Written by: Greg Bear
Review by: Lee Masterson
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I began this novel not quite knowing what to expect - the blurb on the
back cover tells the reader very little, and the reviews I've seen to
date only seem to sing the book's praises, all without telling me what
to anticipate. All I knew is that the book was considered exceptional
enough to win a Nebula Award.
That's a fairly hefty expectation to overcome, and usually a precursor
In this case, those praises were on the mark. I devoured this novel in
around two days. I simply couldn't put it down! Admittedly, it did get
off to a slow start, leaving the reader wondering where all the
exposition and detailed back-story was actually heading.
The basic gist of the book is humanity itself is pregnant - on the verge
of an evolutionary leap, so to speak. The amount of anthropological
detail Mr. Bear has gone into makes this work of fiction almost too
realistic in its portrayal. It's a scary thought!
Darwin's Radio is a triumph of strong characterizations, cleverly
crafted plotlines, impeccable scientific explanations without resorting
to the infamous "infodump", all pieced together in a very frightening
view of our own future-world gone mad.
Once Mr. Bear decides to pick up the pace a little, he manages to throw
the reader headlong into the storyline, and hurl more information
around, until it becomes almost impossible to stop for fear of missing
I personally found the resolution of this book a little too reminiscent
of Robert McCammon's 80's novel "SwanSong" - a post-apocolyptic tale of
humanity-on-the-brink-of-evolution. The use of the "caul" to signify
change, and the resultant happy-ending were almost identical, however
the novel Darwin's Radio itself stands alone as a great piece of
It's easy to understand why this book was awarded the Nebula
* * * * *
* * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* = Slow, difficult to read, could have been
* = Imminently