In a cave high in the Alps, a renegade anthropologist discovers a frozen Neanderthal couple with a Homo sapiens baby. Meanwhile, in southern Russia, the U.N. investigation of a mysterious mass grave is cut short. One of the investigators, molecular biologist Kaye Lang, returns home to the U.S. to learn that her theory on human retroviruses has been verified with the discovery of SHEVA, a virus that has slept in our DNA for millions of years and is now waking up. How are these seemingly disparate events connected? Kaye Lang and her colleagues must race against a genetic time bomb to find out.
Darwin's Radio pulses with intelligent speculation, international adventure, and political intrigue as it explores timeless human themes. George Guidall's masterful performance heightens the excitement and keeps you enthralled until the final fascinating word.
©2000 Greg Bear; (P)2000 Recorded Books
"Centered on well-developed, highly believable figures who are working scientists and full-fledged human beings, this fine novel is sure to please anyone who appreciates literate, state-of-the-art SF." (Publishers Weekly)
I really enjoyed this book. In my opinion, there are different kinds of science fiction: the futuristic, usually filled with tons of new gadgets, the war genre, and the biologic type. This is the biologic type and my favorite. The most famous and, probably best representative, is Michael Crichton books. This book comes very close to one of his books but not nearly as well written. However, the premise is compelling: That the Human genome contains the ability to change due to environmental forces in order to allow it survival. This, of course, borders on Lamarkianism but recent discoveries in genetics gives its more credibility. Many people don’t accept the premise that the living body is really only a vehicle for the genes and a book like this will turn them off. The book was excellent because it wove together several different controversial themes: the politics of disease, the status of humanity at the present time, xenophobia, the inability of governments to deal effectively with change, human rights and the place in science in government. All these are topics are worthy of a book and, the fact that Bear did so successfully, is to be praised. I disagree with most of the negative reviews and fear that their opinions were shaped by the daunting science explicated during the story in order to provide credibility. I have a high understanding of biology and, myself had to re-listen several times to these sections, in order to fully comprehend the meaning. When I look at the status of our world today, there are times that I would hope for a genetic change to remove the unbelievable hated, conflict negativity that seems to pervade almost every aspect of our lives. In my opinion, if a change doesn’t come soon, the homo sapiens branch of the tree of life will end up being a withered jin and another branch will continue to grow.
Loved the book! At first, I almost gave up listening, but then decided to put my faith in the author - I was sure he wouldn't tell a story that required the reader to know all about genes, DNA, chromosomes, etc. So I decided to just listen to the story, and pick up the few facts that I could remember or that might be relevant to the story. Then I realized that was exactly what I needed to just enjoy the story - which is great! Don't let the technical jargon and explanations about genes, DNA, or chromosomes scare you off this book - you don't have to remember everything they tell you about them (but it's very interesting to learn a little about how they work). It's a great read - I would highly recommend it!
The plot is clever, the science (although an invention) seems almost close to feasible, the reactions of human beings really accurate. The best science fiction story I've read for many years.
I ask 3 things of every novel I read: that it capture and excite me, that it entertain me and that it educate me. "Darwin's Radio" gets 4 stars in every catagory. Should you ask yourself during the course of your read, "is this feasible?" Think of this - if in 1980 you asked could there be a world wide network that connected every computer, or a cellphone with a 100 gig hard drive that was part of that network, or that the Soviet Union would collapse within a decade....none of these things would have seemed feasible either
I enjoyed this novel very much. Living near Fort Detrick, MD, I think about viral epidemics from time to time. My one complaint about the book is that Neanderthal Man and Cro-Magnon Man may have been able to interbreed. Also, to the best of my knowledge, Neanderthal Man left no evidence of funeral customs. I would have liked to have had those two issues discussed in the story since it was as much about pre-historic man as modern virology. As always, the narrator was excellent.
I really liked this story. Very original and well performed. I would highly recommend it.
reader of books
Well, I did like the story concept but for me the "big reveal" just did not satisfy me. Also, it seemed to drag on the last fourth of the book. Having said that, I have no plans to read he second one.
This was pretty well paced and decently written for pop fiction; narration was good and I will probably listen to the next one to hear the story wrapped up.
Slow and repetitive.... The concept had potential but I nearly abandoned the book multiple times--something I never do. The author seems to be trying to build character, allow introspection, etc., but the writing is just too weak to pull off the strategy.
This was my first Greg Bear book and it will not be my last. The science was engaging and plausibly presented. The dreams described by the characters and woven into the story are so clear that I became invested in the characters and their lives and welfare. I identified with the two main characters so closely at the end that it surprised me how my emotions paralled theirs ??? the joys, fears, anguish. I enjoyed the science immensely and the pace was good. Greg Bear brought the story lines together throughout the book and the narration was engaged and reflective of the action and mood. I highly recommend the book.
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