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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 (255 )
5 star
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3.9 (81 )
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Story
4.0 (77 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    phil b houston 04-16-04
    phil b houston 04-16-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    73
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    "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

    Eric Miraglia

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Cindy Olympia, Wa 08-01-14
    Cindy Olympia, Wa 08-01-14
    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 United States 05-27-12
    JSH United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2000

    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
  •  
    Terry Calgary, AB, Canada 10-16-11
    Terry Calgary, AB, Canada 10-16-11 Member Since 2006

    Tell us about yourself!

    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
  •  
    K. Howe Texas, USA 05-28-10
    K. Howe Texas, USA 05-28-10 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Ruined by the narrator"

    I like Bear's books, and I am sure that I would enjoy this one, but the narrator is dismal. He singsongs through the whole thing, as if he is bored of the story. It doesn't matter what he is saying, the cadence never changes, and it certainly doesn't reflect (let alone enhance) the story. He sounds petulant, like a father reading a book to a child he desperately wants to put to sleep.

    Is it just this book? No. I made the mistake of picking up another by this same narrator (Paul of Dune - don't do it!) I lasted about 5 minutes in that one. It took about 90 minutes in this one before I just couldn't take it any more. I think the book has a lot of promise, but not in this format.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oliver Norman Park, GA, United States 04-27-10
    Oliver Norman Park, GA, United States 04-27-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
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    "Easy listen,but not as good as Darwin's radio"

    Good if you like sci-fi, easy to listen to. Good overall book, I would get it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Fremont, CA, United States 07-21-07
    Jan Fremont, CA, United States 07-21-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "couldn't stand the narrator's reading"

    This may be a good book (Greg Bear's books usually are) but the narrator gave so many wrong and obnoxious inflections to the words and sentences, that I couldn't stand to listen to the whole thing. Odd, because I've heard Scott Brick read other books where he doesn't do this. Sad that he did here, and that the director, or producer let it go through. It ruins the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Lawrence, KS USA 07-25-04
    Amazon Customer Lawrence, KS USA 07-25-04 Member Since 2004

    The Book Conjurer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A disappointment"

    I've read other Bear (Blood Music, and Forge of God many years ago) and remember them fondly, so I was overjoyed when I found his newer material on Audible. However, despite the fact that the central idea is interesting, I was deeply disappointed by Darwin's Children.

    First, the science is questionable. Bear gets some minor details about retrotransposons wrong, but what really bugged me was the SHEVA-infected women who become virus factories (a hypothesis that's sure to fail the parsimony test). Finally, Bear seems to believe the Victorian notion that evolution is a progression towards perfection.

    Sometimes inconsistencies in Bear's characters are so irritating that they interrupt the flow of the story. For instance, Kaye does nothing by weep in the car outside the house where Stella has been abducted; most mothers would charge in to save their child. And Mitch, who used to be some kind of anthropologist, says that he respects Native Americans so much, he's dug up their sacred gravesites.

    In all, this book was either a hurried or sloppy effort that could have been improved with the help of a good editor and fact checker.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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