Bill's Reviews > Blood Music

Blood Music by Greg Bear
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Aug 07, 12

Read from July 30 to August 07, 2012

I actually read this book when it was originally published in 1985, and was reminded of it last week by an article in a boingboing.com series called "enthralling books." I remembered that I had loved it back then, but could only remember the barest central premise, and had lost most of the details of the story, so I decided to give it another go. Luckily, I still have the copy I bought from the Science Fiction Book Club!

The story opens with misfit scientist Vergil Ulam conducting secret experiments at the Genetron research labs in La Jolla. He's been busted before, but when he approaches the brilliant and internationally respected scientist, Michael Bernard, under the mistaken impression that he has arrived at Genteron in response to the message Vergil sent him regarding his personal research, he is finally dismissed from the lab. In desperation, he injects the experimental cells he'd been working with into his bloodstream in order to smuggle them out. Unfortunately, he needs to find a lab environment somewhere to continue his research, but his job search is less than fruitful. As a result, he's unable for several weeks to remove the cells, which he believes have gained a measure of intelligence from his experiments, from his system. Based on the changes in his body, his general health, and his brain activity, it appears that the intelligent cells are somehow transforming him. He involves his longtime doctor friend, Edward Milligan, by asking him to run a series of tests, the results of which are alarming.

From this point, the story becomes more and more bizarre as this new life form spreads and transforms pretty much everything on the continent. When the microscopic intelligences learn to communicate with their hosts and learn about humans and the world, both entities have much to gain by cooperating in the transformation of life as we know it.

The novel is compared in the dust cover notes to such classics as Clarke's Childhood's End and Sturgeon's More Than Human, and I cannot argue. Like both these masterpieces (two more of my favorites, by the way,) this story is all about growth and transformation, and where the human race is going next.
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