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Dark Animus

Greg Bear

Darwin's Children

Stella Nova is one of a new kind of human. The SHEVA virus has altered the progress of pregnancy, resulting in children who are significantly different from what has been seen before. But many of the old-style humans aren't happy with this. Darwin's Children by Greg Bear tells of the ensuing struggles of the new children and their families in a hostile environment.

Bear raises some intruiging questions of how viruses affect us - whether they just the agents of disease they are made out to be, or whether they play a much more integral part in our lives. He also creates a fascinating description of the social structures formed by the new kind of people. The thing is though, this is mixed in with a different kind of story - one of paranoia and dubious political decisions, reflecting the ultra security-conscious nature of post 9/11 America. I felt that this part of the story didn't really gel with the rest of it. For instance, we hear how the virus had had its effect in the rest of the world without the resulting paranoia, but this seemed to have no influence within the USA. In today's global society I find this most unlikely. I have to say though that I'm not very keen anyway on the genre of tense political thrillers, and so I'm probably biased in my view of how this aspect fits in with the rest of the story. I'd recommend that you read some of the other reviews to find out their opinions on this matter. I'd note also that this is really a sequel to Darwin's Radio and so maybe I should have read that first. info
Mass Market Paperback 512 pages  
ISBN: 0345448367
Salesrank: 1231169
Published: 2004 Del Rey
Amazon price $7.99
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Paperback 480 pages  
ISBN: 0007132387
Salesrank: 767576
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2011 HarperCollins
Amazon price £10.99
Marketplace:New from £3.99:Used from £0.01
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Mass Market Paperback 512 pages  
ISBN: 0345448367
Salesrank: 699529
Weight:0.55 lbs
Published: 2004 Del Rey
Amazon price CDN$ 8.88
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 8.70:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
Greg Bear’s Nebula Award–winning novel, Darwin’s Radio, painted a chilling portrait of humankind on the threshold of a radical leap in evolution—one that would alter our species forever. Now Bear continues his provocative tale of the human race confronted by an uncertain future, where “survival of the fittest” takes on astonishing and controversial new dimensions.

Eleven years have passed since SHEVA, an ancient retrovirus, was discovered in human DNA—a retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence . . . and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths, possessed of remarkable, advanced traits that mark a major turning point in human development, are also ticking time bombs harboring hosts of viruses that could exterminate the “old” human race.

Fear and hatred of the virus children have made them a persecuted underclass, quarantined by the government in special “schools,” targeted by federally sanctioned bounty hunters, and demonized by hysterical segments of the population. But pockets of resistance have sprung up among those opposed to treating the children like dangerous diseases—and who fear the worst if the government’s draconian measures are carried to their extreme.

Scientists Kaye Lang and Mitch Rafelson are part of this small but determined minority. Once at the forefront of the discovery and study of the SHEVA outbreak, they now live as virtual exiles in the Virginia suburbs with their daughter, Stella—a bright, inquisitive virus child who is quickly maturing, straining to break free of the protective world her parents have built around her, and eager to seek out others of her kind.

But for all their precautions, Kaye, Mitch, and Stella have not slipped below the government’s radar. The agencies fanatically devoted to segregating and controlling the new-breed children monitor their every move—watching and waiting for the opportunity to strike the next blow in their escalating war to preserve “humankind” at any cost.