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BLOOD MUSIC by Greg Bear


by Greg Bear

Pub Date: April 30th, 1985
ISBN: 0000155101
Publisher: Arbor House

Expanding one of his splendid short stories (a standout in The Year's Best Science Fiction, 1984), Bear has fashioned a woefully ragged and aimless novel—despite some arresting ideas and images. Genius researcher Vergil Ulam, developing organic microcomputers, hits upon the notion of putting the cell's own DNA to work as a computer; his technique is so successful that computing bacteria become as intelligent as mice. But then Vergil's self-serving boss orders his research shut down—so, to save the experiment, Vergil injects himself with his own computerized blood cells. The cells spread; soon his body's other cells, working in concert, become more intelligent than Vergil himself—beginning to redirect his metabolism to their own ends. And meanwhile Vergil unwittingly infects others with the computing cells, causing them to undergo weird physical transformations and eventually dissolve. . . as they become linked in a vividly described super-organism encompassing plants, animals, even buildings. Unfortunately, however, while some of the original story's concepts remain striking, Bear's additions—uninvolving subplots, vague and unsatisfying explanations—only manage to dilute and obscure. Very disappointing work from a strong talent.