07 December 2014

Darwin's Radio, by Greg Bear

I don't think I've read anything by Greg Bear before. I'm happy to say that, as he has written quite a lot, and I will be looking forward to reading more of his work.

Darwin's Radio is science-fiction set ca. 2000. Notably absent from its technology and current events are ubiquitous "smart"  phones, the overwhelming presence of the Internet (it's there, just not as "there" as it is now) and the security-hysteria of the post-11 September 2001 age. The book has its own security-hysteria, though, which comes from the general misunderstanding of a biological phenomenon that is observed as a 48-hour virus which affects heterosexual couples (there aren't any gay people in this book, either, come to think of it) and their subsequent pregnancies.

I'll admit to being more or less snowed by most of the biology in this book, but I found that I could just kind of plow through it and accept that I didn't really understand it, and still follow the story, which has more to do with the lives of its characters, and with the political mess that ensues as this phenomenon begins to proliferate.

Due to a virus, I had little ambition to do much of anything except read this weekend, so I completed this book between Friday night and Sunday morning. It's well worth reading, entertaining, and provocative.

I'm a little uncertain about Bear's politics. He seems more or less OK by my standards, but there is a mention of "Fox News" that gave me pause.

One thing I'd like to mention about this book: toward the end there is a description of childbirth that is graphic and moving. I don' t know that I've ever read a better one. While I, like Mr. Bear, have the handicap of being unable to have this experience, and so I'm not really qualified to judge its authenticity, it certainly had me convinced. 

An Interview with Greg Bear.

This site numbers Darwin's Radio among "The most ludicrous depictions of evolution in science fiction."

SFReviews.net review

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