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Blood Music

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  7,855 Ratings  ·  371 Reviews
Vergil Ulam's breakthrough in genetic engineering is considered too dangerous for further research. Rather than destroy his work, he injects himself with his creation and walks out of his lab, unaware of just quite how his actions will change the world.

Bear's treatment of the traditional tale of scientific hubris is suspenseful and a compelling portrait of a new intellige

Paperback, SF Masterworks, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Gollancz (first published 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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(dude, you seriously want an audio version of this??)

so i read this because bird-brian told me to.

i don't know that i am the best person to review sci-fi books. i have zero background in the genre, but for whatever reason, brian thought it would be amusing if i reviewed this.

so i will try.

soooo - okay - quick plot for you plotty folks out there - genius bad boy scientist gets fired from job for meddling with mammalian cells and conducting exp
Paul Bryant
Jul 24, 2015 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-novels-aaargh

In Greg Bear's funny and creepy and REALLY insane story, the rogue scientist invents a virus which... goes viral! Ha ha, that's funny right there, ain't it? Well, what did he expect? That it would stay where he told it and just watch tv? No sir. It develops intelligence. Learns the art of conversation. Says stuff like

WORDS communicate with *share body structure external* is this like *wholeness WITHIN* *totality* is EXTERNAL alike COULD DO WITH A BEER

Okay okay, I a
Aug 31, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
“Vergil Ulam had become a god. Within his flesh he carried hundreds of billions of intelligent beings.”

If Blood Music is ever adapted into a movie, the above quote would be ideal for the movie’s slogan. It sums up the central conceit of the novel very nicely. So Vergil Ulam, a not entirely sane scientist working for a biotechnology lab, experiments with lymphocyte (a form of white blood cell) to turn them into smart cells*. This is very far from his employer’s purview so they summarily dismiss h
3.5 stars. Classic SF novel dealing with biotechnology, nanotechnology (including the grey goo hypothesis), the nature of consciousness and artificial intelligence. On my list to re-read in the near future as it has been some time since I first read this.

Nominee: British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel
Nominee: John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (the original short story WON the award for Best Short Story)
Nominee: Nebula A
Lasairfiona Smith
Aug 21, 2007 Lasairfiona Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those that love horrible writing. I mean bad.
Shelves: dontbother
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vergil Ulam, biotecnólogo estadounidense, trabaja para Genetron investigando sobre biochips. Al mismo tiempo, desarrolla un proyecto personal basado en si los linfocitos son capaces de pensar por sí mismos, lo que daría lugar a células inteligentes. Sin embargo, sus superiores le instan a abandonar y destruir dicho proyecto. Pero Vergil no desea renunciar a este experimento, y para sacarlo del laboratorio no tiene más remedio que inyectarse a sí mismo los linfocitos. A partir de aquí deberá ser ...more
Jul 04, 2016 Banner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I had no idea this book was going to be so weird! I guess the name and cover should have given me a hint, but I try to practice the "Don't judge a book by its cover" rule.

The protagonist is an interesting fellow, a sloppy research doctor. Working in the area of microbiology. Aspersions of greater things and a drive to achieve but he just isn't that careful in the lab.

A germ with intelligence....

That's all I'm saying; it just gets weirder after that. It is a good, imaginative science fiction y
Feb 13, 2013 Sesana rated it liked it
Blood Music is built around a great science fiction concept: a man-made virus becomes sentient and starts rebuilding the world to their own specifications. (Yes, I know that they're technically lymphocytes, but they act and are treated much like a virus throughout.) And to start with, that concept is indeed very promising. The first half or so of the book seemed to be fairly hard SF to me. There are some issues dragging down the book as a whole, though.

The most immediately obvious thing is that
Jul 15, 2013 Yoshiboy13 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
book *awesome-on-verge-of-omfg* greg bear MUST SPEND MORE TIME STUDYING AUTHOR
Could you make that slightly more readable for the nice people out there?
*negative* understand. possible mean EXTERNAL GROUPING
Yeah, pretty much.
VERGIL translate CLUSTERS *can-not-translate*
I think they mean that it's a good book.
pause . . . . . . . . EXTERNAL GROUPING nice? nice from *city-nice-in-country-france*? nice *friendly*? QUERY
Nice friendly.
CLUSTERS need learn MORE
Yes, quite right.
- - End transmission. - -
Aug 16, 2016 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greg Bear once said "science fiction works best when it stimulates debate" and I couldn't agree more. Before this Frankensteinian adventure, I'd never read a book by him and I'm feeling like I am definitely missing out. I seriously enjoyed the language he uses.

My interest waned about 70% in but I stuck in there and ended up loving the last 10 or so pages. Overall, I'd say it had a strong finish and in the end it made me think. Sure, there were a few outdated pieces. A majority of one character'
Jul 02, 2015 Pustulio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Ya en serio, ¿que pedo con este libro?

Es uno de los pocos libros, en los que me he encontrado perdido pensando en lo que va a pasar después. ¡En serio que pedo!


Estoy como anonadado, me parece super chingón que un libro "vieito" me pueda volar la mente tanto como lo ha hecho este. Ciencia ficción en toda su extensión de la palabra. Me quedaron dudas, que ya le preguntare a la b
Ben Loory
starts out a pretty run-of-the-mill Michael Crichton-type thriller, then segues into a cronenbergian fly-like body-horror thing and then ends as a stephen king The Stand-type situation, with a bunch of characters wandering around in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (only the characters are really flat and none of them were there at the start and you don't care about any of them and... whatever).

BUT! right in the middle, there's this one amazing chapter! narrated by a news reporter in a plane flying
May 14, 2013 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel was suggested to me by a sadistic prick who I thought was my friend. Turns out he wanted to see if the concept would bother me. Joke's on him. Loved the book. The story itself was original and unlike anything I'd read before. The concept of a man-made apocalypse where the end of the human race comes in the form of an intelligent virus that ultimately rebuilds the likes of humanity is so far out of the box it's no wonder many light readers are thrown into abysmal attacks on sentence st ...more
Jan 27, 2012 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Vergil Ulam is a brilliant biotechnology researcher who takes matters into his own hands when his company threatens to shuit his work down. Vergil's noocytes are like nano-techonlogy living organisms that begin to evolve and multiply rapidly. Greg Bear knows his science and comes up with some big ideas and concepts while exploring what it means to be human.

May 05, 2010 Christina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This novel really irked me, for several reasons. I think my primary complaint is in the characters - they were undeveloped, unrealistic, and clearly vessels for the science and story rather than dynamic individuals. I didn't care about any of them, except for maybe the intelligent cells themselves.

It didn't help that the plot was slow-moving and required a lot of suspension of disbelief. I don't know enough about hard science to judge the likelihood of any of this novel's events, but from a laym
Ivan Lutz
Da je knjiga izašla prije kratke priče bila bi za čistu desetku. Ovako Virgil je dobio dušu i prošlost, njegova veza s majkom je odlično opisana i zapravo prikazuje ga kao sociopata, no s druge strane narator Nebulom nagrađane priče je izgubio dio svoje osobnosti jer je priča prebačena u treće lice pa je njegov lik stopljen u knjigu kao nužno zlo.
Svakako pročitajte kratku priču jer nećete ništa izgubiti u samoj radnji i poanti, ali knjiga je dobra, jer ima dašak stare škole pripovijedanja. Čita
David Nichols
Unfortunately, this book does not improve the short story upon which it is based; the main characters are either unsympathetic or two-dimensional, and Bear doesn't provide more than a glimpse of the world created by the Blood Musicians (so to speak). Also, the book's title just doesn't work with the "In My Pants" game.
Aug 17, 2009 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd given this book 2.5 if I had had the option to do so. Closer to "mediocre" than to "multiple-award-winner".
Aug 07, 2007 Abe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
My first of many (and still my favorite) Greg Bear book. This guy is good!
Jan 03, 2015 Geoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: sfmw, owned
The novel begins following maverick biotechnologist Vergil Ulam, and his 'after-hours' creation of lymphocytes capable of passing information between one-another. His research is considered too dangerous, but rather than destroy his work, he injects his masterpiece into his bloodstream - their only chance for survival. This leads to the evolution of intelligence in the noocytes (from the greek word for mind, 'noos'), and they begin to rapidly multiply and evolve further. Vergil begins to notice ...more
Jan 31, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel surprised me with how enjoyable it actually was. The title and cover conspired to give me the distinct impression of "generic SF."

A more up-to-date look at the worries of genetic engineering, "Blood Music" moves from an "Andromeda Strain" bio-thriller into speculation of physics and the nature of reality. It manages to do so smoothly, and without invoking any mystical hand waving, which adds greatly to its effect.

A solid read, and one that would sit well with anyone who enjoys near
Mar 06, 2014 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this because the short story (by the same author) it is based on is so great. I think it should have stayed a short story. The book was alright. The added characters were one-dimensional irritating, and obviously tacked on to fill space and make the story longer, but added very little to it, with the exception of Bernard. Bernard is the only character who became a valuable addition. The only part of the book that was missing from the story in my opinion is Bernard, who made the book beara ...more
Mar 07, 2016 Simon marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Made it about 80% of the way through but couldn't finish. The lengthy passages about the 'metaphysics' of individuality and information were tedious.
May 04, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Πρόκειται για ένα μυθιστόρημα που αρχικά ήταν διήγημα, κάποιοι όμως συμβούλεψαν τον συγγραφέα να επεκτείνει την ιστορία σε μεγαλύτερη φόρμα, μιας και είχε μπόλικο ψωμί για περισσότερα πράγματα, ο Μπέαρ τους άκουσε και το βιβλίο αυτό είναι το τελικό αποτέλεσμα, ένα βιβλίο ιδιαίτερα ενδιαφέρον και με μεγάλες ιδέες, που όμως δεν μπορεί να χαρακτηριστεί σαν ένα από τα αριστουργήματα της επιστημονικής φαντασίας, λόγω κάποιων προβλημάτων.

Δεν πρέπει να πω και πολλά για την πλοκή, όσο λιγότερα ξέρετε τό
Oct 07, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of my favorite books, period. Is it science fiction? Horror? How are we supposed to feel about the idea of humanity's fundamental transformation by a veritable sea of nanotechnology? The book remains relatively neutral, with perhaps just a hint of wonder at the possibilities.
Benjamin Atkinson
I am a huge fan of Greg Bear and I tend to agree with the consensus of reviewers that the novella "Blood Music" was better than the novel. However, the novel form is still an ingenious tale, one might say prescient, in view of the fact that he enters the realm of "biologics" and their externalities shall we say, years before they were known to even exist to the informed public. The novel has a wonderfully fleshed out protagonist, great characterization, and a terrifying plot. It was obvious in t ...more
Es beginnt mit einem Schreckensszenario: ein genetisches Experiment wird unauthorisiert durchgeführt und gerät außer Kontrolle. Eine Seuche rafft die Bevölkerung des amerikanischen Kontinents dahin. Vergil I. Ulam tauft seine „intelligenten“ Zellen „Noozyten“, Zellen, die nicht nur Informationen verarbeiten, sondern auch zu Handlungen fähig sind, die man durchaus als „intelligent“ bezeichnen kann. Und sie entwickeln sich rasend schnell: Bald schon haben sie die Menschheit überholt und es scheint ...more
Aug 08, 2014 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh man. That was fun. Gory, messy, ridiculous fun.

The story is that usual sub-sub-genre of the "mad scientist" trope, where the mad scientist's mad experiment goes terribly wrong (or right? depends on your perspective, I guess) and takes down most of everything else with him. It combines that rarest of emotional harmonies: horrifying/disgusting, with hilarious. The zany grotesque, if you will. Think David Cronenberg, or that wonderful, underrated jewel, Slither. It's gross-out, and it's funny, a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arax Miltiadous
Jan 11, 2013 Arax Miltiadous rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arax by: Elena emmanouil
Περίεργο βιβλίο.. Θεωρείτε σκληρή Ε.Φ από μερικούς..
Εγώ πάλι βρέθηκα αντιμέτωπη με ένα αρκετά πρωτότυπο σενάριο που με έκανε να συλλογιστώ το παράδειγμα του Αϊνστάιν καθώς και κάθε ιδιοφυΐας, να συνειδητοποιήσω για άλλη μια φορά - μέσα από την ιστορία του βιβλίου- πόσο αχρείαστο και περιοριστικό είναι στην διάνοια το ανθρωπινό σώμα. Πως όταν και αν ο άνθρωπος καταφέρει να σπάσει τους περιορισμούς της αντίληψης και αποκτήσει πρόσβαση πέραν του δεδομένου 8% του μυαλού και της νοημοσύνης του, αντιλ
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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...

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“They’re trying to understand what space is. That’s tough for them. They break distances down into concentrations of chemicals. For them, space is a range of taste intensities.” 3 likes
“Maybe that’s what your machine calls infection—all the new information in my blood. Chatter. Tastes of other individuals. Peers. Superiors. Subordinates.” 2 likes
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