New York:: Madison Park Press,, (2006.). Very near fine in a like dustjacket.. Book club edition: the first hardcover printing in the US. A technological thriller set in the near future - in the 21st century where the War on Terror has escalated out of control. SIGNED on the title page, and uncommon thus. 355 pp.
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.
Initial thoughts: Really poorly written thus far. Hanging on just to see if things improve in the next 10-20 pages. I really should try to remember the Greg Bear Rule - half his stuff is amazing writing, half is just junk.
18 July 2008: I actually gave the book 50 more pages and it just kept getting more predictable and less interesting. This book reminded me a lot of Blood Music (an earlier Greg Bear book), which wasn't bad as a short story but that I really disliked as a full novel. Quantico had a lot of potential, but was too wordy, had too many competing storylines, and failed to capture my interest.
well It has been some times since I have read any new Greg Bear (and I will admit I have no idea why this book was already listed as read) but it brought back quite a few memories. The first is that I forgot how much I enjoyed his work - even though it does not necessarily sit well with others. I still think Blood Music is a great book although I know options are divided.
Then there is the other side of to his work. Greg Bear to me is a hard science fiction writer and as such does like to cite a lot of possible or near possible technology. Now this might be the reason for some peoples dislike of his work for me, however had worked in and along side similar technology the "what if.." questions posed are all too plausible. And that for me mixed with the human element makes for a very potent and chilling story.
Yes the action is slow to start with, with a lot of disconnected narratives running along side each other where you think what the connection is - but it is not till the later stages do you actually realise what is going on. I particularly like how more connections are exposed in the book which take a tenuous link and make it realistic and plausible.
Greg Bear is to me a great story teller and apart from his habit of occasionally over explaining the science present (which at times is neither needed or even welcome) he is able to take a story and make it both fantastic and credible at the same time.
My first experience with Bear's non-genre fiction, Vitals, was pretty negative. Quantico was a lot better. According to Bear, Quantico (a near-future thriller) is the first part of a lead-in to his SF sequence that began with Queen of Angels - a great novel. The connections aren't obvious here, but apparently the subsequent book, Mariposa, makes the connections much more obvious.
I don't read thrillers often because I don't find them to be particularly good stories. The characters here aren't well-written but the bioterrorism story is enjoyable.
Sad to say, I enjoyed this book the least of any of Bear's, and I've read nearly everything he's written.
I've had trouble with some of his previous works, not being able to find a character I liked, but in those the stories carried me past it. In this one I never could. The overall premise and twist is interesting, but not worth the time investment to get to.
Greg Bear is one of my favourite authors, so it pains me to give a bad review. This one's a miss.
Well, i finished...I am usually pretty objective to reading, and even with the terrible reviews from fellow good-readers, i decided to go ahead. I have read a huge library of spy, counter-terrorism, and didn't use any of those to pre-judge. Where i did like the details, and creativity of the author in creating a NEW type of threat, the drama, tension, and panic dampened to a soggy paper towel of a story. Introduction of characters late in the book, and lack of "fear" of the antagonist had me nearly mark 2 stars...However, the premise was fine, and there were spatterings, more like driblets of excitement would allow me to recommend this to some readers. If nothing else, it will help you appreciate GREAT suspense authors, and really push you to get into Vince Flynn and Daniel Silva. As a stand alone book, was fair.
This is strictly a holiday read – it was chosen, before flying off on holiday, for its undemanding nature and disposability. It would have been terrible to carry a book to the far end of the world, read it, find it was the best novel ever, and then have to carry it back from the far end of the world; so it was quite a relief to find that I didn’t really enjoy reading this book at all.
On the face of it, it should have been ok. I’ve read some of Greg Bear’s books and enjoyed the sci-fi elements of them. However – this is one of those crossover books that insert just a teensy tiny bit of sci-fi into a near future setting just to fool people like me into thinking that the book would be bearable. Mainly, it’s a political thriller about US agencies (hence the title – Quantico) battling against the latest forces of evil – which for this season means Middle East terrorism.
The best that I can say is that the story line just about served to distract me from the swarms of mosquitos whining around my ears. The writing is easy to digest, with the only downside being the vocabulary – there are too many unfamiliar names, places, technologies to hold in my head all at once. None of the characters are likeable – period. This was brought home as I neared the end of the book – I found that I wouldn’t have cared less if the entire cast was wiped out. In fact, the story line did not engage me at all – there was nothing and no-one to cheer for at all. The ending was a race against time to stop some bad event from happening. I found that whether it happened or not meant absolutely nothing to me – surely it should have mattered more than that!
But then again it’s probably right that I was more worried that a passing mosquito could inject me with chikungunya virus as I sat reading, than about the death of hundreds of thousands of poorly painted fictional people.
This is what I'd call SF targeted towards people not comfortable with SF; near-future fiction placed in some undefinite future where the US has a female president and law enforcement and the military have a number of neat hi-tech gadgets to help in their work (individual-locked guns, networked vital signs monitoring vests, goggles with text displays, RFIDs and cop overrides on all civilian vehicles... ). Unfortunately the introduction of all this stuff is quite infodumpy, not especially streamlined, which makes for a somewhat jarring read. And the high-tech stuff is almost never crucial to the story; it is more of a SF-nal gloss on top. It seems Bear's goal with this book is to make people sit up and take notice about the dangers of bioterrorism, which is a laudable thing to do, but since the tech for the terrorism parts in the book already exists, moving the story into the future detracts from the sense of urgency (I am guessing) he wants to inspire.
That said, the thriller part of the story is not that bad, even if the plot has several branches that could have been pruned or trimmed completely, and I liked several of the characters.
Newly minted FBI agents from training facility Quantico, William Griffin, Fouad Al-Husain, and Jane Rowland are almost instantly involved in the hunt for a terrorist using biological warfare. An anthrax-like substance has been found that doesn’t necessarily kill, but robs people of their memories. They seem to be in the throws of dementia.
As the hunt takes them all over the world...Turkey, Iran, Israel, they are unaware, at first, that it is one of their own, an American terrorist who has some grievances to settle, that is ultimately behind the attack.
Quantico will scare you out of your mind, hoping that something like this will never happen. Yet it is full of scientific passages that are confusing to a non-scientific person. And, the ending is unfathomably disappointing and wraps up much too quickly. Not really a fan of this story.
Confusing book - kinda hard to follow the story without paying a lot of attention but at the same time not interesting enough to pay a lot of attention. As one commenter put it, Greg Bear has interesting ideas and writes boring books about them. Spot on.
The ideas about biological weapons are cool and sound appropriately plausible and scary. I kinda liked one character - Rebecca Rose but perhaps because of a superficial reason - all her tough/sexy image.
The book is mostly a thriller in form, about multiple special government agencies. The SF element is barely there - around the weaponization of biological agents.
A pesar de q Bear es más conocido como autor de género (CF) esta novela no salió en una colección de CF. De hecho está ambientada en un futuro muy cercano, y es más un thriller q otra cosa. Es un poco previsible, y muy "estadounidense", aunque ya puestos en lo de thriller hubiera preferido más acción. Es decir, te pinta un peligro terrible, y luego no pasa casi nada de lo previsto, todo para que se luzcan los buenos gringos. Lo más bajo que he leido de Bear... pero no por eso se deja de leer de un tirón.
I got this book as part of a Humble Bundle, and I'm really glad I only ended up with an epub, because any paper this book would be printed on would be wasted.
I'm incredibly confused about who this book's intended audience is. I'll start this review with some inane examples and then get into the deeper and more disturbing problems I found while reading. The author had no consistency when explaining various pop culture references in the book. For instance, a character quotes Dune's litany against fear, citing it as from a book the character read as a teen. Later in the book, another character quotes Monty Python and the author states this is a Monty Python reference. At another point in the book, the author explains that "J-Lo" stand for Jennifer Lopez. The author refers to "The Turner Diaries" with no explanation of what those are. I don't know a single person who doesn't know who J-Lo is, who doesn't know what Dune is, who does know what Monty Python is, and who does know what the Turner Diaries are. Who is the intended audience here?
I had a really hard time finding the plot enjoyable or interesting, partially due to my issues with the writing style. For instance, the characters were extremely thoroughly described in terms of physical characteristics, including weirdly specific racial descriptions that seemed to turn the characters in to caricatures. It seemed like the physical descriptions were a stand-in for any character depth or backstory, meaning I had no interest in the characters themselves. There were many protagonists in this book and they weren't introduced in a way that made them easy to keep straight.
This book is divided into a large number of chapters, which combined with the number of protagonists, gives the writing a very choppy and segmented feeling. Also contributing to the general disjointedness of the book, there are many FBI gadgets described in great detail in this book, and then never mentioned again. There are other gadgets that aren't described at all, and used frequently.
I really feel like the author just "winged it" with this book. There is also a great dearth of research evident, for example, the author mixes up the Challenger and Columbia disasters. The author refers to Iowa State University in Ames IA, as the "University of Ames, Iowa." The author also casually drops in the fact that a character's parents died of food poisoning and doesn't explain this at all. It's very rare to die of food poisoning in the colloquial sense and very difficult for this to happen. Unless this means someone poisoned their food, in which case I feel it needed way more explanation.
The author frequently abuses the racial conflicts that are central to this book. The author refers to indigenous people as "Indians" multiple times, which is very confusing since it took pages for it to become clear that he was referring to people from America and not people from India. Racism was frequently used in this book in a way that seemed unnecessary and didn't further the plot. There was frequent use of a wide variety of slurs.
Additionally, there is a casual mention of disordered eating that again, has nothing to do with the plot and is entirely unnecessary. There's homophobia, and I quote "if she's a lesbian, she doesn't want to be." There are transphobic slurs.
I'm honestly not sure how this book even got published. In conclusion, I don't think I'd recommend this book to my worst enemy.
It started off ok, as a fairly typical if well-written techno-thriller, FBI vs. terrorists. But then weird political stuff happens, it gets less and less believable, and and the story frays towards the end, which wasn't particularly satisfying.
-1 star for far too many characters, many of which were promisingly built up just to be left by the wayside. -1 star for the ignorant and mildly offensive 1-dimensional caricatures of the various religious figures, be they Christian, Jew, or Muslim. All are portrayed as stereotypical single-minded fanatics, with one notable exception, but even there the character is reduced to cliché. -1 star for the convoluted and far-fetched political conspiracy stuff, which mostly distracts from rather than advances the plot. It also makes the book feel terribly dated, a product of the post-9/11 Iraqi War era that completely distorts the situation (both at the time and the predicted future). -1 star for the audiobook narrator managing to butcher pronunciations of at least 3 languages (including English!), he struggles even with common words and simple names, often to the point that it isn't even clear what he's trying to say, and the delivery is strained and almost painful. His attempt at various accents is equally atrocious, both inaccurate and inconsistent.
Quantico by Greg Bear is a near future bio-terror technothriller from an author perhaps better known for his hard science fiction. It is unrelated to the TV show of the same name, other than the fact the FBI academy is within the Marine Training base of Quantico.
It starts with some unlikely clues, and some FBI trainees, and some long hidden terrorists. It becomes about anthrax, and then something stranger, and an attack on the world’s major religions.
Bear’s plotting is sparse for a techno thriller, requiring you to pay attention to keep up; hints about the political situation in Washington and around the world come into sharp focus to frame the final confrontation.
Read This: For clever and interesting near future thrills. Don’t Read This: If you prefer things clear rather than the murky, shades of grey, hidden clues and hints this book prefers.
First read – 2 May 2008 - ***. This is a near future bioterror thriller. Very near future; we have a liberal woman president, a senior senator "Josephson" from Massachusetts, and the aftermath of a US withdrawal from Iraq. In the story, recent FBI academy graduates William Griffin, Fouad Al-Husam, and Jane Rowland are suddenly inserted into inter-agency intrigue and overlapping crisis of domestic and international terrorism. The concepts and events are scary in their realism. Good read, even if the ending is somewhat abrupt. Due to the use of current events, I suspect the book will not have aged well after a few years have passed.
Knowing the author's penchant for hard Sci-fi, (despite this being my first novel by him), I was pleasently surprised by the techno-thriller aspect of the book, feeling both realistic (taking place in what is now 2-4 years ago) and frighteningly fantastic (as some of the vividly described technology has yet to enter use. One strong point that was unexpected was the dialogue, which was especially vibrant in the excellent voicing of the audiobook version I heard. The setpeices are exciting, and the ending feels like a climax of a level of Black Ops II (complete with drones and orbital mass drivers). This is hard Sci-fi for a Clancy fan.
I know Greg Bear has some big fans and I've tried to read several of his books over the years, but try as much as I do, I don't think he's very good or impressive, and I've never been anything but bored when reading his work, such as this book. And I kind of feel bad about that because for all I know he may be a really nice guy and a great writer, but sometimes people don't click for you -- I know my work hasn't clicked for some people, so I get it -- but while I'm not personally biased against him, I still can't recommend this book or any of his others.
This was good, very good, but also very worrying. It all seems so possible, I can't imagine how different it must have seemed when it was first published. Now, so many years on it's still science fiction, but only barely. A thriller about FBI agents tracking two cases that are really one case, it's fairly TV Thriller Formulaic, but the thrills are still there. I gave it four stars because there were times it was a little too real, a little too likely and was therefore a little closer to nonfiction than I like to read.
This novel, set in the near future, was exciting and mysterious, but I found it too long. It had too many minor characters who might be mentioned in the early chapters then not mentioned again till the end, and I was thinking, Who was that again? There were far too many acronyms which might be spelled out once but of course it didn't stick because it was unfamiliar. It didn't have a really tidy ending either, which made it a bit annoying. So 3 and a half to 4 stars only.
Although this book sits at 326 pages, it feels a lot shorter than that thanks to the edge-of-your-seat suspense that Bear uses to keep you captivated. With little background building, this book is a thriller right from the beginning. There are turns to keep you guessing, and just when you think you've caught on, Bear throws yet another wrench into the plans. Well-thought out characters add to the story to make this one of my favorite reads of 2019.
Disappointing. There was a lot of different threads running here, any one of which could have been developed much more. I was particularly disappointed in how the main antagonists were disposed of - very much whimper-like and that, surprisingly, reduced my enjoyment in the overall story.
After a while, I had trouble following the story. I kept wondering when this or that subplot would be tied off, and they never were.
Sometimes I think I keep reading Bear because Blood Music was so good. As a writer, he’s pretty wooden, but his ideas can be interesting. Here he looks at the near future of terrorism and bioweapons, and offers an alternate take on the anthrax letters of 2001 as part of a much bigger plot which in itself is actually rather clever. Some of it is a bit far out (especially his ideas on the fate of the FBI), and the ending seems a bit rushed, but overall it’s not too bad.
This is the first non-science fiction book I read by Bear. While it doesn't stand up to Eon or that series, but in my eyes many books don't. He did not disappoint me. Great page turner. If you are a Science Fiction reader and a Greg Bear fan I recommend you taking a chance.
confusing at times with lingo or with what I felt, though sometimes this added to the complexities of the characters and situations -- not a huge fan of the ending but overall it was engaging in the middle-end of the book
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This book underscores the distrust of our times in terms of government, politicians, law enforcement, and religion. The only cure is a return to a morality based on the eternal truths espoused by all the major religions; one God, one religion, and one humanity.