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Publisher's Summary

Vergil's innovative experiment restructuring the cells of a common virus becomes a nightmare when, in order to save his research, Vergil injects the entire culture into his bloodstream.
©1985 Greg Bear (P)1991 RECORDED BOOKS
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 08-01-15


This is the book that put Bear on the Map. It started with the novella of the same name, which won some awards. I thought that his widening the story into a book worked very well. Written in 1985, it is as stimulating now as it was then. If you enjoyed Crichton's "Prey" you will love this. It is also similar to Bear's more recent hit, "Darwin's Radio".

Imagine that the cells in your body of which there are billions, could think on their own. Actually you do not have to, as Bear already did. Your body is a universe, full of worlds and cities of cells. You want to listen to as much of this book as you can in one setting. It is a book in which you immerse yourself. The book does not have a bunch of well developed characters, although there are a couple, because you are the main character. You want to think of yourself and immerse yourself in the book and your body. Each time you leave the book and come back, it will take a short time to get back into the feeling of the book, so try to set some longer lengths of time to listen. Those who listen in larger blocks of time will enjoy the book, better then those who grab short snippets.

Guidall is the King of Narrators.

I must mention that there was some sort of production problems in the recording. It is not enough for you not to enjoy the book, but you will notice it. Several times the sound will dip and it sounds like Guidall is not speaking into the mic or he has a hand over his mic. I have listened to hundreds of books read by Guidall and this is the first time I have had this problem. I can not believe it was him that was the problem. Let me repeat it is not a reason to not buy the book, it is a minor annoyance.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By thepoet on 04-17-13

Fascinating, Fast Paced, & one hell of a Mind*^ck

The Plot:
Vergil Ulam is a lab tech working on organic thinking cells, he injects these cells into his body which begin to colonize and take over his life.
Greg Bear originally wrote this as a short story in the early 80's, after winning the Hugo Award for best short fiction, he fleshed it into this novel, the first about nanotechnology in science fiction. I don't want to give anything away from this book, other than what I've said above but how could I convince you to check it out? The surprises in characters, science, and the possibilities of life stretched beyond the covers and jumped into my daily life. To be sure, this is NOT a Jekyll and Hyde story. As this book was written in 1985 the author's choices now seem prophetic and intriguing as if they were purposely done. Whatever life is it has only enhanced the possibilities of this book's reach and meaning. This story (and characters) is fascinating, terrifying, and emotional without hitting obvious cliched chordes.

The Narrator:
George Guidall paces his reading, letting the words rest for a moment before carrying on. This approach and command of understanding the material emphasizes the possibilities of where you, the listener, can take these ideas. There's a lot to digest in this book, crazy ideas, and I think Mr. Guidall gets this. He did an incredible job.

The Sum:
This book is unlike anything you've read/listened to recently, or maybe ever. There are very few books that transform my understanding of life but this one did it. This isn't for everybody but if you liked Perdido Street Station and have a natural curiosity of life, I think this book will fit right in. I might also recommend reading about the "noosphere" to give context for the nooscytes, if you find yourself confused.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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