Greg Bear - Thoughts?

biodroid

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Hello Biodroid, i was wondering how you were getting on with this?
So far it's pretty good, sort of mysterious, and at the same time trying to find out what is up with all the conspiracy stuff. It's easy going so far.

SPOILER AHEAD!!
At the point where the President of the US of A is about to be included in the interviews with the ET.
SPOILER ENDS.
 

Pedro Del Mar

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Almost, halfway through Forge of God. Anvil of Stars waiting on the shelf. Enjoying it so far although I'm surprised the investigation is still happening, seems quite slow so far?............
 

Pedro Del Mar

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Biodroid - it's really got me hooked now! About three quarters way through and have to say it's moving at a high pace. I've now recommended it to a friend as well
 

Rodders

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This book's all about the ending. Quite superb i thought.
 

biodroid

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Rodders - I just hope it's not all going to happen in the last 5 pages because there is a lot of build up with slow pace and I would feel robbed. I must admit I want to see what happens and can't wait. Something interesting has already happened at the Rock in Aus in the book.
 

Jojo999

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I've read 4 Greg Bear books in the last couple of months. It's hard to write a review w/o spoilers!
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Forge of God and sequel Anvil of Stars

FoG was quite slow and occurred almost entirely on Earth. There were much excess characters and meandering, long drawn out descriptions of events, people and politics that served no real purpose, since nearly all of the many characters introduced in the book are terminal and almost none were carried over to sequel.

Anvil occurs 300+ years later. All the action occurs on a spaceship populated with children of Earth descendents. Again, the book is concentrated with a LOT of needless detail and is slow in many parts. The society built by the kids has myriad problems, teenage angst and much personality conflict.

There was a lot that didn't quite fit together in these books from the very beginning. Overall, these books left me feeling bleak and distressed. I would find it hard to recommend them.
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Eon and the sequel Eternity

Given my experience with the prior two Greg Bear books, I was hesitant to pick up Eon but I gave it a go.

Truth be told, I found Eon a lot better than the FoG & AoS books. The writing is still slow and plodding (call it methodical?) and you will have to read the sequel Eternity to really understand Eon.

Bear throws the kitchen sink of soaring SF ideas into these books what with a generation asteroid space ship, time travel, nuclear armageddon, personality transfer, body cloning, rejuvenation, worm holes, parallel universes, aliens, mystical god-like beings and the end of time all wrapped up in a couple of books!

I could recommend these two books if you are not looking for a fast paced read.
 

zaltys13

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I've read a far bit of his stuff.

I thought The Forge of of god was a fantastic novel, Anvil of Stars, not so good - didn't think much of the teenage characters populating it. Overall though this is a great apocolyptic series, very large scale, very large explosions:D

Eon and it's sequels where good, but seem a little dated now. I think that you would have serious trouble with them if you hadn't lived through the Cold War yourself.

Blood Music was great, the ending is very ambiguous though, and may not satisfy those that like tidiness.

Deadlines I found to be your bog standard airport thriller, just very unmemorable, a shame realy, as the idea of a new telecommunications device that recieves the dead is an interesting one.

Queen of Angels I thought was an outstanding novel, one of his best, the three seperate storylines where all interesting and it came together beautifully at the end.

Darwins Radio and Darwins Children where both interesting books, similer in style to Dead Lines in that they are near future thrillers, these though where much more succesful. The ending to the dualogue though could have done with a bit more of Blood Music's ambiguity - they did seem a bit "safe".

Finally, I am reading Hull Zero Three at the moment and have to admit I am finding it tough going. To be fair, this may be because it is the first full length novel I have read on my Kindle and I'm just not used to it.

Greg Bear's writing can veer between straight forward and simple to downright oblique and confusing, but still I would regard him as one of the giants of hard SF from the last 30 years. At least you cant call him predictable.
 

Vince W

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I've read Hull Zero Three and I must say it was a let down for me. I was hoping for a gripping page turner, but it plodded along and never got my attention fully.
 

J-Sun

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The last two books I've read (finished a couple days ago) were Forge of God and Anvil of Stars. Anvil is more my kind of thing, being a high-tech space opera sort of thing, whereas Forge was a near-future (now past) alien invasion/disaster novel, which isn't really my kind of thing. So it's sort of funny that I found Forge to be the more successful novel, but I liked them both quite a bit. Far more than I remember liking Eon, though perhaps not as much as Blood Music and Queen of Angels. Possibly above Moving Mars. And they even encouraged me to pick up Eon again to see if I wasn't wrong the first time.

Anyway - they're two completely different novels but for their common history and both being interesting meditations on responsibility and vengeance. And I like how they aren't naive about waving to the friendly enlightened aliens and saying, "We're over here!"

I didn't really have any special problem with Forge of God. It was pretty solid. Yeah, if you're looking for a barn-burning page-turner of action-adventure it probably won't suit but it does have exciting aspects and is always interesting and felt reasonably paced and proportioned to me (even though it's a very long book). The main problems with Anvil of Stars were that, in trying to create a sort of new, artificial society, he adopts some really dumb terminology and, for some reason, he tries to describe sex a lot, which he doesn't usually do and isn't very good at. More importantly, the protagonist/viewpoint character is actually pretty interesting and well done but maybe not ideal as a protagonist. And the ending, to me, seems a little broken - there's a hiccup in it where it either has a premature finale or an excessive denouement or something to where some of the stuff in the last several pages seems awfully petty in the scale of things. And it really serves to underscore why chapters are a Good Idea. This is 471 pages divided into 3 roughly equal parts with some blank lines separating sections of the three parts. Made it feel kind of low-thrust and rambling (like this post). But the core storyline was good, some characters were interesting, there was great tech, and (possible spoilers in the most picky generic sense)
some really excellent aliens
and I still liked it a lot.
 

Lycanthrope

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Have to agree that Forge and Anvil are a bit patchy, but nevertheless I enjoyed them, especially Anvil. As well as the writing I enjoy the imagination of authors, originality and Bear demonstrated a lot here IMO.

A fabulous book I do, have is the Collected Stories of..., which I found utterly compelling and very diverse. It contains the short of Blood Music and the first story I ever read of his (in Omni Magazine, way back...), called Petra
 

AE35Unit

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Ah, silly me. Anvil is the sequel to Forge. Both of which are on my shelf. Forge gets reviewed as good but depressing, yet a "worthwhile part of the canon of apocalyptic sf". (LibraryThing review)
 

J-Sun

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Hull Zero Three has caught my attention. I'll probably give that a try. Otherwise, I'd kind of considered Bear a past-tense author and, if I do get HZT and don't like it, that'd probably finally do it.
To quote myself, I did and I don't and it does. (Did read it, don't like it, does do it.)

I've read Hull Zero Three and I must say it was a let down for me. I was hoping for a gripping page turner, but it plodded along and never got my attention fully.
Yeah, the publishers seem to have sold it that way (as a gripping page turner) and that does it a great disservice. I'd actually forgotten that and I think the reviews I'd read (which gave more of an impression of "creepy mystery") stuck in my head more. So I wasn't disappointed "in kind" but I sure was disappointed. I slogged and slogged through the first 150 pages and, despite them steadily, sloooowly, solidifying and becoming more readable, I was about ready to quit right before I hit halfway (figuring if I crossed it, I'd have to finish) but I can hardly quit anything and (a) this was Bear and (b) it was pretty short (307 mostly whitespace pages) - so I went online, read a few more reviews to see if they could give me any hope and they all talked about this great payoff or whatever, so I kept going and - yeah, the second half is better than the first but it's still not good and there's no great payoff - if there's supposed to be a "mystery" it's pretty obvious, at least in the broad outlines and the details don't seem to matter much. One review mentions that it's such a wonderful thing that he takes this standard story and writes it so oddly to make it new and there are some cases where that's done and it is a good thing. But it's just as easily a criticism: Bear tries to hide the ordinariness of his concept in a bunch of verbal/conceptual gymnastics that aren't great writing and fail to hide the lack of true creativity. But the irony is that, while there's not a whole lot new here, it's the kind of book I could have enjoyed anyway if it had been told with hard clean lines in a straightforward way which focused directly on the central "moral issue" (and actually wrestled with it instead of treating it as cut and dried) without all the subjective impressionism, plodding plot, and floating body parts and organic fixations.[1]

I dunno - I kinda hated this - not just "didn't care for" but disliked with some intensity. I should have stopped in the middle.

But Bear's run from about 1983 ("Blood Music" and "Hardfought")-1993 (Moving Mars) will - and should - keep him among the immortals, regardless.

[1] Spoiler afterthought:
Actually, there is such a thing and I did like it, now that I think about it. It's a different specific issue but it's kind of like the Forge of God/Anvil of Stars duo I recently read: both basically deal with interspecies conflict (whether straightforward or hallucinatorily implied) and xenocide (whether successful or attempted) and the duo does what I just said above while HZT is the kind of crap screwing up of what he'd already succeeded at
.
 
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