Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blood Music -- Greg Bear

As expected I did very much enjoy this. I love the idea of transformations like the ones in this (telegraphed right from the start) and wasn't disappointed with them. The book went from a bit of genetic manipulation to quantum mechanics and rewriting the laws of physics, with an interesting spin on how those laws are formed. It also dealt with immortality, and I'm a sucker for that. One teensy little problem, however. This book suffers from what I'll call 'the slide rule effect'. Some of the older readers here will know exactly what I'm talking about: those old SF books with grand-scale sensawunda in which the astrogator works out the course of the superluminal starship using a slide rule - some anachronism that takes that vital 'suspension of disbelief' a step further away. All the way-out (or not particularly way-out) science in this is fine, but that a large part of the story takes place in the Twin Towers does bugger it up a bit.

10 comments:

Gordon Copestake said...

A great book. Although be fair regarding the "slide rule" issue - It was written in 1985!

Larry said...

(I'll try again!)
Hmm, not quite sure you mean with the slide rule comment Neal and the Tiwn Towers, well, what can you do? BTW anyone read the short story that the novel was based on ? I know it was in a magazine in the 80s and maybe an anthology but which one I couldn't say.

Neal Asher said...

Um, I didn't realise that Gordon. Since it was up for the Salamander at the same time as The Skinner I thought it might have been written at about the same time.

Anyway (and Larry) that's not a criticism really, it's just to illustrate the fine line SF walks.

Before Blood Music was a novel, it was a story published in the June 1983 issue of Asimov's. It won the Best Novelette Nebula Award (1983) and Hugo Award (1984).

Nikola said...

The story sounds interesting and the fact that so many of you like it, the awards, the fact that it in the SF Masterworks series, all that makes me want to read it. Damn, add ANOTHER book to the must buy list!

Already got the nr 1 and nr 2 from that series. Nr 1 being The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, which I liked, nr 2 is I Am Legend by Richard Matheson which I thought was ok but to be honest I kind of liked the movie-ending more than the book-ending. Although there were several things in the book that I liked more than what was in the movie as well. But I guess that THAT can be said about just about any book-to-movie "thing", some things you like better, some things you dislike or like less.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

speaking of oldies. anyone have their brain blown out by Brunner's The Sheep Look Up?

just say yes.

Distress, by Egan, has another immortality slant in that read. high recommendations.

liveforfilms said...

I love that book, but been years since I've read it. Must dig it out again.

Larry said...

@vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins
I've yet to read that Brunner book, in fact the only book of his I've read is the rather dull Squares of the City which really put me off the author!

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

Brunner can be rough. Sheep Look Up is rough for mothers to be. depressing if youre 'one of them'.

Neal Asher said...

Nikola, I always think it is a good and rare thing when a film improves on a book. I remember thoroughly enjoying the book 'I Am Legend' which has made be reluctant to see the film.

Vaude, I tried rereading The Sheep Look Up and didn't enjoy it at all.

Which book are you referring to, Liveforfilm?

Yup, Larry, rather my recent reaction to The Sheep Look Up.

Alex Cull said...

Blood Music was the first Greg Bear novel I ever read, and remains one of my favourites. Was this the first ever "grey goo" story? Just wondering..

My method of getting around the slide rule effect, by the way, is to pretend the whole story takes place in a parallel universe - usually works.