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Blood Music

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  8,301 Ratings  ·  400 Reviews
Vergil Ulam has created cellular material that can outperform rats in laboratory tests. When the authorities rule that he has exceeded his authorization, Vergil loses his job, but is determined to take his discovery with him.
Paperback, 344 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by iBooks (first published 1985)
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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
Sep 25, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it
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
Sep 09, 2011 Apatt rated it it was amazing
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
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 15, 2013 Yoshiboy13 rated it it was amazing
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. - -
May 05, 2010 Christina rated it did not like it
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
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 02, 2016 Banner rated it liked it
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
Jul 15, 2016 Bryan rated it really liked it
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'
Jun 19, 2015 Pustulio rated it it was amazing

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
Sep 25, 2014 Ben Loory rated it liked it
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
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
Jul 19, 2011 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.

Jan 31, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it
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
Ivan Lutz
Sep 13, 2014 Ivan Lutz rated it liked it
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
Feb 13, 2012 David Nichols rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, sci-fi
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
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
Shelves: science-fiction
My first of many (and still my favorite) Greg Bear book. This guy is good!
Storyline: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 3/5

The last epidemilogical hard science fiction book I read was......also written by Greg Bear! Blood Music shared a lot with the Darwin's Radio duology. And when I say, "a lot" I mean the same subgenre, the same general plot structure, more or less the same problem to understand and respond to, and mostly the same types of characters. I did wonder though if I was being too critical. Perhaps some who read military space science fiction novels
Dec 22, 2009 Geoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 06, 2014 Jessica rated it it was ok
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
Jun 18, 2010 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.
Mar 02, 2016 Simon marked it as unfinished
Made it about 80% of the way through but couldn't finish. The lengthy passages about the 'metaphysics' of individuality and information were tedious.
Jan 17, 2017 Bijan rated it really liked it
Strange, creepy, beautiful, and insane
With these four adjectives, I can somehow summarize this book.

While borrowed some elements from the classics like Frankenstein, The Time Machine, and I dare to say Solaris (plus maybe other books that I haven’t read yet), Greg Bear created a world unlike any of them. In his world, you, as the spectator, can’t stand your ground till the very end. Your emotions will be fluctuating wildly during the journey. Whenever you think that you find the solution, and y
Aug 03, 2014 angela rated it really liked it
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.
May 03, 2015 George rated it really liked it
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
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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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