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Publisher's Summary

Vergil's innovative experiment restructuring the cells of a common virus becomes a nightmare when, in order to save his research, Vergil injects the entire culture into his bloodstream.
©1985 Greg Bear; (P)1991 RECORDED BOOKS

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  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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THOUGHT UNIVERSE

YOUR LIKE A BUNCH OF MOONIES
This is the book that put Bear on the Map. It started with the novella of the same name, which won some awards. I thought that his widening the story into a book worked very well. Written in 1985, it is as stimulating now as it was then. If you enjoyed Crichton's "Prey" you will love this. It is also similar to Bear's more recent hit, "Darwin's Radio".

INTELLECTUAL CELLS
Imagine that the cells in your body of which there are billions, could think on their own. Actually you do not have to, as Bear already did. Your body is a universe, full of worlds and cities of cells. You want to listen to as much of this book as you can in one setting. It is a book in which you immerse yourself. The book does not have a bunch of well developed characters, although there are a couple, because you are the main character. You want to think of yourself and immerse yourself in the book and your body. Each time you leave the book and come back, it will take a short time to get back into the feeling of the book, so try to set some longer lengths of time to listen. Those who listen in larger blocks of time will enjoy the book, better then those who grab short snippets.

Guidall is the King of Narrators.

I must mention that there was some sort of production problems in the recording. It is not enough for you not to enjoy the book, but you will notice it. Several times the sound will dip and it sounds like Guidall is not speaking into the mic or he has a hand over his mic. I have listened to hundreds of books read by Guidall and this is the first time I have had this problem. I can not believe it was him that was the problem. Let me repeat it is not a reason to not buy the book, it is a minor annoyance.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating, Fast Paced, & one hell of a Mind*^ck

The Plot:
Vergil Ulam is a lab tech working on organic thinking cells, he injects these cells into his body which begin to colonize and take over his life.
Greg Bear originally wrote this as a short story in the early 80's, after winning the Hugo Award for best short fiction, he fleshed it into this novel, the first about nanotechnology in science fiction. I don't want to give anything away from this book, other than what I've said above but how could I convince you to check it out? The surprises in characters, science, and the possibilities of life stretched beyond the covers and jumped into my daily life. To be sure, this is NOT a Jekyll and Hyde story. As this book was written in 1985 the author's choices now seem prophetic and intriguing as if they were purposely done. Whatever life is it has only enhanced the possibilities of this book's reach and meaning. This story (and characters) is fascinating, terrifying, and emotional without hitting obvious cliched chordes.

The Narrator:
George Guidall paces his reading, letting the words rest for a moment before carrying on. This approach and command of understanding the material emphasizes the possibilities of where you, the listener, can take these ideas. There's a lot to digest in this book, crazy ideas, and I think Mr. Guidall gets this. He did an incredible job.

The Sum:
This book is unlike anything you've read/listened to recently, or maybe ever. There are very few books that transform my understanding of life but this one did it. This isn't for everybody but if you liked Perdido Street Station and have a natural curiosity of life, I think this book will fit right in. I might also recommend reading about the "noosphere" to give context for the nooscytes, if you find yourself confused.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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If you liked Darwin's Radio....

This is as good as Darwin's Radio and its sequel, assuming you liked these. It is hard factual (some theoretical, admittedly) biology and a good story. Greg Bear, nails another one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 01-03-14

Careful with that blood transfusion!

Where does Blood Music rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Certainly in the top 3rd. A very unusual book, that takes some fascinating turns and twists that are unexpected, to say the least. A good combination of Greg Bear and George Guidall.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Mostt...the communication between the nanocells, and humans, without a doubt. A highly original concept.<br/><br/>Least...nothing immediately comes to mind, to be honest. Few flaws.

What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

Goodness, where do I start? George G gives a brilliant performance. The Neocytes, the female characters, the accents. Classic GG. He is an artist, and truly brings this very nuanced novel to life in an approachable, genuine way. <br/>Other reviewers note some timing/editing issues, but this appears to be have been done intentionally.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

They' re here!

Any additional comments?

The other reviews of this fascinating Bear offering don't give it justice, IMHO. Granted, the book moves forward with scientific concepts, and suspensions of disbelief, that otherwise would require a great deal of committment. <br/>I tend to disagree. This book blends nano-end of times concepts, with real characters and concepts that are at once a stretch, and believable. <br/>I am very impressed by this effort, and highly recommend it to all.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great book, inconsistent audio quality.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader was good, but the audio quality was poor. At its best the volume is low. At intervals it sounds like layers of cotton are being placed between the speaker and the microphone. At its worst it sounds like he is speaking from the other side of a mattress.

Do you think Blood Music needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. This isn't the sort of book that needs a sequel. It ends as it should.

Any additional comments?

It's easy for me to recommend the book, it's one of my favorites. But the quality of the audio here forces me to suggest you get a print copy. It is possible to listen to if you listen in a quiet space, but if you listen where there is background noise, you may not be pleased.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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For Fans of Greg Bear and Hard Science Fiction

What made the experience of listening to Blood Music the most enjoyable?

The uniqueness of Bear's writing and the recording by George Guidall

What other book might you compare Blood Music to and why?

Very similar to Eon by Greg Bear, but the particulars and story line are different.

Which scene was your favorite?

When the noocites began speaking

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

Blood Music by Greg Bear is in four sections, each being named after one of the phases of mitosis. The characters are mostly different in each of the four sections, with some spillover. The basic story is about a bioengineer who creates an intelligent virus and infects himself with it rather than destroy it, as he is ordered to by his superiors. A plague ensues, and the world must deal with a billion trillion new sentient life forms. <br/><br/>As I stated in my review of Eon, this is a book that was written in the 1980s, but is still relevant today, but perhaps even more so. Heck, if you replaced “East Germany” with “Germany,” this could be a contemporary novel with a few other minor changes. Really, Blood Music is a horror science fiction novel, as it's terrifying, but a lot of the reason why the audiobook is terrifying is the brilliant reading by George Guidall, who is well known to readers of audiobooks. I didn't like it quite as much as I liked Eon, but it's still a solid novel reading, and I look forward to reading more of Greg Bear. ****

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Awesome, but had to listen at 1.5x speed

Good God, Guidall takes his sweet time. Too many long pauses between words. Sped up, the performance became more satisfactory, and the awesome story (albeit somewhat meandering as is Bear's style) was able to come out.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Audio quality isn't great for the first half

It sounds like this recording was digitized from a cassette tape using a player that badly needed it's playback head to be cleaned and aligned. After the first half or so of the recording, the sound quality improves. I guess they noticed. Too bad they didn't go back and re-digitize the first half of the performance.

The book itself is still amazingly interesting and fresh even though it was written way back in the mid 1980s. I'm glad I stuck with it even though I had a hard time ignoring the audio problems at first.

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Highly original piece of sci-fi art

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator, and the decision to narrate a specific major character in an overdramatic and incredibly annoying whisper. Almost ruined a good book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Blood Music?

Fast paced beginning evokes "The Fly" type of horror, then moves into gripping hard si-fi and quickly accelerates toward a visually bizarre and tactile almost hallucinatory post apocalyptic setting.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Again, the affected and tiresome whisper was really hard to bear, I actually resorted to fast forwarding this specific character's dialogue, and it's a main character and that totally defeats the purpose of listening to a book.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes, awesome visuals would make for great film effects.

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Half full/Half empty

The first half of this book was very engrossing and captivating. The second half - not so much. The story works well when its about the main character: Vergil. You're interested in his plight and his fate. Once that is determined, the story meanders about to various other characters that I just couldn't really care about.

The narrator also does not speak clearly into the microphone at a few points in the book making you have to turn up the audio very high just to hear him. In his defense, this was recorded many, many years ago when audiobook recording was not at the best. The narrator does not have a vast range of voices either: alternating from gruff, gravely to a high-pitched attempt at female voices which just doesn't work.

An interesting premise and great first half of the book, but not one that I could recommend.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful