In this masterful sequel to his Nebula Award-winning Darwin's Radio, Bear takes us into a near future forever changed by the birth of millions of genetically enhanced babies to mothers infected with the SHEVA virus. These children may represent the next great evolutionary leap, but some fear their appearance rings a death knell for traditional humanity. Geneticist Kaye Lang, archeologist Mitch Rafelson and their daughter, Stella Nova, have been hiding from an increasingly repressive U.S. government that wants to put the so-called "virus children" in what are essentially concentration camps. Eventually, the family is captured, and when Mitch resists he's arrested on a trumped-up charge of assaulting a federal officer. In later years, Kaye returns to genetics and Mitch, once he's out of jail, to archeology, but neither gives up hope of finding and freeing their daughter. Meanwhile, Stella, imprisoned but surrounded by her own kind, begins to explore the full significance of what it means to be post-human. Though cast in a thriller mode, like much of Bear's recent work, this novel may contain too much complex discussion of evolutionary genetics to appeal to Michael Crichton or Robin Cook fans. Nonetheless, Bear's sure sense of character, his fluid prose style and the fascinating culture his "Shevite" children begin to develop all make for serious SF of the highest order. (Apr. 1) Forecast: An eight-city author tour, plus national print advertising in both mainstream and SF/fantasy publications, should launch this into bestseller territory. Look for further award nominations for Bear, as well as the forthcoming Warner Bros. movie based on his novel The Forge of God. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Ten years after the birth of the first generation of biologically mutated humans known as the SHEVA children (named for the virus connected with their conception), many "old-style" humans wage a campaign of covert genocide in a desperate attempt to prevent the "new humans" from achieving adulthood. Following the story of SHEVA-born Stella Nova and her parents, Kaye and Mitch Rafelson, as they struggle to protect their child and fight for the rights of the new children, Bear's sequel to Darwin's Radio combines the hard science of evolution with tough moral issues about the survival of species. Believable characters and riveting storytelling make this a priority purchase for sf collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02.] Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-In Darwin's Radio (Ballantine, 1999), a long-dormant retrovirus triggered an evolutionary leap. One of the resultant "virus children" was Stella Nova, the daughter of Mitch, an anthropologist, and Kaye, a molecular biologist. As this sequel begins 12 years later, the three are hiding out to escape an increasingly powerful "emergency" government agency set up to "protect" the public from the strange new children. With the complicity of politicians and the news media, EMAC has incited and exploited public fear, violating traditional American rights and isolating the youngsters in inhumane "schools." Stella is caught and placed in one of these institutions while her parents and several other characters studying the new evolutionary development endure their own privations in a country gone terribly wrong. As the adults struggle to carry on their work, Stella and the other virus children grow to maturity, covertly exploring their talents and inventing a new culture that transcends human limitations in several significant ways. Grounded in the cutting-edge science of genetics, this compelling story also explores the seemingly paradoxical question of spirituality. Bear's chilling portrait of America under the heel of EMAC is a cautionary tale worthy of George Orwell or Sinclair Lewis, yet his protagonists shine with humanity, courage, and, in the end, the hope that different species can share the world in peace. This outstanding novel can be read independently, but would best be enjoyed by those who read the first book.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Not so much a sequel as a continuation of Bear’s near-future biological thriller, Darwin’s Radio (1999). SHEVA, a human endogenous retrovirusit’s attached to our chromosomesbecame active, causing the birth of millions of genetically altered children. But these, according to an increasingly paranoid and repressive Administration, represented a deadly threat to public health and safety. So the mutated children were taken from their parents and placed in soulless concentration camps. There’s a powerful unstated motive too: fear of the children’s remarkable abilities. In the camps, such education that they receive is designed to limit the children’s posthuman development: they communicate using complex verbal tricks, enhanced facial expressions, and psychoactive chemical scents manufactured by their own bodies, and form naturally stable social groups that minimize conflict and maximize cooperation. Former archaeologist Mitch Rafelson and his microbiologist wife Kaye Lang have a SHEVA daughter, Stella Nova, whom they attempt to shield from the government’s EMAC (Emergency Action) forces, but eventually she is captured and sent to a camp. Mitch and Kaye split up, and the future looks increasingly grim for all such children and their grieving parents. However, government virus researcher Christopher Dicken gradually makes significant discoveries, as does Kaye after returning to her former profession. EMAC boss Mark Augustine, once stifled and sidelined, slowly makes a comeback. And Mitch makes an archaeological breakthrough that will permanently change everyone’s perceptions of human evolution. Scary and technically plausible though demanding work, even if the good guys’ resurgencedepends more on coincidence than logic. Author tour