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Queen of Angels (Queen of Angels #1)

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,983 ratings  ·  69 reviews
In this brilliant, evocative novel, Greg Bear takes the reader into a strangely familiar, near-future world -- and shatters our conceptions of perfection, punishment, and the elusive nature of the human soul.

"One is ultimately awed... it may be the most ambitious novel I've ever read". -- Washington Post Book World
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 1st 1991 by Warner Books (first published 1990)
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This book blew my brain and left my skull a cracked, smoking husk containing nothing but remnants of wows and questions.

Don’t be dissuaded by my cowardly 3 star rating, fans of thoughtful, “big idea” science fiction that seeks to unravel the primordial question of “who we are” and the modern obsession of “what we are becoming” should definitely give this novel a go. My rating is based more on the admission that I think this story got away from me at some point and my not being entirely sure wh
Althea Ann
Queen of Angels has been described as Greg Bear's most ambitious work, and ambitious it certainly is. But ambition does not necessarily equal success.
The book takes a murder-mystery type story - a famous and successful poet of the 21st century unexpectedly murders eight of his closest friends - and turns it into a musing on the nature of awareness and identity. The question is approached through various perspectives
- that of a policewoman who has opted for physical transformation through nanotec
I know it's a bit late in the game, but I am now a fan of Greg Bear. Ok, so I did 5-star Eon, Mariposa and Blood Music, but Queen of Angels is the first of his works that made me want to read more of his backlist.

Why? Because the book is just chockful of mind-expanding ideas, presented in a pleasantly unpredictable collage. Ideas such as --- the thin line between sanity and the rest of the "abnormal" states - neurosis, psychosis, detachment, possession, psychopathy; society's attempts to control
Nadine May
This novel is a must for psychologists who are science fiction readers! I found it difficult to get into this book at the beginning, but knowing this author's skill to make you think, I persevered and got my reward.
The country of our mind is truly an incredible reality where we create our own illusions. I perceive our 'Soul' to be the culmination of our consciousness experiences in or out of our human body, and this novel takes the reader through the psyche of a serial killer!

Bear continues for
Dan Sutton
In my opinion, this is the finest novel ever written - by anyone. This novel is so much more than the sum of its parts, and is so beautifully constructed and written that one is left with a sense of wonder that anyone would even attempt to write it... and with a sense of awe that the ambition required to do so succeeded in every sense. The book is both so fiercely intelligent and so intellectually and emotionally challenging that the reader is left exhausted: it has a shattering effect upon the ...more
Greg Bear is clearly trying out a different writing style for this book, but I'm not sure how it is supposed to set the tone or inform the reader how these characters think. In reality, it is extremely annoying and tiring.

He fails to use punctuation, like commas, in any of the character train-of-thought. There are enough run-on-sentences in these pages to make your eyes bleed. It is exhausting to decipher it all, and the story just isn't worth all the work.
Another reviewer Stephen, "This book blew my brain and left my skull a cracked, smoking husk containing nothing but remnants of wows and questions."

I totally agree. It's an interlacing cyber-fi story of 4 groups of 'people' having what in common? That's my question. My initial thought was it's a modern rendition of Crime and Punishment. This is a major theme, though it's been too long since I met Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov to do a comparison justice {uninyended pun). I do think there may be s
Excellent and at times profound book, characters felt real in a way that often similar books lack.

Quick summary: Near future, society is mostly similar, but for the most part current judicial punishments have been replaced by extremely effective neurological therapy, which is also used to fix various mundane personality flaws. For the most part people are happy sane and healthy. [I do love that what would be an awful dystopoian cliche in the hands of many writers is handled in a properly nuance
Nicholas Barone
A good book that seems at times like it could be great, but falls just short. Bear's Queen of Angels (originally published in 1990) is set at the end of the year 2047 in a USA where the advent of nanotechnology has allowed for the development of advanced medical and neurological treatments. Most physical disease has been eliminated and even mental/neurological/psychological disorders can be treated with nanotech therapies. These therapies allow everyone to life well adjusted lives. Therapies hav ...more

La reine des anges nous raconte une tranche de vie de différents personnages, gravitant tous autour d’un unique poète : Emmanuel Goldsmith. Celui-ci aurait, dans une espèce de folie destructrice, tué huit personnes, en se transformant en un serial killer d’autant plus étonnant que les thérapies permettent, en ce millénaire numérique qu’est l’an 2048, de réfrener assez facilement ces pulsions homicides. Pourtant, plutôt que la facilité, Greg Bear choisit ici de nous faire suivre différe
Jason Murai
Wildly ambitious, provocative, complex, inventive and thought provoking. Lots of good things to say about the book, but it is certainly not your leisurely Sunday afternoon beach reading material.

It is a challenging read until you get comfortable with the structure of the book. There at least 4 different (though somewhat interconnected) story lines, each with its own cadence, syntax and vocabulary. With one character, the prose loses nearly all punctuation and becomes stream of consciousness, mi
Benjamin Atkinson
Queen of Angels is quite simply, the most staggering science fiction project I never saw coming. I had read Eon, and Blood Music. But Queen of Angels is character driven, filled, nay, bursting with ideas from every few pages. I do not give brief summaries, well yes I do, because I can not help myself but no spoilers. This far too short novel, relative to it's gravitas deals seriously with the evolution of the human soul, as it navigates its way through an exponentially changing Universe. One one ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roddy Williams
‘Los Angeles 2047, a city on the eve of the Binary Millennium. Public Defender Mary Choy faces her toughest assignment: to bring back Emanuel Goldsmith – acclaimed poet turned mass killer – from the heart of a Caribbean island about to explode in revolution.

But there are others interested in Goldsmith: the sinister Selectors, who use Hellcrowns to exact ultimate retribution; Goldsmith’s best friend, Richard Fettle, driven to literary inspiration and the edge of madness by the murders; and psycho
Aug 01, 2013 Randal rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hard sci-fi fans; psychology buffs
Recommended to Randal by: Rutland Free Library
Shelves: sci-fi
Digs deep into a potential future of psychotherapy (although see Return From the Stars by Stanisław Lem) for a more comprehensible, deeper exploration of a society where benevolent mind control has taken control.
It's reminiscent of other dystopian / near future fiction (see William Gibson or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Sadly, Bear, who does really high-concept sci-fi, lays out a fascinating concept for using technology to explore the brain but didn't put as much work into what our sub
Meh. Like another Bear book or two that I have read: very slow for a long time, then everything nearly wrapped up suddenly. Lacking suspense or dramatic tension or narrative drive. This one containing fractured story lines with a mix of dull explication alternating with unenlightening metaphor. Its theme a blend of sophomore psychology and a trite theory of mind--better angels of our nature, blah, blah, blah. Good enough to finish, but not worth starting.
Aaron Slack
Queen of Angels

Murder mystery set in a late-21st-century America in which most of the population undergoes mental restructuring known as "therapy." Therapy is not technically required unless a person has committed a crime (in which case it is then forced), however almost all jobs require extensive mental testing to ensure a person is "stable" enough to meet the job requirements - effectively forcing most people to undergo therapy.

Basically it is a society's attempt to remove man's sin nature, th
Ward Bond

In this brilliant, evocative novel, Greg Bear takes the reader into a strangely familiar, near-future world and shatters our conceptions of perfection, punishment, and the elusive nature of the human soul.

"One is ultimately awed... it may be the most ambitious novel I've ever read". Washington Post Book World


In a society enjoying peace, prosperity and technologically engineered mental health, Emanuel Goldsmith, a famous poet, commits gruesome murder. Three people investigate the

Damien Ayers
2047 is ending and Emmanuel Goldsmith, a well respected poet has slaughtered 8 young devotees before disappearing. Hence begins a search to find him, and understand out why he would do such a thing. Several intertwined story lines follow a pd (public defence) investigator, a disgraced neural scientist, a friend of Goldsmith's, and an AI researcher.

I had a lot of trouble getting into this, due to a combination of unfamiliar terms and some unusual typographic techniques, used to indicate what a ch
So part of this future society has been 'therapied' - enhanced and perfected by nano-technology - and half hasn't. Some people get murdered and boring police-type woman has to find the person who did it. They know who did it - exciting future technology did that in the first 5 minutes - they just can't find him. Meanwhile, in space, an AI becomes aware and writes some really bad poetry.

I really wanted to like this but just couldn't get into it. The 'newspeak' & setting was frustrating &
David Bias
As a prequel to Slant, it gives an amazing amount of depth to the world in this series.
Paul Steele
I really wanted something other than your, thow-away space opera, but didn't find it here. Such a shame, in my opinion, because the stories (there are at least three going on at the same time) all had such potential, but it didn't feel like they were fully developed. The writing was also necessarily complex. and convoluted, which made reading it a chore. Considering I read it on a plane and was essentially a captive audience, and still couldn't get into the story speaks volumes. I couldn't even ...more
Apr '08 - So far it's not dragging me in. It's written in a style that uses "future" slang and grammar. The story is OK, but not Bear's best in my opinion. I've been working on it for a few months now and keep finding other things to read instead.

Aug '08 - OK. I just finished the book. It took forever to finish; I just couldn't get into it. It finally picked up the pace and got interesting at about the halfway point. I really got hooked in the last third. I guess overall it was a worthwhile read
Very impressive, but also heavy going in places. Queen of Angels deserves top marks for a more or less believable vision of the future, for the challenging issues raised, and for the beautifully-pitched narrative of some plot lines. Some sections were too literary for my taste, while the vision of "the Country" inside the mind - brilliantly disturbing as it is - doesn't strike me as very plausible. Overall, I went from being impressed to disappointed to impressed again: it's a tough hike to the ...more
Geordie Jones
Very weird, but really good!
Ron Johnson
Hugo Nominee 1991
Angela Bull Radoff
I hope there is a sequel. So. Many characters seem to be in mis-story at the end. If I find sequels, I'll come back and write a real review.
Dennis Mcmahon
It gradually got my interest but mostly I just wanted to finish it so I could move on to something else. It had some interesting ideas but I overall didn't find it an enjoyable read.
Interesting character Mary Choi, who has elected to transform herself into a person with the skin of an orka - deepest black and slippery - is a police detective, and takes a misguided detour into an unlikely tropical island searching for a murderer...while another interesting character, a psychoanalyst of sorts, engages in a journey into the mind of said suspected murderer. This story wanders aimlessly. Some interesting imagery and concepts, but no glue.
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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.
More about Greg Bear...

Other Books in the Series

Queen of Angels (4 books)
  • Heads (Queen of Angels, #2)
  • Moving Mars (Queen of Angels, #3)
  • Slant (Queen of Angels, #4)
Foundation and Chaos (Second Foundation Trilogy, #2) Eon (The Way, #1) The Forge of God (Forge of God, #1) Darwin's Radio (Darwin's Radio #1) Blood Music

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