Regular price: $39.87

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
In Cart

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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings


  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul
  • Portland, OR
  • 01-04-14

Really good science fiction

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sue
  • Amarillo, TX, United States
  • 03-07-12

Don't have to be a biologist to enjoy!

Any additional comments?

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!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andre
  • Ithaca, NY, United States
  • 10-02-07

Superb science fiction

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.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 03-31-14

Okay, Greg Bear's Got DNA Cred…

This book is worth listening to… much of it. George Guidall will help with all of it, but particularly the, um, "look-I-really-now-about-this-stuff" parts. See this is all about what's riding on the Watson and Crick double helix. So, be prepared to go eye-glazed as Mr. Bear's scientists show off their knowledge so we will suspend disbelief.

When the lectures start… let your mind wander. Don't try to follow… and don't try to look for a lot of plot in these monologues. Instead, give the author credit for his research and push on. It's a cool story and very Crichton-ish. If you liked Michael Crichton and like Robin Cook, you'll enjoy this. I did.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Chris
  • Springfield, IL, United States
  • 05-14-12

A huge let-down

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

At first look this looked like an exciting book about the results of theoretical genetics gone wrong. The science behind it was facinating and well thought out, but the story itself is drier than a popcorn fart. Most of the book consists of scientist sitting around calmly over-explaining technical details and discussing ethical and legal concerns brought up by a genetic apocolypse. Meanwhile the fact that the human race is ending and society is falling to pieces around them is treated as a footnote. The story presents plenty of opportunity for emotion and human drama but instead spends the majority of its time slogging through tedious and largely unnecessary dialogue. I'm not a big fan of action stories but this book seriously needed something. It was like reading a text book except that by the time I was through it I hadn't learned anything. It's a great idea that never gets off the ground. Mind-numbingly dull. Skip it.

Would you ever listen to anything by Greg Bear again?

At this point, it seems unlikely.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He added very little character or inflection. It was difficult to distinguish one characters dialogue from anothers, leading to a complete train wreck of boredom in a largely dialogue-driven book.

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

The science seemed like an exciting notion and even seemed believable, but the the lack of humanity and story just made it like sitting through a 18 hour long genetics lecture. While there is nothing wrong with that, it's not what I expect from a work of fiction.

Any additional comments?

Don't waste your credits on this one.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dc
  • Englewood, OH, USA
  • 03-24-08

excellent read

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

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bruce
  • Knoxville, MD, United States
  • 01-05-08


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.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting concept but brutally slow

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • atilio
  • United States
  • 11-05-15

Just bad

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Started out real strong ...

... and then it started to trip on itself. I which there was more time to develop the thesis. Interesting conceit, just happen to fizzle out at the end

2 of 2 people found this review helpful