04
    Eric Miraglia Bay Area, CA, USA 10-05-04 Member Since 2015

    Eric Miraglia

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    "Science-driven plot; weirdly over-emoted reading"

    This book is a worthwhile sequel -- definitely worthwhile if you read and enjoyed the first book. I found the plot to be unconventional, lacking the traditional kinds of drama found in this genre, but I also found it quite engaging as it was, meandering through highs and lows without having a core conflict. The characters are interesting, and a number of them are developed enough to offer compelling subplots. Picking up with Kate and Mitch from the previous novel makes it easy to slide into caring about the characters.

    The biggest drawback in this audiobook is the fact that the reader, whose voice is deep and clear, adopts a reading style in which virtually every sentence is read as though it is the most dramatic moment in the novel. This over-emoting is unbelievably distracting, at least at first, and makes it hard sometimes to stomach large doses of the audio. It's unfortunate, because it's not the most dramatic book -- and a straighter, more even-keeled delivery would fit the narrative well. However, in this case the producer got it wrong and gave terrible direction to the reader. It is this aspect alone that makes the audiobook hard to recommend.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Dunnellon, FL. United States 03-22-15
    Anthony Dunnellon, FL. United States 03-22-15 Member Since 2015

    Avid book lover and listener. Nuff said for this purpose.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Different"

    At the beginning I thought I knew where it 'might' be going---I was wrong. At first I wasn't sure I liked the path Bear took the novel and was disappointed. Having a strong science background I liked the science part and thought his departure from where I might have taken the book, if I could write that is...disappointing, but I finally came around to appreciate it was written by a different perspective than say hard core sci-fi, or hard core scientific influence.
    Having segued into that mind set I enjoyed the last part. It was kind of like having two books, once separate then conjoined, sort of juxtaposed unity. Sorry don't mean to be glib but it's the only way I know to decribe my perception of Darwin's Children.
    The first book had more scientific overlays which contributed to my conflicting views: I like it, I don't like it, maybe I will like it, not bad.
    All told it is a different book then I normally listen to (although I didn't know that at the onset), being a Robert Hamilton, Sanderson, Stephen King kind of sci-fi reader/listener, but I have to say I came to enjoy the different path that Bear took, at least this once. Hmm I think I'm rambling so just get the book, put aside any self-perceived notions at the start and enjoy going somewhere you might not have bought a ticket for. The scenery will be enjoyable if not spectacular. Good doesn't mean mediocre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert C. Kiser 02-06-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good book. ok performance."

    Was surprised Scott Brick ' s performance was a bit lackluster. perhaps an issue of direction. story was good, though choppy time line at places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Olympia, Wa 08-01-14
    Cindy Olympia, Wa 08-01-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sequel delivers"

    Enjoyed the first book, Darwin's Radio, and enjoyed the Darwin's Children just as much.

    Good book, it went by quickly. I hope there will be another book that continues the story....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JSH 05-27-12
    JSH 05-27-12

    Clinical treatment and research awareness. Sci-fi to Science to Maximim PC/parenting. How to best network HDMA? 70% SciFi-thrillers-30% science

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Excellent."

    6/5 Another riveting discovery for me. Good flow, edge of your seat with a great story. worth another listen. Exceptional.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terrance Hanna 10-16-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Greg Bear At his best... Hard Science"

    This story is hard science. Some of the DNA / phage interactions in the book are now being research in bio labs today. Evolutionary “jump” theories are now being supported by some science studies into dogs and insects. This is a great story of hard Sci-Fi and Ben tells it well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Mount AIry, MD, United States 11-07-10
    William Mount AIry, MD, United States 11-07-10 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Politics overwhelmed a good story"

    I read the first book and the series and was looking forward to the second one. However, the author's constant political drumbeat was just too much. I wanted a science fiction story, not a politcal rant. I gave up about one quarter of the way through the book. There is enough quality science fiction out there that doesn't try to make a blatent political point every few pages.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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