Karin's Reviews > Blood Music

Blood Music by Greg Bear
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's review
Jan 09, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: science-fiction, creepy, dystopia, post-apocalyptic, transhumanity, hugo-nominee
Read from January 01 to 08, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I am having a hard time describing this book, so bear with me. You know that place where an author takes a left turn into crazy-town? It's an easy place to get to and a difficult place to do well. I, personally, prefer when an author takes us to The Land Beyond Reason, also known as Pure Imagination and a suburb of Science Fiction, slowly, so slowly that it feels like a logical progression. This book is not like that. It takes a hard left to crazy-town about a third of the way through when our unlikeable Protagonist 1 (Virgil) is murdered by his dull friend who is just trying to save the world (sortof).

Protagonist 1 was playing around in the lab and made intelligent cells. He injected himself with them. They proceeded to transform him and, being trillions of intelligent beings with little concept of the scale on which we live, explore the world by getting in the water and being generally unavoidably contagious. Fairly quickly all of North America has succumbed to noocytes and is a wasteland except for 20 or so people who for some reason (even though they had surely destroyed millions of similar people without such reservations) had kept alive until they had learned to work with these people's unusual biochemistry. We follow four of these people. We also follow Bernard, Protagonist 2, who flew off to Europe to have himself quarantined and who is transitioning very slowly. It turns out that the noocytes don't kill everyone. Once they had learned how, they actually assimilate those people who become noocytes.

There is also another hard left when the noocytes turn North America into some sort of huge biomass and another when they stop nuclear bombs from going off by distorting the rules of the universe temporarily (did I mention that so many information processing beings so densely located are able to affect the very fabric of the universe?) and _another_ when the noocytes transition to existing on a quantum level and _*another*_ when having the noocytes on a quantum level is threatening to rip the earth apart and BAM! the book ends.

Speaking of the book ending, when you exist on a purely informational level one of the millions of copies of you will spend time a sort of thought holodeck where you will redo your regrets in macro-life.

After reading this book I was mostly left saying, "huh? Why did I just read this?" It gets two stars instead of one because had I known the nature of the book I would have not read it at all, but knowing the nature of the book I can understand why other people would want to read it.
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Reading Progress

01/01/2012 page 100
29.0% "I have to say that so far this is not holding up well to the test of time (it was published ~1985)."
01/03/2012 page 147
42.0% "allllrighty. Um... don't entirely know what to think of this."
01/06/2012 page 200
57.0% "Why am I still reading this?"

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