Greg Bear?

Bikewer

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What, no Greg Bear in the "authors" section? For shame...

Seriously, Bear is on my "read sight-unseen" list. A "big idea" writer without a doubt; Forge of God and Anvil of Stars were stunning.
 

j d worthington

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Well, as you'll find out once you've been here a while, there are numerous writers who are perfectly deserving of having their own space there... they just haven't generated enough posts to make it viable at this point. Should that change, the issue can be reopened then. So... start some conversations about Bear! That's one way to get the job done!;)
 

Kettricken

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I've read 'Eon', and although it had some really interesting ideas, the book didn't 'grab' me, maybe a bit too much hard sf.

Has anyone read 'Songs of Earth and Power'? It's still on my bookshelf waiting to be read...
 

pyan

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Same here, read Eon, and Moving Mars, but he's never really made me think "oh, I must get his new book"
 

Culhwch

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I've seen his books on the shelves, but I'm a reluctant SF reader at best. Am I correct in thinking he is an Australian author?

EDIT: It would appear not. Not sure who I'm thinking of then...

SECOND EDIT: Must be Greg Egan, I think.
 

Bikewer

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Bear is a "Big Idea" guy, and he's fond of exploring rather deep questions in a very even-handed manner.
In Forge of God and Anvil of Stars, he starts out with a bang; the Earth is destroyed. In Anvil of Stars, the children of the survivors seek revenge.

Interplanetary war on a huge scale, with powers competing by proxy, and using sentient, self-replicating machines to do much of the dirty work.
Explores the nature of vengeance and it's morality, the ethics of pre-emptive war, and much else.

In Queen of Angels, he uses the setting of a near-future police detective to explore the psychology of a mass-murderer, and the problems attendent to a self-aware computer. Excellent stuff.

His latest works have been more down-to-Earth, exploring high-tech terrorism and biological warfare.
 

j d worthington

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This may help:

Greg Bear - Summary Bibliography

Now, I've not read a lot of Bear in some years, though I did read Darwin's Radio as the most recent read. On that one, I have to say I have mixed feelings. A lot of the book was very, very good, but I felt that it had a tendency to bog down in spots... it could have used some flensing of fat here and there to make it a tighter book without losing not only any of the story or characterization, but the ideas and flavor of the book. This, however, is a very common thing with most fiction going nowawadays; as I've said elsewhere about fantasy, SF&F (and even mysteries, to some degree) seem to be suffering the sort of bloatedness that the later Gothic novels of the late 18th and early 19th centuries did, along with some of the other problems those suffered from. Whether this is a trend that will self-correct before it damages the genres seriously, I don't know, but I have my doubts.

However ... taking that into account, I'd say that Bear is a very good writer for fascinating concepts, and often for well-realized characters, but he does sometimes have some trouble with that "hook" so many readers desire. Nonetheless, unless you've an objection to hard sf itself, he's certainly one of the major voices in the field, and has done many very worthwhile books. I'd recommend at least browsing through different periods in his work to find what appeals.
 

Werthead

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Greg Bear, Gregory Benford and David Brin were the 'Killer Bs' of American SF in the 1980s and early 1990s and produced some excellent books between them, most notably Brin's Uplift Saga, Bear's Blood Music and Benford's Timescape. However, both Bear and Benford deviated into writing somewhat tedious scientific potboilers and near-future thrillers. Bear hasn't really done anything of note since arguably Moving Mars (itself not his best book) and Benford for even longer (despite the promise of the last four Galactic Centre novels). Brin still does good work but it's been a long time since his last novel now.

Perhaps Bear's mistake was that he was at his best when rewriting classic SF novels (Eon is a remake of Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama and Blood Music is very similar to Clarke's Childhood's End; he also did a Foundation book which was pretty good) and, when operating without a safety net, becomes a pretty ordinary author. The Forge of God is okay, Moving Mars is okay (overshadows by Kim Stanley Robinson's superior Mars Trilogy which emerged at the same time), Songs of Earth and Power is okay, Queen of Angels is okay, etc.

Interestingly, since the demise of the Killer Bs, American SF has been in the doldrums and British SF has risen much more dramatically to the fore (Hamilton, Reynolds, Morgan, Robson, Baxter, Banks etc).
 

Razorback

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Not being in the authors section might not be such a bad thing. My impression is that many of the SF author sections (I don’t follow the fiction ones) only see occasional activity. Threads started in the General Book Discussion section may draw more responses that those in the specific author sections.

Bear is not a “sight-unseen” writer for me. I find some of his stuff difficult to read or stay interested in. I liked Forge of God a lot, but didn’t care much for Anvil of Stars. For me, Queen of Angels was a somewhat difficult read, but well worth the effort. Heads was a nice little story, but nothing special. I liked Moving Mars when I read it a few years ago, but it didn’t leave much of a lasting impression. I need to see some favorable recommendations or an award of some sort to pick up one of his books. That said, I have several more in my to-be-read pile.


 

Ragnar

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I wouldn't say he was one of my favourite authors but I like what I've read

Eon was pretty good but I only got as far as the first sequel.
Blood Music I thought was excellent.
Darwin's Radio & Darwin's Children were really enjoyable - nothing groundbreaking or startlingly original but well written & had some nice ideas.
 

tantric

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forget his sci-fi (yes, i've read all of it), "songs of earth and power" is a unique and powerful work - original and moving. i usually hate the "real world guy in fantasy world" schtick, but this is completely different. it's more "new weird" than classic fantasy, though.
 

phelann

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I liked alot of his more recent books (darwins children, dead lines, etc) but I don't think I will be picking up anything else by him for quite awhile after the travesty that was Quantico.
 

Bikewer

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I rather liked Quantico, but it was much more a techno-thriller than science-fiction. Of course, he pretty much admitted that in his notes. I'm in law enforcement, and found it scarily realistic.
 

Summ3rDaze

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oooo... "Songs of Earth and Power" is one of my all-time faves.
If it's sitting on your shelf and you haven't read it yet give it a try.
 
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