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Darwin's Radio (Darwin's Radio #1)

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3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  9,744 Ratings  ·  580 Reviews
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. Why are people turning against their neighbors and their newborn children? And what is causing an epidemic of still births? A disgraced paleontologist and a genetic engineer both come across evidence of cover ...more
Audiobook
Published December 7th 2007 by Recorded Books (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robert
Jun 19, 2012 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
So I keep on reading Bear novels, feeling disappointed, waiting a while, then rinse and repeat.

This time I've clarified why I am so ambivalent about this guy: he has fascinating ideas then writes dull books about them. The premise here is an extreme example. Our "junk" DNA turns out to be a collection of emergency rapid-response evolutionary accelerators - and the emergency response has just been triggered. Cue mysterious pregnancies, peculiar facial mutations and a really big scientific mystery
...more
Brad
The first time I read this I felt horrified and dazed for weeks. I still consider this a masterpiece of horror/sci-fi. The characters are somewhat memorable, but more memorable is their pain; indeed, the pain of the whole world was felt in the back of my mouth, preparing it rise up from my stomach, up the pipe, out the maw, to hang onto my lip and smack me thrice on my face, wink, and then jump off to slither under the door-jam and horrify someone else.

Don't get me wrong, this is a pure sci-fi n
...more
Stef
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen
3.5 stars. Excellent concept and great science highlight this very good "hard" SF story.

Winner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Amber
Feb 17, 2014 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, started, fiction
An interesting look at what might possibly be the next stage of evolution. Greg Bear's Hugo nominee is a wonderful mix of scientific and political thriller as well as a study of human reactions and relationships. Beautifully laid out and written in an interesting manner.

After I finished this book I sat back and thought, my god, I know all about viruses and diseases and retroviruses now. Greg Bear does not dumb down the science to make sure his audience gets it, instead he explains everything sev
...more
Peter
An excellent idea sadly marred by poor writing, the impression is that Greg Bear came up with a great idea for a novel, researched it and then decided to tell everyone look at what I have learned.
The main problem is the there is a distinct clumpiness to the story a few pages of story followed by look at what I learned today, a rushed ending just as the book begins to take shape.

It borderlines on being turgid. If we look at Andy Weir's The Martian, which is undeniably a well written novel, it co
...more
Mina Villalobos
The first 200 pages or so of this book are incredibly engaging and interesting. I wasn't put off by the science talk, though there was too much of it -someone who truly understood it would probably find a lot of holes in it, and someone who didn't get it beyond the basics didn't really need to read so extensively about it- but after the first half, the book starts taking a plunge south. I stopped caring about the characters at some point in the middle, the female lead turning into quite a trope ...more
Nikki
Oct 20, 2014 Nikki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As warned by a friend, the ideas here are pretty fascinating -- the book might be fifteen years behind in terms of science, but there's nothing inherently ridiculous about the idea based on the scientific knowledge of the time -- but the actual narrative is pretty deadly boring. Some of the writing is just... why would you let that slip past, editor? Hard SF isn't just about the cool ideas: there has to be some element of execution there as well, or there's no point in writing it as a novel -- t ...more
Julia
Aug 13, 2010 Julia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lightreads
A CDC disease chaser discovers a virus that seems to be asymptomatic in everyone but pregnant women, and mass graves in Georgia (the country) and a newly discovered family of forty thousand year old mummies suggest this isn’t the first outbreak. And our heroes -- that CDC disease hound, a successful biologist, and an anthropologist with questionable ethics -- begin to suspect it isn’t an outbreak at all.

Okay, so it’s not actually a ‘read a textbook instead’ science fiction book. I mean, the scie
...more
Monica
Aug 25, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. The author obviously researched the subject matter thoroughly, and there was a good balance of science and engaging plot line. I found it to be an easy and fun read, and I will definitely be reading more books by this author in the future.
Maree
Aug 30, 2016 Maree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been trying to figure out if I've read this one before, or if it just seems familiar because I've read the second book in the series. I think I remember the second book being a lot more engaging, perhaps because there are a lot of very smart children in it, and who doesn't enjoy little kids showing up adults?

This start is a little drier, and it's very science heavy, so if you're not into DNA and genetics, you might want to skip this one. I have a passing interest, and I was decently able to
...more
Faith
Apr 08, 2014 Faith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh man. This was basically a DNF, as I did a lot of skimming.

I picked this up expecting a sort of virus-thriller (like Contagion, or the Andromeda Strain, I imagine). And besides, it was about things hiding in our genes and I have a keen academic interest in evolution.

But I could NOT get through this.

Firstly, the science. Bear actually started out solidly, talking about lysogenic viruses and how our genome could contain parts of these viruses. Okay, so far so good. Suddenly they could be activat
...more
Joe
Sep 27, 2012 Joe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This sci-fi "thriller" never really worked for me. The basic premise -- there is a virus that allows the human genetic code to undergo a massive change to a higher lifeform -- provides a reasonable basis for the novel, but as a story it never comes together.

The details of the new virus slowly emerge, as more people become infected and scientists start to study it. Instead of building dramatically in the novel, it gets slowly dished out with enough hints as to where it is going that I started to
...more
Dan
Sep 07, 2007 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of hard science fiction
Shelves: sci-fi
Darwin’s Radio is a pleasure for someone who loves hard science fiction, as I do. Here’s the premise: SHEVA, a retrovirus long-buried in our genes, suddenly awakens and begins to attack pregnant women, forcing them to miscarry after three months. But that’s just the beginning – after the miscarriage, these same women spontaneously become pregnant again, this time developing a fetus that’s not quite human. The federal government, led by the science establishment, after first denying the truth, th ...more
Kathy Bell
Actually 3.5, were that possible on GoodReads.

I really enjoy science fiction with lots of science, and especially evolutionary concepts, so this book appealed to me immensely in theory. In practice, I found myself skipping huge amounts of text so I could move the plot along. The science behind the concept was intriguing and well developed, but the rest of the story dragged on longer than I thought necessary. For those who like their scifi with indepth descriptions of every character and their ev
...more
Althea Ann
A fast-paced, page-turning sci-fi/medical thriller, with an acknowledged nod to Robin Cook's "Outbreak." However, the interesting (although improbable) scientific ideas in the book lift it above the run-of the-mill bestseller.
An unusual discovery is made - two Neandertal mummies, with a seemingly normal, Homo Sapiens infant. Is the child theirs?
Meanwhile, a new transmissible retrovirus is discovered - although it might seem to be nothing more than a cold, one of its side effects in pregnant wome
...more
Paul
This book could have been considerably better, but the execution was just way off. The idea is interesting, but has significant overtones of the misunderstanding that evolution is in some way directed towards improvement - more really needs to be done to emphasize why this is not a problem, otherwise you're going to lose me in magical thinking.

The other issue is that the story and the characters don't seem particularly compelling, and the whole book kinda goes nowhere. I found jarring (view spoi
...more
Wendy
This is the second book I've read this year about the evolution of humanity, though this one was a little less apocalyptic than The Girl with All the Gifts. Though I didn't find the book itself compelling, the topic was and reading this did inspire me to want to read on to discover what happens to Darwin's Children.
Katie
Jul 28, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it. I started it as an audiobook for a long weekend drive up to Eugene and I liked it enough to check out the book and finish reading it once I got back-I thought about finishing it through the cds but that would have taken too long and I HAD to know what would happen. It's really like two books in one. The first part has lots of science and a slower pace, then the book starts to go down an entirely different and unexpected path, raising some interesting ethical issues along the way. The ...more
Joe
Nov 22, 2015 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vaguely scifi...a current day medical science intrigue. Cool idea. The story is really a thriller about the world's reaction to scary disease-like symptoms resulting in aborted babies and immaculate conceptions, which has occurred many times before in human history, and even before. The main characters are magnificently drawn; I really cared for them or at least could empathize with those I did not like. There were no cardboard cutout placeholders. The writing was magnificent, even if it wasn't ...more
Neil Pierson
Middling sci-fi thriller.

Something is causing women to become pregnant with terribly deformed fetuses. The women spontaneously miscarry, then become pregnant again without having sex.

Governments and most of the scientific community think this is a new, virus-based disease. They fight it by encouraging abortions and through quarantines.

A few hardy scientists, however, believe it is part of an evolutionary leap for humankind. If this is true, it can't be stopped, and destroying the "disease" will
...more
Michael
Aug 25, 2007 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007_read
As far as "hard" science fiction goes this one makes the others look like balsa wood.
-m
Tim
Feb 18, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I listened to an audio version of this which was well read by Stefan Rudnicki. Darwin's Radio is a good example of hard scifi, i.e. fiction that is well rooted in legitimate and plausible science, even if the events that take place are probably impossible. The story follows two scientists, one a medical researcher named Kaye Lang, and the other Mitch Rafelson, some type of anthropologist or museum researcher who has run into trouble with the authorities. They are both on the trail of something w ...more
Vanda
Jan 14, 2015 Vanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
Od Beara jsem přečetla kdeco, ale tenhle jeho román patří stále k mým nejoblíbenějším „bearovkám“. Nikdy bych nevěřila, že se mi bude líbit hard SF, ale je tomu tak :) Snad je to tím, že se ta „hard“ složka netýká fyziky či něčeho jiného mně podobně vzdáleného, ale že jde o lidskou biologii a tudíž něco, s čím se můžu ztotožnit lépe. Že hlavní postavy jsou vědci zabývající se DNA a naštěstí taky jeden antropolog – ten to jistí :)) Jinak zápletka mi přijde skutečně originální – způsob, jakým Bear ...more
Patrick Gibson
There is a significant amount of science revolving around evolution, genetics, virology, and mutation. Bear crafts a magnificent story about these subjects as they apply to the mass population and how we as humans might react to biological issues. What would humans do if the homo sapiens species was threatened? What kind of politics would unfold in the local and national level? These are some of the most important issues that Bear addresses and chronicles. It is interesting to read about the har ...more
Melanie
I'm about half way through and I really wonder if I can continue. This is one of the worst books I've read in a long, long time. It's not that the writing is so terrible, it's that the author either has no idea how evolution works or he just doesn't care. The book is science fiction and one of the tenants of science fiction is that it must at least be possible. It must not break the known laws of the universe. Apparently Mr. Bear is not aware of those laws or he just doesn't care. Evolution is b ...more
Kim
Dec 25, 2009 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This might be the most engaging sci-fi book I've read in months or possibly years.

Although I had to fight my inclination to edit the book as I read (lots of extraneous details that hinder rather than help, and some clunky habits), the story was compelling enough to keep me reading at a rapid clip.

In present-day end-of-the-millennium, a massive challenge to the accepted theory of gradual evolution threatens the entire human population's ability to understand itself. Bear's managing to take such a
...more
Lis Carey
Jan 12, 2011 Lis Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf
Young women are getting a virus, which causes them, if they are pregnant, to miscarry. But then they get pregnant again--without sex. Immaculate conception, apparently. Meanwhile, an investigator for the Centers for Disease Control, looking for a disease scary enough to preserve CDC's funding so that it will survive to fight the next big threat, finds evidence of strange massacres that have occurred in different parts of the world over the last fifty years: massacres of pregnant women and their ...more
Tara
Nov 30, 2008 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fabulously engaging and well-orchestrated. Despite setting and character shifts at the end of every chapter, it was never difficult to track where on the timeline and geography of the novel I was. The scientific precepts of the book, while fantastic, are not unbelievable and deal with what the author calls subspeciation. The tenet of the book is that evolution is a force of its own - that the human genome gathers information and stores it in what we call 'junk' DNA [ha! biology! I ...more
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Greg Bear is one of the world's leading hard SF authors. He sold his first short story, at the age of fifteen, to Robert Lowndes's Famous Science Fiction.

A full-time writer, he lives in Washington State with his family. He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear. He is the son-in-law of Poul Anderson. They are the parents of two children, Erik and Alexandra.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/gregbear
More about Greg Bear...

Other Books in the Series

Darwin's Radio (2 books)
  • Darwin's Children (Darwin's Radio #2)

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“For years I’ve been waiting for nature to react to our environmental bullshit, tell us to stop overpopulating and depleting resources, to shut up and stop messing around and just die. Species-level apoptosis. I think this could be the final warning—a real species killer.” 0 likes
“I’ve seen that look on cabinet ministers,” Merton observed quietly. “When they were stuffed full of too many secrets.” 0 likes
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