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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 25 June 2010
A classic piece of 80's cyberpunk made chillingly prescient by recent developments in microbiology, notably Venter's creation of synthetic cells.

Blood Music is a hardnosed piece of science fiction with a high degree of scientific verisimilitude, drawing widely on the ideas of cell biology and real life scientific events. Despite this Bear's writing never becomes inaccessible to the layperson, exploring philosophical and metaphysical questions such as what it is to be human? And what constitutes our individual identity? He even memorably creates humour from quantum mechanics(p.70)

Bear further explores the concept of collective human consciousness and it's potential perhaps first developed by writers such as Olaf Stapledon in 'Star Maker'
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on 13 April 2017
Fun, but nothing amazing. Gets weird at the end.
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on 3 May 2009
After having read the novelette version of Blood Music i found the concept extremely intrigueing and decided to read the extended novel. The novel contains the same concepts of the novelette and develops some of the ideas.

The novel follows the seperate (yet intertwined) stories of a few different characters, which eventually lead to the dramatic and enigmatic ending.

The events of the novelette version leave a highly ambiguous ending whereas the ending in the novel is final and definitive, whilst allowing you to develop your own views on the themes in the novel.

Overall i found it an extremely interesting, and an intellectually challenging read. It is more than worth the money, however, i recommend reading the novelette version first before deciding to read the novel as it is, in my opinion, in fact better due to the added ambiguity and pace. If you find yourself immersed in the novellette, i reccomend buying the novel at is develops the storylines further.

Thankyou for reading my review of Blood Music :)
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on 9 March 2013
I have loved this novel since its appearance on the SF market. I find the concepts both exhilarating and challenging and Bear hits the target with his usual elegance and pace. Since I have no in-depth scientific background worthy of placing on my CV I find reading the hard science passages akin to a soaring poetic experience where the language seduces and convinces without my having to fully comprehend. The sci-facts are pure language-at-play and wash over the neurones with assuring authority. I couldn't challenge his premise about intelligent viruses nor do I care to. This is excruciatingly riveting stuff and I strap in and enjoy the roller coaster.

I trust someone working at Bear's level of competence to have done his homework and if he is describing laboratory procedures and research parameters I go along for the trip knowing he has his reasons. His job is to engage me in the world he is creating. Engage and immerse. And challenge. Engage, immerse, challenge and THRILL.

Well, he has done that with Blood Music. His descriptions of the gradually transforming world post-Ulam are incredibly evocative and have astonishing power. Why BM hasn't been silver screened yet is a mystery. I must have read this work about forty times and am glad to finally own it on Kindle. A rare, visionary, thrilling and paradigm-expanding work, superbly told and a real keeper. Thanks Greg.
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With an apocalyptic vision at its heart, Blood Music is escapist reading with high drama, though its excitement has been somewhat muted by time and the magnitude of the real events which have transpired since its publication in 1985. Here a genetic experiment goes awry, and the whole world is endangered. .
Though only seventeen years have passed since its publication, the book feels old--eerily so. Gene therapy is now a reality. The Soviet Union, which here rattles its nuclear sabers in an effort to dominate the world, seems like a very old enemy. Strangely, a number of particularly vivid scenes here take place in a ravaged World Trade Center, images so similar to the reality of 9/11 that I found them painful to stumble upon in a piece of light fiction. Suzy McKenzie, a lonely survivor in New York, sets up home in the World Trade Center lobby, and Bear’s descriptions of her explorations through the desolate upper floors and of the collapse of one of the towers conjured up nightmarish (real) images.
Bear’s narrative is fast-paced and suspenseful. With an acute sensibility and eye for detail, Bear creates stark images. His characterizations of Vergil and Suzy are often touching, however, and the dialogue between Vergil and his mother will bring smiles to the faces of many parents. Structurally, the novel is very loose, with characters who come and go, and ultimately the novel feels almost as chaotic as Bear’s vision of devastation. Bear’s immense potential, obvious here, finds its true fulfillment in his later, more carefully controlled, novels. Mary Whipple
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on 14 August 2000
One of the most memorably tongue-in-cheek creations of Douglas Adams was a madness booth--designed to make its victims insane, simply and effectively, by displaying them "to-scale" beside the rest of the cosmos.
In many ways, it's the same trick Bear's best novels play on a reader's mind, forever putting it in contexts too vast to afford the thing any significance at all: "Queen of Angels" concerns a therapist who literally delves into his patients' subconscious, while "Eon" and its sequel plunge characters into an infinite number of alternate universes.
"Blood Music" represents yet another disturbing tour of an alarming theoretical Bearscape--that of an earth whose population has, after a singular biological catastrophe, come to share the same vaguely protoplasmic, continent-sized body.
It could do with a sense of tone, a touch of poetic irony, a memorable character or two, and perhaps even a dollop of Barthelmian humor, but the central idea itself is so unquestionably remarkable that the novel's trashy-ness is, for once, actually overwhelmed by its ambition.
Like it or not, you will be thinking about "Blood Music" long after you put it down. And you should definitely pick it up.
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on 31 May 2015
An expanded version of an original short story, leading one to wonder if some authors have a surfeit of writing talent but actually have few ideas of their own. Greg Bear does have a propensity to write sequels to most of his novels so the both are probably true. He was careful to wait until his writing skills enabled him to write with effortless formulaic ease before turning this small idea into a novel, so we have the best of everything -- a good idea, good writing, and an engaging novel. Arguably his best, before the lure of lucre turned him into a cross-genre novelist of the hack variety. He joined that elite of American science fiction writers who all seemed to be the same person after a while. But this novel remains as one of his finest, and although it never really touches upon literature, it's skillfullty laid down and a joy to read.
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on 14 September 2016
When I read Greg Bear's original first short version of Blood Music when it was a novella, the transformative body horror he was describing thrilled me the same as when I watched David Cronenberg's film Videodrome (1982). The characters still largely spoke in first-person narrative, as they do in this fully expanded novel of Blood Music, but there were tantalising plot and character details that couldn't yet be elaborated upon in the short version. This is my humble opinion...years later that now I've read the entire version of Blood Music, in hindsight I find a lot of the characters sound the same and there's a logical, scientific coldness prevelant within the narrative. As the novel draws to a close, Greg Bear gets so much beautifully correct about the dreamy nature of what we call "reality", that my criticisms fade and I'm left awestruck by a magnificent talent <3.
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on 17 January 2012
The author almost managed to pull it off. It is an excellent read, the characters and concept are well worked which ensure you become engaged in the story. Why almost? I personally felt that the ending could have been stronger.
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on 27 August 2008
Having read this story when it was first released, it has managed to haunt me across the years.
I may have forgotten the title at times - and sometimes even who wrote it - but the general theme of humanity's change to something either glorious, or horrific, depending on your personal point of view, is something I've never forgotten!
The story is short on characterisation, but it overflows with a haunting description of the demise of humanity as we know it, and the use of familiar places, especially significant today, is eerie.
Blood Music is a perfect title for the rhythm of change that travels through the bloodstream of humanity - like a serenade to lost time.
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