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3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  337 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A plague of self-replicating organisms, the product of twenty-first-century bioengineering, spreads across the globe and forces humanity to flee to the asteroid belt, where a crew of desperadoes is chosen for a suicidal mission.
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 3rd 1999 by Del Rey (first published 1998)
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Peter Tillman
Jan 09, 2015 Peter Tillman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-copy
A++, amazingly good. Very likely his masterwork. Pretty near flawless.

It's been twenty years since humanity was driven from Earth and the Inner System by a runaway Bloom of mycora, a [nano] "technologically generated lebensform" (TGL) that's eaten all of
Earth's life, and most of its crust. Humans have retreated to the moons of Jupiter and the asteroids -- the Immunity (Munies) and Gladholders, respectively -- where constant vigilance is required to keep the Mycosystem at bay. The mycora are gen
Nov 15, 2008 Joe rated it liked it
This is an easily-readable science fiction novel. It describes a society that has escaped earth, left it to be taken oven by fast-replicating and consuming nanomachines. The main character -- a shoemaker and sort of citizen journalist (I call em "bloggers") -- joins a mission to go back to Earth to place some detectors.

This book is good enough, but it doesn't really go into any depth about the issues it covers. There's a little bit on another society that split off from the main one, it probes a
Jul 12, 2009 Scot rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Good science, the read reminded me of Gregory Benford. This guy is obviously an engineer first and a novelist second. The characters were shallow and sort of unbelievable. The suspension of disbelief was too great. Blood Music by Greg Bear did such a better job of getting inside the potential mystery of this possible "singularity". A comparison t Arthur C Clark might be apt, but in the sense that Clark always had trouble with character as well.
Jul 09, 2015 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I really wanted to rate this one higher, because so much of it is so good. The world that's set up in the first half, to two-thirds of Bloom is both unique and approachable: a solar system rotten with alien spores that have driven mankind to the outer planets, cities with immune systems, a cult that seems enthralled with the very alien force that's evicted humans from the inner planets--it's a great setting. But after a certain point, pretty far in, I started to realize there felt like an awful ...more
Feb 12, 2017 L. rated it it was amazing
Cool situation, wild science. And, for a change, a hard SF novel with interesting characters instead of one-dimensional ones.
Ian Zimmerman
Feb 24, 2013 Ian Zimmerman rated it it was ok
Interesting concept, but needed work with dialogue, characters, and execution. Of course I was reading the advanced reader's copy rough draft edition since it went out of print and it was the only one I could find. Many of these imperfections may have been fixed in the final version. It is odd though that some reviewers have praised it as a warning against letting technology get out of control, when the ending undermined that theme and the humans escaped without any real negative consequence. Im ...more
Sandra Glenn
Jan 30, 2012 Sandra Glenn rated it really liked it
I've read this once before, many years ago, and liked it. I'd also forgotten most of the plot, and so I was able to enjoy it anew. I should confess I'm pretty burned out on hard SF, but Wil McCarthy took me places I enjoy going. He has a knack for making scenes come alive with interesting details and emotional trajectories. Like most SF, McCarthy unveils his plot points with a certain technical shorthand that would alienate non-SF readers, because it assumes a passing familiarity with certain sc ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Bob rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2012 Ralph rated it really liked it
Good story but the comparisons to Arthur C. Clarke are a little too much. The difference for me is simple, when I finish a book by Clarke, I sit back and think about the story for a while as there is usually a lot to think about, when I finish a book by Wil McCarthy, I pick up another book and start reading it.
Nathan Burgoine
Oct 10, 2014 Nathan Burgoine rated it liked it
Fresh idea for a science fiction story - a kind of technological/biological horror overruns the inner system like a plague, and man is stuck outside on the outer planets, where not enough sunlight reaches the organism to keep it alive...

And now a very small group of people try to stop it, with a ship designed to specifically daunt the eats-all-devours-all plague/creature.
Jeffrey Applebee
Mar 02, 2016 Jeffrey Applebee rated it really liked it
A few good ideas, not explored thoroughly enough, nevertheless it is well written and a good adventure. Saw the end coming a million miles away, but it might be more shocking and have more valuable to someone that has not been exposed to vast distributed intelligence.
Simon Lindsay
Apr 06, 2011 Simon Lindsay rated it really liked it
Shelves: loan-out-jenl
This was the second time i've read this book, and its a great depiction of possible Nano issues. It really makes me wonder if Nano technology is a good idea. After all, is there really any software thats perfect.... ?
Feb 07, 2012 Mitchell rated it liked it
Overreaching. Basically a singularity book set within the solar system. The first half was pretty good and then it lagged. There were some interesting ideas but it just didn't read very well.
Sep 21, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A very fine book. Lots of adventure embedded in a rich sea of ideas. The whole concept was great, and McCarthy's prose is top-notch.
Apr 08, 2012 Joey-Joey-Jo-Jo rated it it was amazing
Jun 25, 2014 Catfantastic rated it really liked it
Better than I thought it would be. I was expecting cheap and cheesy fun, but it was a bit more than that.
Jul 01, 2010 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story, lots of time spent discussing the "Game of Life" simulation
Jun 24, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
Loved it the first time I read it, but when I tried the second time around, the narrative lost its charms.
Paco rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2015
Lanny rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2008
Roy rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2008
Damian Brown
Damian Brown rated it liked it
Sep 13, 2015
Eric Bell
Eric Bell rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2015
Jeff Reid
Jeff Reid rated it it was amazing
May 28, 2014
Irene rated it it was ok
May 03, 2015
Helen rated it it was ok
Mar 22, 2016
Matthew Brady
Matthew Brady rated it liked it
Aug 05, 2013
Sarah rated it liked it
Mar 05, 2008
Christopher rated it it was amazing
Apr 11, 2015
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Science fiction author and Chief Technology Officer for Galileo Shipyards

Engineer/Novelist/Journalist/Entrepreneur Wil McCarthy is a former contributing editor for WIRED magazine and science columnist for the SyFy channel (previously SciFi channel), where his popular "Lab Notes" column ran from 1999 through 2009. A lifetime member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, he has been
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