Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The discovery of a sexually transmitted retrovirus heralds a breakthrough in the understanding of the human genotype while spelling potential disaster for the human raceÄand the beginning of a new phase in evolution. As scientists and researchers wage a desperate battle to unlock the secrets of the virus known as SHEVA, a few far-sighted individuals attempt to cope with the possibility that something entirely new might replace humankind in the evolutionary pattern. Bear (Blood Music) remains in the forefront of speculative sf, displaying a genius for portraying the excitement of hard science through the struggles of his all-too-human characters. Filled with the author's lucid intelligence, this compelling novel should appeal to fans of science mystery as well as to hard-core sf readers. A priority purchase. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Is evolution a gradual process, as Darwin believed, or can change occur suddenly, in an incredibly brief time span, as has been suggested by Stephen J. Gould and others? Bear (Dinosaur Summer and Foundation and Chaos) takes on one of the hottest topics in science today in this riveting, near-future thriller. Discredited anthropologist Mitch Rafelson has made an astonishing discovery in a recently uncovered ice cave in the AlpsÄthe mummified remains of a Neanderthal couple and their newborn, strangely abnormal child. Kaye Lang, a molecular biologist specializing in retroviruses, has unearthed chilling evidence that so-called junk DNA may have a previously unguessed-at purpose in the scheme of life. Christopher Dicken, a virus hunter at the National Center for Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, is hot in pursuit of a mysterious illness, dubbed Herod's flu, which seems to strike only expectant mothers and their fetuses. Gradually, as the three scientists pool their results, it becomes clear that Homo sapiens is about to face its greatest crisis, a challenge that has slept within our genes since before the dawn of humankind. Bear is one of the modern masters of hard SF, and this story marks a return to the kind of cutting-edge speculation that made his Blood Music one of the genre's all-time classics. Centered on well-developed, highly believable figures who are working scientists and full-fledged human beings, this fine novel is sure to please anyone who appreciates literate, state-of-the-art SF. (Sept.) FYI: Bear has won two Hugos and four Nebulas. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Bear posits that humanity's next evolutionary step could be climbed by means of a disease. In a fascinating story that will please his fans and increase their number, Bear creates an evolutionary agent called scattered human endogenous retrovirus activation, or SHERVA. Wanting a more dramatic name, the Centers for Disease Control takes the R out to make it SHEVA, close to the name of the Hindu god of destruction. As it happens, the new name is uncomfortably apt. The book opens with anthropologist Mitch Rafelson at work on a frozen family of three found in an Alpine cave, all of whom show signs of SHEVA. Meanwhile, microbiologist Kaye Lamb, author of several solid scientific papers on human viruses and maker of some startling predictions, is called to the Republic of Georgia to examine the bodies of some slain men and pregnant women that manifest SHEVA. How did the three bodies get in the Alpine cave? Why were the men and, especially, the pregnant women in Georgia murdered? The slowly disclosed answers to those questions bring Mitch, Kaye, and longtime CDC global virus hunter Christopher Dicken together. SHEVA seems to be carried by a new disease that the CDC has named Herod's flu, for which there is no vaccine. The victims of Herod's flu do not have typical flu symptoms, however, for Herod's is a "hideously inventive disease" that leads to evolutionary changes. Lots of food for thought and nightmares here. --William Beatty


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The discovery of a sexually transmitted retrovirus heralds a breakthrough in the understanding of the human genotype while spelling potential disaster for the human raceÄand the beginning of a new phase in evolution. As scientists and researchers wage a desperate battle to unlock the secrets of the virus known as SHEVA, a few far-sighted individuals attempt to cope with the possibility that something entirely new might replace humankind in the evolutionary pattern. Bear (Blood Music) remains in the forefront of speculative sf, displaying a genius for portraying the excitement of hard science through the struggles of his all-too-human characters. Filled with the author's lucid intelligence, this compelling novel should appeal to fans of science mystery as well as to hard-core sf readers. A priority purchase. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Is evolution a gradual process, as Darwin believed, or can change occur suddenly, in an incredibly brief time span, as has been suggested by Stephen J. Gould and others? Bear (Dinosaur Summer and Foundation and Chaos) takes on one of the hottest topics in science today in this riveting, near-future thriller. Discredited anthropologist Mitch Rafelson has made an astonishing discovery in a recently uncovered ice cave in the AlpsÄthe mummified remains of a Neanderthal couple and their newborn, strangely abnormal child. Kaye Lang, a molecular biologist specializing in retroviruses, has unearthed chilling evidence that so-called junk DNA may have a previously unguessed-at purpose in the scheme of life. Christopher Dicken, a virus hunter at the National Center for Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, is hot in pursuit of a mysterious illness, dubbed Herod's flu, which seems to strike only expectant mothers and their fetuses. Gradually, as the three scientists pool their results, it becomes clear that Homo sapiens is about to face its greatest crisis, a challenge that has slept within our genes since before the dawn of humankind. Bear is one of the modern masters of hard SF, and this story marks a return to the kind of cutting-edge speculation that made his Blood Music one of the genre's all-time classics. Centered on well-developed, highly believable figures who are working scientists and full-fledged human beings, this fine novel is sure to please anyone who appreciates literate, state-of-the-art SF. (Sept.) FYI: Bear has won two Hugos and four Nebulas. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Bear posits that humanity's next evolutionary step could be climbed by means of a disease. In a fascinating story that will please his fans and increase their number, Bear creates an evolutionary agent called scattered human endogenous retrovirus activation, or SHERVA. Wanting a more dramatic name, the Centers for Disease Control takes the R out to make it SHEVA, close to the name of the Hindu god of destruction. As it happens, the new name is uncomfortably apt. The book opens with anthropologist Mitch Rafelson at work on a frozen family of three found in an Alpine cave, all of whom show signs of SHEVA. Meanwhile, microbiologist Kaye Lamb, author of several solid scientific papers on human viruses and maker of some startling predictions, is called to the Republic of Georgia to examine the bodies of some slain men and pregnant women that manifest SHEVA. How did the three bodies get in the Alpine cave? Why were the men and, especially, the pregnant women in Georgia murdered? The slowly disclosed answers to those questions bring Mitch, Kaye, and longtime CDC global virus hunter Christopher Dicken together. SHEVA seems to be carried by a new disease that the CDC has named Herod's flu, for which there is no vaccine. The victims of Herod's flu do not have typical flu symptoms, however, for Herod's is a "hideously inventive disease" that leads to evolutionary changes. Lots of food for thought and nightmares here. --William Beatty