Darwin’s Radio

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 18, 2003

Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear

Fifteen people attended this discussion, including one on crutches. Fourteen people started the book and 13 finished it.

The group was happy to read a book they felt dealt with SCIENCE. Set two weeks in the future, DR follows a virus researcher who discovers what seems to be a new virus that affects human reproduction. Soon widespread pregnancies are causing panic as facial changes visably mark those affected and humanity experiences an evolutionary burst.

The trigger for the changes was a hot topic. Was it stress? Population overflow? Cedar pollen? The only thing we agreed on was that Bear didn’t specify.

We picked at some elements, such as the serendipity of finding evidence of a previous evolution spurt at the same time as the current one. Some people felt the novel tended to have info dumps, while others enjoyed the technical details.

There was some concern over the types of vectors the story used, such as the miscarriages and violence but all agreed that to tell the story effectively these tragic elements were necessary. Plus it made some aspects even more poignant, such as when a few-days old baby begins to talk and communicate with its mother.

One character comparing her ostracism to being treated like a nigger angered one of our memebers who went on to remark that maybe Bear needed some black friends.

Otherwise, this was one of our more popular books. A lot of people are planning to read the sequel, Darwin’s Children.

Afterwards we had dinner at Mexican restaurant A la Carrera.

— Judy Strange