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Darwin's Children Hardcover – 2 Jun 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (2 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002257327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002257329
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,581,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Bear plays to his strength – cutting-edge scientific speculation – in this riveting SF thriller about possible evolutionary apocalypse.' Publisher's Weekly

'A stunning read' Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

'Darwin's Radio is a tense technothriller in the Michael Crichton vein… evolutionary change, we secretly believe, isn't something that happens to us… The world collapses in panic. Gurus of scientific orthodoxy, paralysed by over-fast change, turn a blind eye to the shocking evidence. There are riots, flights to the hills, death cults, martial law, and superstitious fear… Intelligent science fiction on a colossal scale.' New Scientist

'Darwin's Radio delves into crucial questions about where we humans came from and where we're going. Along the way, the book shows how much and how little we've changed from our ancestors… Bear tells a good, character-driven story.' USA Today

'All the best thrillers contain the solution to a mystery, and the mystery in this intellectually sparkling scientific thriller is more crucial and stranger than most.' Amazon.com

From the Inside Flap

Greg Bear's Nebula Award-winning novel, "Darwin's Radio, painted a chilling portrait of humankind on the threshold of a radical leap in evolution--one that would alter our species forever. Now Bear continues his provocative tale of the human race confronted by an uncertain future, where "survival of the fittest" takes on astonishing and controversial new dimensions.
DARWIN'S CHILDREN
Eleven years have passed since SHEVA, an ancient retrovirus, was discovered in human DNA--a retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence . . . and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths, possessed of remarkable, advanced traits that mark a major turning point in human development, are also ticking time bombs harboring hosts of viruses that could exterminate the "old" human race.
Fear and hatred of the virus children have made them a persecuted underclass, quarantined by the government in special "schools," targeted by federally sanctioned bounty hunters, and demonized by hysterical segments of the population. But pockets of resistance have sprung up among those opposed to treating the children like dangerous diseases--and who fear the worst if the government's draconian measures are carried to their extreme.
Scientists Kaye Lang and Mitch Rafelson are part of this small but determined minority. Once at the forefront of the discovery and study of the SHEVA outbreak, they now live as virtual exiles in the Virginia suburbs with their daughter, Stella--a bright, inquisitive virus child who is quickly maturing, straining tobreak free of the protective world her parents have built around her, and eager to seek out others of her kind.
But for all their precautions, Kaye, Mitch, and Stella have not slipped below the government's radar. The agencies fanatically devoted to segregating and controlling the new-breed children monitor their every move--watching and waiting for the opportunity to strike the next blow in their escalating war to preserve "humankind" at any cost.

"From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Writing a trilogy presents writer and reader alike with a dilemma. The writer must try to make each book, especially the middle book, stand alone. Yet he must also carry the underlying narrative through the story and lead to the final volume. Readers, particularly new ones, must take the risk that the second volume is worth the investment in time and money. Bear marginally succeeds in making this book stand on its own merits by giving us sufficient background threads as the story progresses. Thankfully, he doesn't use tedious flashbacks to achieve this end. Reprises are helpful to the new reader, but can be hopelessly boring to someone who's read a first volume. This compelling speculation on how evolution might work carries over from the previous volume, Darwin's Radio. It isn't necessary to have read the first volume, but it simplifies the understanding of the characters.
In this sequel, the life of the new generation of SHEVA "virus children" is portrayed. The children discover what it means to be "different" in American society. They learn how vicious a reaction to the different can become. The SHEVA children are shunted out of sight in camps the Nazis would have envied. Among these children growing up in such an environment is Stella Nova, offspring of two of the key figures in the earlier book. Like the other children, she remains a fugitive, even when living at home. Children as outcasts is one of the greatest forms of tragedy, and Bear is adept at the portrayal.
Bear weaves the feelings of both child and parent with sensitive skill. Isolation of the SHEVA children, as it's done with other children in similar situations, results in a new identity.
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By A Customer on 5 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
"Darwin's Children" is a provocatively titled novel, dripping with menace and postulates the "what if?" scenario of a fictional leap in human evolution.
As serious scientific fiction, it is very well written. The prose flows well, the dialogue believable, the characters interesting and all representing a side in the debate of the ethics and emotions of the above scenario. All with a prevading sense of menace.
The fiction is based on generally established science and the book very helpfully provides a glossary for readers who do not have a science background. Though readers with degrees in relevant areas may today spot discredited ideas, it doesn't ruin the story which is about society within and without a new species of human. Uncomfortably, but bravely, the novel revolves around an inverted eugenic-panicked America. Or, put in a historical context, it is as if the American government acted like Nazis but imprisons a master race instead of embracing it. A scary, difficult scenario.
Fans of "The X-files" and "The X-men" would enjoy this novel as an extension of their favourite scenario. Indeed, "X-men 2" movie is an action-packed slant on this tale. Readers of Stephen King's "Firestarter" will see overtones of one of the main characters - a young girl with special abilities. Bear approaches the topic from his own angle and doesn't waste a word.
The novel is however relatively short, and there are many areas where it could be expanded. In other words, a sequel is possible given the wealth of material present. The novel however, doesn't go anywhere near Apocalypse in spite of the blurb.
Overall, a good read basing itself on good science.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Greg Bear's book are just fantastic. Whilst 'Darwin's Chidren' doesn't quite have the shock value of 'Darwin's Radio' it is still an excellent read if you like really inhabiting possible futures (though this one is more probable than many might think).
He takes the idea that nature has always been experimenting with new life forms - the human body being no exception (even cancer is a reserve of maverick cells available for nature to play with) - and takes it to its logical conclusion, something that few writers are brave enough to do.
As such, the reader is in a position to take that journey with Greg Bear. Though you may not agree with where he takes it, the narrative is facinating - and is based on not just good science, but a good understanding of human nature, motivations and the role of institutions, power, and the dynamics of culture and society.
I also like the way he gives due credence to common sense and felt experience (in the sense that we all know certain things happen, even if they can't be rigorously proved).
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Format: Hardcover
First, I do urge you to read DARWIN'S RADIO first, although I feel this is the better novel of the two. However, it is necessary to know the background of the earlier book to thoroughly enjoy the second.
One difficulty I did have with both books is the multitude of characters. So many are introduced and so few really have any importance to the story. This however, is a minor flaw.
While there is a lot of biological background explored in this book, it's easier to take and intrudes less into the plot than it did in the first. More emphasis is given to the human characters, especially the daughter who naturally is a focal point of interest.
The mother becomes more fleshed out also. Her "epiphany" adds interest. The first book stressed her atheism, and therefore, her experience is very interesting, and does have its effect on the character and, in turn, her effect on the plotline. The author deals with this subject in an objective manner so that the reader can accept it as something that does happen to some people or reject it as overactive imagination.
All in all, the two books together comprise one of the better science fiction works.
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