Darwin's Children by Greg Bear

Vertigo

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In Darwin’s Children Greg Bear continues and finishes the story started in Darwin’s Radio, following the SHEVA children as they progress towards puberty. Bear excels in hard science fiction and whilst the previous book was particularly ‘hard’ – at times I felt like it was a genetics text book not a novel – this one is a slightly less intense on that front which I at least found something of a relief. The book still explores some fascinating speculative, but plausible, science but it does so a little more lightly than before (though only a little!).

The story also moves a rather faster than the previous book (possibly because of that reduction in the science overload), but I sadly still found the main characters’ motivations and decisions a little hard to accept. I also found Bear’s need to introduce a touch of God into the story more than a little strange whilst being totally unnecessary to the story. Maybe Bear himself thought it pushed credibility a little too far as well since he felt the need to put in a short afterword ‘justifying’ it. Whilst this might just possibly justify the concept, it in no way justified its inclusion in the story and was for me a jarring red herring.

Strangely enough Bear again uses many words that appear to be exclusive to American English; at least that’s how my dictionary lists them. As I mentioned in my previous review, this is not something I’ve had a major problem with before, either in books or films, but these two books have both irritated me with a significant number of such words. Two examples from this book are ‘squinching’ and ‘catercorner’ neither of which I have ever come across before. From a British reader’s perspective this can be rather annoying.

That aside this book lived up to the promises of the previous one and despite once again having a rather weak ending it is a very good and interesting read. In my opinion it is slightly better than the previous book, largely due to its slightly diluted doses of science.

4/5 stars.
 
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