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Darwin's Radio | [Greg Bear]

Darwin's Radio

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Greg Bear's fiction ingeniously combines cutting-edge science and unforgettable characters. It has won multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards and choruses of critical acclaim. Now, with Darwin's Radio, Bear creates a nonstop thriller swirling with provocative ideas about the next step of human evolution.

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

What the Critics Say

  • Winner, 2000 Nebula Award - Best Novel

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (674 )
5 star
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3.7 (307 )
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Story
3.9 (305 )
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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  •  
    AC 02-10-12
    AC 02-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    317
    5
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    Story
    "Not disappointed"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Boise, ID 11-03-10
    Patricia Boise, ID 11-03-10 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    Overall
    "Excellent Read"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 11-09-07
    Richard 11-09-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good SF. Disappointing naration."

    I really enjoyed the book conceptually. Obviously the author is well versed in the science of genetics and evolution, reminiscent of Crichton. There are good fictional twists that are thought provoking and written convincingly. The long stretches of hard sceince naration might put some people off. I actually enjoyed them, but I am in the field. Bear's character development and dialog is much better than most hard SF writers, but certainly not as good as a more literary SF writer like Margaret Atwood or Ursula LaGuin. The main thing that I found irritating was the narrators reading of the material. There were many times when the author actually states in the text that a character delivers a line in a specific way and the reader doesn't read the line that way. I repeatedly found myself saying that I would have read that character very differently in my own mind if I were reading this book than the narrator did, and it would have made it more compelling and enjoyable.

    12 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rion United States 04-30-12
    Rion United States 04-30-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Darwin's Radio only plays Country?"

    Loved the premise but fell flat. So diluted with science and bureaucracy there were moments I thought a government paycheck was due me. Maybe I was auditing genetics post grad; ie, felt like work at times. Then comes along The pharmaceutical company, or was it government owned...OMG! Less would have been much more. But the author was wed to his image of the Neanderthal families fighting for change throughout the ages in a consistently hyper intolerant world. I don't want to give away more. To end the book, my way, principals would have been heading to San Francisco to tour with U2, chilling with Chomsky, or making their Iphone translation app. Oprah for sure. While Darwin's Radio plays some wicked genetics tunes, society regressed to the middle ages, or maybe we never left...OMG, I got it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Easthampton, MA, United States 07-17-11
    Amanda Easthampton, MA, United States 07-17-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    10
    4
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    "Pretty good"

    I thought this was worth a credit. I listened to it a month or so back, and don't actually remember that much about it. The fact that I've forgotten most of it means that there was nothing outstanding about it either positive or negative. I would buy another title from this author if I didn't have anything else on my wish list to try. My overall impression is positive, but not thrilled or inspired. I don't have a critique of the science, which to this laywoman seemed plausible enough. I have to comment that the audio sample offered is from the beginning of the book and represents a section where the author - in the voice of a somewhat cynical character - describes a woman's qualities primarily in terms of her attractiveness and sexual performance. I remember finding that particular passage irritating and almost stopping the program when I heard it. I am glad I stuck with it though, because the point of view of the story isn't solely from that character's point of view, and the author did not seem to share his character's cynicism.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oliver 06-01-10
    Oliver 06-01-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Pretty good sci-fi"

    I really liked this book. A little long winded, but overall easy to listen to. Pretty cool concept.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie United States 01-16-15
    Laurie United States 01-16-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great concept, poor execution"
    Would you try another book from Greg Bear and/or George Guidall?

    The concept behind this story was intriguing, but the execution was just not well done. The highly educated professional scientist ends up behaving like a school girl. The Federal agents don't behave much better. I would not read another book by Greg Bear.


    What could Greg Bear have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    This was a scientific concept. Develop the science of the story further. Allow the characters to stay true to themselves and evolve in a mature sense.


    What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His reading of the story was great. Nice inflection.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. I really expected a scientific thriller. I even get into the political upheaval a situation like this might cause, but the character and story development really fell short.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Glen Echo, MD, United States 08-17-14
    David Glen Echo, MD, United States 08-17-14
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    "Surprise! I loved it."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Hard to recommend because of technobiojargonlanguage,particularly in the first 1/2 of the book. But, if you hang in, the last 1/3 is really compelling.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Darwin's Radio?

    When the 3 year old interfaces with other children.


    What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

    When he did the argument between the several government types toward the end of the book. He is so masterful, you were never confused about who was saying what to whom.
    Since Frank died, George is alone at the top of the mountain.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both...I did. I cried several times and laughed out loud a few times. I got angry. This one really got to me. Thank you Mr. Bear.


    Any additional comments?

    Keep'em coming.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mark 08-11-14
    mark 08-11-14 Member Since 2012
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    19
    2
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    Story
    "Painful"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Story that keeps attention vs. filling pages describing a scene without purpose.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Greg Bear again?

    No


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It started with promise then went downhill and stayed there.


    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
    6
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    "Intriguing"

    Good book, kept me intrigued through to the end. I didn't want it to end and was glad there was a sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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