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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The plot twist is obvious from about hour 1, but you have to wait until like hour 9 for the characters to figure it out, then nothing much happens after that. This is one of the worst books I've read in the last year, worse than The Da Vinci code even.
After listening to this book, I thought I'd like the sequel "Darwin's Children" but the latter just didn't do anything for me....very draggy, and I couldn't be bothered to finish it. So I returned the latter (Thanks for that Audible).
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