Review of 'Blood Music'

Blood Music by Greg Bear

Virgil Ulam is a genetic researcher who is not exactly a “by the book” type of guy. When he is fired from his job, rather than let his experimental “intelligent cellular matter” - “noocytes” - be destroyed he injects himself as he leaves the lab. Soon the artificial organisms organize themselves and begin to transform his body into a new, advanced form. It is a one-way journey. Along the way he infects others and soon the entire US is converted with only a few individuals wondering at the physical changes occurring around them - Cities rebuilt into new and fantastic structures.

Michael Barnard is infected by Virgil and escapes the US in a plane to a genetic research lab in Europe where he confines himself for inspection by other researchers where he carries on conversations with the “noocytes” infecting him…but can the lab keep out the, literally, millions of people surrounding the lab screaming for his destruction…

A bizarre, but interesting, exploration of nano-technology (though perhaps before the term was in common use) and the danger of this type of technology though here it is seem as both negative and positive…it is the idea of transformation that is explored. Well written with a lot of it, as with most I suspect well over my head. Interesting if a bit confusing at times (the conversations with the “noocytes” are odd to say the least). Well written and interesting…Bear knows his stuff (as he should, being a scientist himself). I can't say I really got attached to any of the characters (other than the girl trying to get to the top of the world trade center in New York where she is convinced she will find answers about what is going on in her dramatically changed world) but the ideas are amazing.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 1985

Other reviewed books by Greg Bear: