Blood Music Rothdas book review RSS
3.0 Stars

A well done but somewhat uncompelling sci fi story about the creation and outbreak of an intelligent "plague". It had a fair number of similarities to Watt's _Maelstrom_, but I liked this version better since the characters, science, and less negative tone were generally more pleasing.

It's been over a decade since I've read any Greg Bear, and I was curious to see how well he held up. As it turns out, fairly well. He's basically like I remember him; very interesting science, settings, and characters that are arranged into stories that are oddly slow to read. It's not like the stories are really a slog or are offputting, it's more like they just lack the sort of compelling plot hooks/arcs that normally propel a story along.

In the case of Blood Music, the technical details of the story were surprisingly good, especially as it was written in 1985. The story focuses on the creation of biological computers, where the existing cellular infrastructure is repurposed to provide vast amounts of memory and processing power. It makes a lot of sense, since in some respects our biological components are vastly more effective/efficient than our computers. And there's actually been some recent progress on this, with teams using DNA to store *huge* amounts of data. Admittedly, it is data that is difficult and slow to read/write, but for pure information density it is really impressive. So the idea of creating colonies of cells with enormous computing power does make a fair amount of sense. Later in the book Bear goes off into some more woo territory, but that is largely ignorable.

The characters are also fairly well done, maybe a little wooden, but not terrible. I think the main problem is that Bear gets rid of his PoV character about every 30% or so of the book, which kills off any momentum and attachment that has been built up. I ended up reading the latter half of the book somewhat out of order as a collection of short stories.