Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blood Music” as Want to Read:
Blood Music
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blood Music

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  9,692 ratings  ·  492 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.
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (first published April 1st 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,692 ratings  ·  492 reviews

More filters
Sort order

(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
Kevin Kuhn
I believe the only other Greg Bear books I’ve read are “Eon” and “Eternity”. I read both a very long time ago. I enjoyed both, especially Eon, but I remember having a few problems with the stories and was disappointed in the overall ending. Well, my neighbor picks up sci-fi at a used book story on occasion and passes on ones that he liked, as we have similar tastes. So, despite this being first published in 1985, I decided to give it a read.

Overall, it was a similar experience to “Eon” and “Ete
Paul Bryant
Sep 25, 2007 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
Sep 09, 2011 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
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This week I started and finished reading a trilogy by this author. My first encounter with Greg Bear (see what I did there? *lol*). I wasn't overly impressed although I liked the writing style. According to my buddy-reader and constant volunteller, Brad, the trilogy was NOT the author's best work, not by far, and I should read this short story.

So I did.

The story is about a scientist experimenting with biochips (computer chips that can be put in a human body). In the tradition of scientific horro
Lasairfiona Smith
Aug 21, 2007 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.
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
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 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. - -
May 05, 2010 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
Jul 15, 2016 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'
May 14, 2013 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
-En su momento, ideas de vanguardia.-

Género. Ciencia ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En el libro Música en la sangre (publicación original: Blood Music, 1985) conocemos a Vergil Ulam, que trabaja en una compañía dedicada a la investigación biotecnológica que tiene ideas propias sobre el rumbo que deben tomar ciertos proyectos. Su actitud profesional y personal le termina llevando al despido, pero logra llevarse con él su propio proyecto secreto: linfocitos manipulados genéticamente, a partir de los d
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At a certain point, I had to admit that Blood Music ceased to be about science-y horror stuff, and just became a wild, sci-fi horror novel. And while I liked that, I sort of missed the science part. And the aspects that actually related to being human, and why that's important. A lot of that appears to just drop away in the end (which is fairly abrupt).

For some reason (gee - the cover? the synopsis?), I'd had this impression that the book was going to be about crazy Cthulu monsters. What a let d
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 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
Μάριος Δημητριάδης
Πάρα πολύ καλό! Η σύλληψη της ιδέας ήταν εντυπωσιακή, παρόλο που από τότε έχουν βγει αρκετές παρόμοιες ιδέες σε βιβλία και ταινίες. Με κράτησε κολλημένο για αρκετές ώρες. Ήταν εξίσου δυνατά και τα δύο σκέλη του βιβλίου: η ανάπτυξη του "ιού" και το... μετά (να μην πω κάτι παραπάνω και το χαλάσω). Ένα θρίλερ επιστημονικής φαντασίας που θα μου μείνει για καιρό. Ίσως να το έβαζα και στη λίστα με τα αγαπημένα μου βιβλία.
Jun 19, 2015 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
Jan 31, 2009 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
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
Jul 19, 2011 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.

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 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 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!
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 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
D.J. Cockburn
What would happen if a socially awkward genius was to tinker with his own DNA until his immune system learned to think for itself? That's the starting point for Blood Music, which spends the rest of the novel answering the question. I don't think I'm giving away any spoilers by saying it's not pretty.

The genius in question, Vergil Ulam, is straight out of central casting. He's the brilliant loner who is much better at solving the problem in front of him than at predicting consequences. He's depi
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
Chris Kelly
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Here's a perfect example of the all-too familiar phenomenon in science fiction; a writer comes up with a great and interesting concept, but has no idea how to translate into an interesting story. Greg Bear's idea of creating lymphocytes who have become sentient and evolved a human level of intelligence sounded great to me. Such an idea would have some many ramifications and would force us to reevaluate our place in the universe. Unfortunately, Bear hardly explores the wide scope of changes such ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Jem
  • Life During Wartime
  • The Complete Roderick
  • Dark Benediction
  • The Centauri Device
  • Downward to the Earth
  • On Wings of Song
  • The Child Garden
  • Timescape
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • This Is the Way the World Ends
  • Emphyrio
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • Non-Stop
  • Bring the Jubilee
  • Half Past Human (The Hive, #1)
  • Pavane
  • Light Music (Nanotech, #4)
See similar books…
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.
“Thought moves like a dissociation of leaves across a lawn in a breeze.” 4 likes
“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
More quotes…