Summary and book reviews of Darwin's Children by Greg Bear

Darwin's Children

by Greg Bear

Darwin's Children
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2003, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 512 pages

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Book Summary

The chilling portrait of humankind on the threshold of a radical leap in evolution continues in this provocative tale where "survival of the fittest" takes on astonishing and controversial new dimensions.

Greg Bear’s Nebula Award–winning novel, Darwin’s Radio, painted a chilling portrait of humankind on the threshold of a radical leap in evolution—one 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.

Darwin's Children

Eleven years have passed since SHEVA, an ancient retrovirus, was discovered in human DNA—a 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 diseases—and who fear the worst if the government’s 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, Stella—a 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 government’s radar. The agencies fanatically devoted to segregating and controlling the new-breed children monitor their every move—watching and waiting for the opportunity to strike the next blow in their escalating war to preserve "humankind" at any cost.

Chapter One

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

The Washington Post - Martin Morse Wooster

Readers who prefer their fiction dark and strong might like Greg Bear's Darwin's Children. Bear is best known for high-concept hard sf novels such as The Forge of God. But in this sequel to Darwin's Radio, he has combined sf and the medical thriller.

Booklist - Regina Schroeder

Genetics and evolution are fascinating subjects for speculation, especially in Bear's capable hands....Bear handles the interaction between science and plot with practiced aplomb.

Publishers Weekly

In this masterful sequel .... Bear takes us into a near future ....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.

Kirkus Reviews

Scary and technically plausible though demanding work, even if the good guys’ resurgence depends more on coincidence than logic.

Library Journal

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.

Reader Reviews

Chelle

THIS BOOK WAS JUST AS GOOD AS HIS FIRST ONE I READ DARWINS RADIO.I REALLY LIKE HIS WRITING STLYE HE MAKES YOU FEEL THE BOOK AND MISS IT WHEN YOU FINISH READING IT.

Cato

This author continues to be unrealistic in his science and his fiction. Nothing rings true.

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