Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear

Darwin's RadioQuick Review: Good biological near-term science fiction book.  The next phase of evolution is coming, quickly.

Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook

Trying to save money, sometimes actually costs us more than we intended.  I found the audiobook of Darwin’s Radio on Overdrive library system and checked it out for free.  I obviously was not paying enough attention because it was an abridged version.  I hate abridged versions.  I want to read the whole story, not the highlights.  That being said, several of the comments on the unabridged books said it was too long, and many of the unabridged comments complained about the narrator.  The abridged version was narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, one of my absolute favorite narrators, so I am not completely disappointed.

The set up for the book is that there is a ‘virus’ that is identified that seems to only affect pregnant women, but only be carried by males.  What is odder is that only monogamous couples seem to ‘catch’ the virus.  The sickness causes miscarriage, followed by an immediate second pregnancy (without male involvement).  Over the first half of the book you discover that this is likely a evolutionary mutation to a new species of humans.  The ‘virus’ is identified in ancient neanderthals and may be responsible for evolution to modern humans.

As a story, it is mediocre.  The characters are a bit two dimensional and there are several jumps (including a predictable government response) that just do not really have internal coherence.  But the ideas of the book are interesting and overall I enjoyed the book.  I enjoyed it as a science fiction idea book.  I thought it ok as a story and as a romance it sucked.

So the question, so I go back and read the unabridged version hoping that the additional detail makes it a better story?  Do I go on to the next book?  Reviews of the next book continue to complain about the narrator. The price of the Audible.com version of the second book is ridiculous and the reviews of the second book are very mixed.  (10 five starts, 20 four stars, 22, three stars, 13 two stars and 13 one star reviews on Amazon.)

It took me years to getting around to reading this one, so maybe it will take me years to get around to reading the second one too.

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