Friday, February 15, 2008

Darwin's Radio - Greg Bear

My most recent listen, thanks again to my dear wife looking out for things to while away my long drives to more southerly states, was Greg Bear's science fiction novel, Darwin's Radio. This is a powerful, complex story, full of fascinating biology, genetics, politics, romance, evolution theory, native Americans, dreaming, the working of scientific revolution, and more. The story is written on a sweeping scale, but always through the experiences of unique and believable characters, and in vivid detail. Over and over again events unfold inevitably and collide thrillingly, only to once again move to another combination. The dialog is good, too - especially read aloud. And the science is made accessible, but never preachy or pedantic.

I've read (and own) other Greg Bear books, Eon, Moving Mars, Blood Music, The Forge of God, and none have disappointed. The stories are complex, the concepts interesting and plausible, the conclusions satisfying. To me Greg Bear is up there with Niven and Pournelle, Herbert, Le Guin, and Brin for their compelling use of science and larger than human events, while still bringing us real people and realistic reactions. These people know not only story telling and science; they know us.

I understand there is a sequel, Darwin's Children which I intend to find and read as soon as possible. But if you intend to read Darwin's Radio, don't read anything about the sequel - the blurb contains spoilers for the first book.


writer2b said...

Thanks for this great review. This book sounds wonderful... a little of everything wrapped up and taped shut with an intriguing title.

Alex M. said...

"The Forge of God" and "Moving Mars" are on my all time favorites list. Bear has the ability to give us hard science without losing the humanity of his story. I'd also suggest "Slant."