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Wed, 29 Jun 2005
I’ve been meaning to blog about my reading, but have not really got around to it until now. But I’ve just waded through the 400,000-odd words of Greg Bear’s Darwin’s Radio and Darwin’s Children, and it seemed like a place to start.
As I had expected, the books have a strong scientific underpinning with interesting speculative elements and the overall story is fascinating, although he gets bogged down in detail and loses the thread of some of his characters. I was surprised by the general low quality of the writing—he doesn’t really get narrative or characterisation. And I was dismayed by the woeful editing—sentences appearing twice, words doubled or left out, and a variety of other sins.
And then there was the depressing nature of the world, especially the USA, as he portrayed it. I suspect that the authoritarian outcomes he predicts are in fact quite likely—but it depresses me to read about it.
My final beef is with the descent into a credulous belief in god late in the second book. The story didn’t need this, and the general insistence on this as a “scientific” SF book (where most of the main characters are scientists) just doesn’t fit with an unexplained and unneeded god. I really don’t know what went wrong there, but it has certainly dampened any interest I might have had in his future books.