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.
"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)
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.
Simply put, this book is fantastic. Even though the scientific parts (and they are long when existent) are best taken in short doses, the rest is very immersive and I have gone for hours upon hours without being able to stop listening. With a healthy dose of science, politics, and anthropology, this book is a great listen. Very highly recommended.
I downloaded this book without realizing that it was a sequel to "Darwin's Radio." I was pleasantly suprised to find a sequel that stands on its own merits and doesn't have to retell the original story for the reader to follow along. This book was a riveting listen. The ideas that Bear presents are amazing and the characters are all very real people. Some characters, such as Stella, are developed much more intensely than others but I think that "Darwin's Radio" probably addressed these characters in more detail. This was my first exposure to Greg Bear's science fiction and I can't wait for more! Now, if only Audible would get the unabridged "Darwin's Radio" ...
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.
I wasn't really expecting a sequel to Darwin's Radio, but this one does a pretty good job. The plot is almost as good as the first book, but some of the speculative aspect is better.
The characters are as believeable as ever, though Kay's character has lost a little bit of her past I think.
All in all, the ending really makes the book. I doubt it's a popular ending with most people, but it really fits the book well. In this regard, Bear has done phenomenal work. It's absolutely an appropriate addition to the Darwin series.
I enjoyed the book. I had read Darwin's Radio so was interested in the follow-on. I did not like the direct attacks against Republicans, FoxNews, and Rush Limbaugh. With a little effort I'm sure the author could have found a way to not make his enemies of today his enemies of the future. Although the author tends to criticise fundamentalist Christians, one of his main characters spends a lot time communicating with who she believes is God. So, if you can get by the out-of-place political comment on current events the overall story is interesting and well-read.
I loved this book. The story was plausible, as good science fiction should be. The characters are three-dimensional and, a rarity in SF, the female characters are fully realized, and believable. The narrator did such a good job that I got completely lost in the story. That's rare, I usually get occasionally distracted by the narrator but this one let the story shine and did an impeccable job.
Although the book was read fairly well, I found the content to be difficult to wade through in audio form. There are long parts of the book where virology and biological term papers seem to be discussed with complete abandon. The impact on the listener is bewildering terms and loss of train of thought. In book form, it would be easy to backtrack to slowly go through the passages to understand what was being said. Not so with audio. Also, I found some of the time jumps difficult to transition. Perhaps the book does this visually, but with no long pauses or any audible queue, it is hard to warp several years mentally. All in all, I found the book to be an interesting topic and somewhat translatable to current race clash issues today brought about by terrorism.
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.
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.
"Excellent and engrossing"
Extremely well written and well narrated - a tale set in a slightly different reality, where a retrovirus has resulted in the birth of SHEVA children.The Government steps in and the children are segregated and removed from the general population.
I found myself driving the long way home all the time (I put my audible downloads onto CDs for car journeys) so that I could carry on listening to this fascinating book. After I finished it I went out to buy the first book - Darwin's Radio - so I could continue the experience.
My recommendation? Choose this download. It has been one of my favourite audible titles.
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