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I really enjoyed this book. In my opinion, there are different kinds of science fiction: the futuristic, usually filled with tons of new gadgets, the war genre, and the biologic type. This is the biologic type and my favorite. The most famous and, probably best representative, is Michael Crichton books. This book comes very close to one of his books but not nearly as well written. However, the premise is compelling: That the Human genome contains the ability to change due to environmental forces in order to allow it survival. This, of course, borders on Lamarkianism but recent discoveries in genetics gives its more credibility. Many people don’t accept the premise that the living body is really only a vehicle for the genes and a book like this will turn them off. The book was excellent because it wove together several different controversial themes: the politics of disease, the status of humanity at the present time, xenophobia, the inability of governments to deal effectively with change, human rights and the place in science in government. All these are topics are worthy of a book and, the fact that Bear did so successfully, is to be praised. I disagree with most of the negative reviews and fear that their opinions were shaped by the daunting science explicated during the story in order to provide credibility. I have a high understanding of biology and, myself had to re-listen several times to these sections, in order to fully comprehend the meaning. When I look at the status of our world today, there are times that I would hope for a genetic change to remove the unbelievable hated, conflict negativity that seems to pervade almost every aspect of our lives. In my opinion, if a change doesn’t come soon, the homo sapiens branch of the tree of life will end up being a withered jin and another branch will continue to grow.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
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Loved the book! At first, I almost gave up listening, but then decided to put my faith in the author - I was sure he wouldn't tell a story that required the reader to know all about genes, DNA, chromosomes, etc. So I decided to just listen to the story, and pick up the few facts that I could remember or that might be relevant to the story. Then I realized that was exactly what I needed to just enjoy the story - which is great! Don't let the technical jargon and explanations about genes, DNA, or chromosomes scare you off this book - you don't have to remember everything they tell you about them (but it's very interesting to learn a little about how they work). It's a great read - I would highly recommend it!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful