Greg Bears Nebula Awardwinning novel, Darwins Radio, painted a chilling portrait of humankind on the threshold of a radical leap in evolutionone that would alter our species forever. Now Bear continues his provocative tale of the human race confronted by an uncertain future, where "survival of the fittest" takes on astonishing and controversial new dimensions.
Eleven years have passed since SHEVA, an ancient retrovirus, was discovered in human DNAa retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence . . . and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths, possessed of remarkable, advanced traits that mark a major turning point in human development, are also ticking time bombs harboring hosts of viruses that could exterminate the "old" human race.
Fear and hatred of the virus children have made them a persecuted underclass, quarantined by the government in special "schools," targeted by federally sanctioned bounty hunters, and demonized by hysterical segments of the population. But pockets of resistance have sprung up among those opposed to treating the children like dangerous diseasesand who fear the worst if the governments draconian measures are carried to their extreme.
Scientists Kaye Lang and Mitch Rafelson are part of this small but determined minority. Once at the forefront of the discovery and study of the SHEVA outbreak, they now live as virtual exiles in the Virginia suburbs with their daughter, Stellaa bright, inquisitive virus child who is quickly maturing, straining to break free of the protective world her parents have built around her, and eager to seek out others of her kind.
But for all their precautions, Kaye, Mitch, and Stella have not slipped below the governments radar. The agencies fanatically devoted to segregating and controlling the new-breed children monitor their every movewatching and waiting for the opportunity to strike the next blow in their escalating war to preserve "humankind" at any cost.
Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
Morning lay dark and quiet around the house. Mitch Rafelson stood with coffee cup in hand on the back porch, dopey from just three hours of sleep. Stars still pierced the sky. A few persistent moths and bugs buzzed around the porch light. Raccoons had been at the garbage can in back, but had left, whickering and scuffling, hours ago, discouraged by lengths of chain.
The world felt empty and new.
Mitch put his cup in the kitchen sink and returned to the bedroom. Kaye lay in bed, still asleep. He adjusted his tie in the mirror above the dresser. Ties never looked right on him. He grimaced at the way his suit hung on his wide shoulders, the gap around the collar of his white shirt, the length of sleeve visible beyond the cuff of his coat.
There had been a row the night before. Mitch and Kaye and Stella, their daughter, had sat up until two in the morning in the small bedroom trying to talk it through. Stella was feeling ...
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Now Poole has returned to life, awakening in a world far different from the one he left behind - and just as the Monolith may be stirring once again
An intriguing presentation by an unabashed advocate of the technological tricking and co-opting of mother nature.
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