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Queen of Angels (Queen of Angels #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,411 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
In this brilliant, evocative novel, Greg Bear takes the reader into a strangely familiar, near-future world -- and shatters our conceptions of perfection, punishment, and the elusive nature of the human soul.
"One is ultimately awed... it may be the most ambitious novel I've ever read." -- Washington Post Book World
Paperback, 420 pages
Published March 1st 1991 by Warner Books (first published 1990)
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This book blew my brain and left my skull a cracked, smoking husk containing nothing but remnants of wows and questions.

Don’t be dissuaded by my cowardly 3 star rating, fans of thoughtful, “big idea” science fiction that seeks to unravel the primordial question of “who we are” and the modern obsession of “what we are becoming” should definitely give this novel a go. My rating is based more on the admission that I think this story got away from me at some point and my not being entirely sure wh
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Queen of Angels has been described as Greg Bear's most ambitious work, and ambitious it certainly is. But ambition does not necessarily equal success.
The book takes a murder-mystery type story - a famous and successful poet of the 21st century unexpectedly murders eight of his closest friends - and turns it into a musing on the nature of awareness and identity. The question is approached through various perspectives
- that of a policewoman who has opted for physical transformation through nanotec
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I know it's a bit late in the game, but I am now a fan of Greg Bear. Ok, so I did 5-star Eon, Mariposa and Blood Music, but Queen of Angels is the first of his works that made me want to read more of his backlist.

Why? Because the book is just chockful of mind-expanding ideas, presented in a pleasantly unpredictable collage. Ideas such as --- the thin line between sanity and the rest of the "abnormal" states - neurosis, psychosis, detachment, possession, psychopathy; society's attempts to control
Dan Sutton
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, this is the finest novel ever written - by anyone. This novel is so much more than the sum of its parts, and is so beautifully constructed and written that one is left with a sense of wonder that anyone would even attempt to write it... and with a sense of awe that the ambition required to do so succeeded in every sense. The book is both so fiercely intelligent and so intellectually and emotionally challenging that the reader is left exhausted: it has a shattering effect upon the ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
Greg Bear is clearly trying out a different writing style for this book, but I'm not sure how it is supposed to set the tone or inform the reader how these characters think. In reality, it is extremely annoying and tiring.

He fails to use punctuation, like commas, in any of the character train-of-thought. There are enough run-on-sentences in these pages to make your eyes bleed. It is exhausting to decipher it all, and the story just isn't worth all the work.

La reine des anges nous raconte une tranche de vie de différents personnages, gravitant tous autour d’un unique poète : Emmanuel Goldsmith. Celui-ci aurait, dans une espèce de folie destructrice, tué huit personnes, en se transformant en un serial killer d’autant plus étonnant que les thérapies permettent, en ce millénaire numérique qu’est l’an 2048, de réfrener assez facilement ces pulsions homicides. Pourtant, plutôt que la facilité, Greg Bear choisit ici de nous faire suivre différe
Nadine May
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This novel is a must for psychologists who are science fiction readers! I found it difficult to get into this book at the beginning, but knowing this author's skill to make you think, I persevered and got my reward.
The country of our mind is truly an incredible reality where we create our own illusions. I perceive our 'Soul' to be the culmination of our consciousness experiences in or out of our human body, and this novel takes the reader through the psyche of a serial killer!

Bear continues for
Another reviewer Stephen, "This book blew my brain and left my skull a cracked, smoking husk containing nothing but remnants of wows and questions."

I totally agree. It's an interlacing cyber-fi story of 4 groups of 'people' having what in common? That's my question. My initial thought was it's a modern rendition of Crime and Punishment. This is a major theme, though it's been too long since I met Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov to do a comparison justice {uninyended pun). I do think there may be s
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
If there's one unifying problem in bad science fiction, it's the tendency to overload books with too many ideas. Queen of Angels is a perfect example of this mistake. After the poet Emmanuel Goldsmith murders eight of his friends with no apparent motive, the novel picks up four different threads of plot

1) Mary Choy, a policewoman pursuing Goldsmith.
2) Martin Burke, a therapist attempting to figure out why Goldsmith committed the murder.
3) Richard Fettle, a friend of Goldsmith grappling with his
Nicholas Barone
A good book that seems at times like it could be great, but falls just short. Bear's Queen of Angels (originally published in 1990) is set at the end of the year 2047 in a USA where the advent of nanotechnology has allowed for the development of advanced medical and neurological treatments. Most physical disease has been eliminated and even mental/neurological/psychological disorders can be treated with nanotech therapies. These therapies allow everyone to life well adjusted lives. Therapies hav ...more
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and at times profound book, characters felt real in a way that often similar books lack.

Quick summary: Near future, society is mostly similar, but for the most part current judicial punishments have been replaced by extremely effective neurological therapy, which is also used to fix various mundane personality flaws. For the most part people are happy sane and healthy. [I do love that what would be an awful dystopoian cliche in the hands of many writers is handled in a properly nuance
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a really neat story. It was a triplet of stories all surrounding what it is to be human and a bit of humanity. The science in this science fiction wasn't nearly as difficult to parse as some of the more recent works I've had to auger through but it was a good set of stories. Ones I could get under the skin of. The polish in movements, scenes, ideologies all seemed well laid out.

If you want to see a transform detective from future LA, a scientist that can delve into the human psyche--and
Mar 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
So part of this future society has been 'therapied' - enhanced and perfected by nano-technology - and half hasn't. Some people get murdered and boring police-type woman has to find the person who did it. They know who did it - exciting future technology did that in the first 5 minutes - they just can't find him. Meanwhile, in space, an AI becomes aware and writes some really bad poetry.

I really wanted to like this but just couldn't get into it. The 'newspeak' & setting was frustrating &
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Je to scifi pro "starší a pokročilé", složitá konstrukce s řadou úrovní, plná psychologie, nanotechnologií a voodoo (ano, opravdu). Místy je to trochu obtížnější čtení, ale stojí za to se tím prokousat. Posuďte sami - představte si svět, ve kterém je naprosto normální upravovat psychiku lidí, kteří nějak vyčnívají, kde psychologická terapie nahrazuje vězení či popravy. Kde si můžete prohlédnout psychickou "krajinu" druhého člověka. Kde se Haiti živí vývozem teroristických jednotek a mučících pří ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A lot of interesting concepts, but not a great deal of character development. The writing style was hard to adjust to at first, but some of the more egregious stylistic elements seemed to be dropped or lessened as the novel went on. The ending was something of a let-down, since the resolution to the "mystery" was fairly pedestrian, and we didn't have a strong enough connection to any of the characters to be interested in how the journey affected them.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Alice by: Local book club
There was too much going on in this book (too many seemly unrelated story lines), and I found it a struggle to get through. The ideas were interesting, but weren't explored in too much depth. I found the writing a little difficult to get through because of lack of commas and proper punctuation (no doubt done on purpose, but it still bothered me). In general the book was okay, but I would not recommend it to a friend.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Placing a lot of conversations in the future does not make SciFi
I did not finish this book
Roddy Williams
‘Los Angeles 2047, a city on the eve of the Binary Millennium. Public Defender Mary Choy faces her toughest assignment: to bring back Emanuel Goldsmith – acclaimed poet turned mass killer – from the heart of a Caribbean island about to explode in revolution.

But there are others interested in Goldsmith: the sinister Selectors, who use Hellcrowns to exact ultimate retribution; Goldsmith’s best friend, Richard Fettle, driven to literary inspiration and the edge of madness by the murders; and psycho
Nov 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janito Vaqueiro Ferreira Filho
This book has a few separate story arcs, all connected to a single character: Emanuel Goldsmith. The central character is an untherapied, i.e., a person that refused to have therapy. He's a writer, and part of the reason he refuses to have therapy (along with other creative individuals) is to keep his own creativity, fearing that therapy might change him enough for him to lose his talent.

One day, with no apparent reason, Goldsmith brutally kills some colleagues in cold-blood. The story-arcs then
Jason Murai
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wildly ambitious, provocative, complex, inventive and thought provoking. Lots of good things to say about the book, but it is certainly not your leisurely Sunday afternoon beach reading material.

It is a challenging read until you get comfortable with the structure of the book. There at least 4 different (though somewhat interconnected) story lines, each with its own cadence, syntax and vocabulary. With one character, the prose loses nearly all punctuation and becomes stream of consciousness, mi
Benjamin Atkinson
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hard-sf
Queen of Angels is quite simply, the most staggering science fiction project I never saw coming. I had read Eon, and Blood Music. But Queen of Angels is character driven, filled, nay, bursting with ideas from every few pages. I do not give brief summaries, well yes I do, because I can not help myself but no spoilers. This far too short novel, relative to it's gravitas deals seriously with the evolution of the human soul, as it navigates its way through an exponentially changing Universe. One one ...more
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, justice, AI, etc. This book takes the best parts of Inception and Minority Report and explores their underlying concepts in a page-turning yet academic fashion. In an absolutely fascinating way, this book approaches the exploration of human personality and thinking on several fronts at once: the exploration of another planet looking for "intelligent" life, the use of AI beings who are on the cusp and finally attain self-awareness b ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Hard sci-fi fans; psychology buffs
Recommended to Randal by: Rutland Free Library
Shelves: sci-fi
Digs deep into a potential future of psychotherapy (although see Return From the Stars by Stanisław Lem) for a more comprehensible, deeper exploration of a society where benevolent mind control has taken control.
It's reminiscent of other dystopian / near future fiction (see William Gibson or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Sadly, Bear, who does really high-concept sci-fi, lays out a fascinating concept for using technology to explore the brain but didn't put as much work into what our sub
Mark Werner
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm currently re-reading this, having read it first years ago. I've always liked Bear... The "big idea" man, as I say.
Queen of Angels is set in a high-tech future America which has been transformed by several things, firstly "therapy". We have figured out (mostly) how the mind works and can cure most all mental problems and optimize folks for all sorts of purposes.

We can also freely alter people physically for their personal expression or to make them function better in some ways.

Jonas Salonen
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This one was a bit difficult for me to review.

The story is nice. But do not be mistaken. The happeninggs of the book are partly not very nice. We follow a few protagonists who are all interesting by themselves and all contribute to the ideas Bear is trying to pass along. Although there is a murder at the start of the book the story itself really isn't a murder mystery. It's more about what makes a individual human or perhaps more correctly what makes an individual. When does somebody become an I
Aaron Slack
Feb 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Queen of Angels

Murder mystery set in a late-21st-century America in which most of the population undergoes mental restructuring known as "therapy." Therapy is not technically required unless a person has committed a crime (in which case it is then forced), however almost all jobs require extensive mental testing to ensure a person is "stable" enough to meet the job requirements - effectively forcing most people to undergo therapy.

Basically it is a society's attempt to remove man's sin nature, th
Jim Mann
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Queen of Angels is perhaps Greg Bear's most ambitious book. Invoking at times Alfred Bester, early Bruce Sterling, Phil Dick, Roger Zelazny, and even in parts James Joyce, it's on one level the story of the search for a murderer and why he committed his crime. But on a more fundamental level, it's an exploration of the nature of consciousness. Various threads follow a police inspector searching for the murderer, a psychologist specializing in the Country of the Mind, who can enter a patients min ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating story of the future. What is always interesting when you read a story now, that was written some years ago, though not so long that you can call it a vintage or classic story.
It is a story revolving around advanced tech, that was written before - yes before - the internet; cell phones; tablets, and yet it includes very realistic descriptions of nano-tech and artificial intelligence, as well as physical and mental transformation.
As always, in a Bear novel, this is a novel
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In this brilliant, evocative novel, Greg Bear takes the reader into a strangely familiar, near-future world and shatters our conceptions of perfection, punishment, and the elusive nature of the human soul.

"One is ultimately awed... it may be the most ambitious novel I've ever read". Washington Post Book World


In a society enjoying peace, prosperity and technologically engineered mental health, Emanuel Goldsmith, a famous poet, commits gruesome murder. Three people investigate the

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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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Queen of Angels (4 books)
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