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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

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.

DARWIN’S CHILDREN

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Spotsylvania County, Virginia Morning lay dark and quiet around the house. Mitch Rafelson stood with coffee cup in hand on the back porch, dopey from just three hours of sleep. Stars still pierced the sky. A few persistent moths and bugs buzzed around the porch light. Raccoons had been at the garbage can in back, but had left, whickering and scuffling, hours ago, discouraged by lengths of chain.

The world felt empty and new.

Mitch put his cup in the kitchen sink and returned to the bedroom. Kaye lay in bed, still asleep. He adjusted his tie in the mirror above the dresser. Ties never looked right on him. He grimaced at the way his suit hung on his wide shoulders, the gap around the collar of his white shirt, the length of sleeve visible beyond the cuff of his coat.

There had been a row the night before. Mitch and Kaye and Stella, their daughter, had sat up until two in the morning in the small bedroom trying to talk it through. Stella was feeling isolated. She wanted, needed to be with young people like her. It was a reasonable position, but they had no choice.

Not the first time, and likely not the last. Kaye always approached these events with studied calm, in contrast to Mitch’s evasion and excuses. Of course they were excuses. He had no answers to Stella’s questions, no real response to her arguments. They both knew she ultimately needed to be with her own kind, to find her own way.

Finally, too much, Stella had stomped off and slammed the door to her room. Kaye had started crying. Mitch had held her in bed and she had gradually slipped into twitching sleep, leaving him staring at the darkened ceiling, tracking the play of lights from a truck grumbling down the country road outside, wondering, as always, if the truck would come up their drive, come for their daughter, come to claim bounty or worse.

He hated the way he looked in what Kaye called his Mr. Smith duds—as in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He lifted one hand and rotated it, studying the palm, the long, strong fingers, wedding ring—though he and Kaye had never gotten a license. It was the hand of a hick.

He hated to drive into the capital, through all the checkpoints, using his congressional appointment pass. Slowly moving past all the army trucks full of soldiers, deployed to stop yet another desperate parent from setting off another suicide bomb. There had been three such blasts since spring.

And now, Riverside, California.

Mitch walked to the left side of the bed. “Good morning, love,” he whispered. He stood for a moment, watching his woman, his wife. His eyes moved along the sleeve of her pajama top, absorbing every wrinkle in the rayon, every silken play of pre-dawn light, down to slim hands, curled fingers, nails bitten to the quick.

He bent to kiss her cheek and pulled the covers over her arm. Her eyes fluttered open. She brushed the back of his head with her fingers. “G’luck,” she said.

“Back by four,” he said.

“Love you.” Kaye pushed into the pillow with a sigh.

Next stop was Stella’s room. He never left the house without making the rounds, filling his eyes and memory with pictures of wife and daughter and house, as if, should they all be taken away, should this be the last time, he could replay the moment. Fat good it would do.

Stella’s room was a neat jumble of preoccupations and busyness in lieu of having friends. She had pinned a farewell photo of their disreputable orange tabby on the wall over her bed. Tiny stuffed animals spilled from her cedar chest, beady eyes mysterious in the shadows. Old paperback books filled a small case made of pine boards that Mitch and Stella had hammered together last winter. Stella enjoyed working with her father, but Mitch had noticed the distance growing between them for a couple of years now.

Stella lay on her back in a bed that had been too short for over a year. At eleven, she was almost as tall as Kaye and beautiful in her slender, round-faced way, skin pale copper and tawny gold in the glow of the night-light, hair dark brown with reddish tints, same texture as Kaye’s and not much longer.

Their family had become a triangle, still strong, but with the three sides stretching each month. Neither Mitch nor Kaye could give Stella what she really needed.

And each other?

He looked up to see the orange line of sunrise through the filmy white curtains of Stella’s window. Last night, cheeks freckling with anger, Stella had demanded to know when they would let her out of the house on her own, without makeup, to be with kids her own age. Her kind of kids. It had been two years since her last “play date.”

Kaye had done wonders with home teaching, but as Stella had pointed out last night, over and over again, with rising emotion, “I am not like you!” For the first time, Stella had formally proclaimed: “I am not human!”

But of course she was. Only fools thought otherwise. Fools, and monsters, and their daughter.

Mitch kissed Stella on the forehead. Her skin was warm. She did not wake up. Stella as she slept smelled like her dreams, and now she smelled the way tears taste, tang of salt and sadness.

“Got to go,” he murmured. Stella’s cheeks produced waves of golden freckles. Mitch smiled.

Even asleep, his daughter could say good-bye.

2

Center for Ancient Viral Studies, United States Army Research Medical Institute of Infectious Diseases: USARMIID

fort detrick, maryland

“People died, Christopher,” Marian Freedman said. “Isn’t that enough to make us cautious, even a little crazy?”

Christopher Dicken walked beside her, tilting on his game leg, staring down the concrete corridor to the steel door at the end. His National Cancer Institute ID badge still poked from his jacket pocket. He clutched a large bouquet of roses and lilies. The two had been engaged in debate from the front desk through four security checkpoints.

“Nobody’s diagnosed a case of Shiver for a decade,” he said. “And nobody ever got sick from the children. Isolating them is politics, not biology.”

Marian took his day pass and ran it through the scanner. The steel door opened to a horizontal spread of sunglass-green access tubes, suspended like a hamster maze over a two-acre basin of raw gray concrete. She held out her hand, letting him go first. “You know about Shiver firsthand.”

“It went away in a couple of weeks,” Dicken said.

“It lasted five weeks, and it damned near killed you. Don’t bullshit me with your virus hunter bravado.”

Dicken stepped slowly onto the catwalk, having difficulty judging depth with just one eye, and that covered by a thick lens. “The man beat his wife, Marian. She was sick with a tough pregnancy. Stress and pain.”

“Right,” Marian said. “Well, that certainly wasn’t true with Mrs. Rhine, was it?”

“Different problem,” Dicken admitted.

Freedman smiled with little humor. She sometimes revealed biting wit, but did not seem to understand the concept of humor. Duty, hard work, discovery, and dignity filled the tight circle of her life. Marian Freedman was a devout feminist and had never married, and she was one of the best and most dedicated scientists Dicken had ever met.

Together, they marched north on the aluminum catwalk. She adjusted her pace to match his. Tall steel cylinders waited at the ends of the access tubes, shaft housings for elevators to the chambers beneath the seamless concrete slab. The cylinders wore big square “hats,” high-temperature gas-fired ovens that would sterilize any air escaping from the facilities below.

“Welcome to the house that Augustine built. How is Mark, anyway?”

“Not happy, last time I saw him,” Dicken said.

“Why am I not surprised? Of course, I should be charitable. Mark moved me up from studying chimps to studying Mrs. Rhine.”

Twelve years before, Freedman had headed a primate lab in Baltimore, during the early days when the Centers for Disease Control had launched the task force investigating Herod’s plague. Mark Augustine, then director of the CDC and Dicken’s boss, had hoped to secure extra funding from Congress during a fiscal dry spell. Herod’s, thought to have caused thousands of hideously malformed miscarriages, had seemed like a terrific goad.

Herod’s had quickly been traced to the transfer of one of thousands of Human Endogenous Retroviruses—HERV—carried by all people within their DNA. The ancient virus, newly liberated, mutated and infectious, had been promptly renamed SHEVA, for Scattered Human Endogenous Viral Activation.

In those days, viruses had been assumed to be nothing more than selfish agents of disease.

“She’s been looking forward to seeing you,” Freedman said. “How long since your last visit?”

“Six months,” Dicken said.

“My favorite pilgrim, paying his respects to our viral Lourdes,” Freedman said. “Well, she’s a wonder, all right. And something of a saint, poor dear.”

Freedman and Dicken passed junctions with tubes branching southwest, northeast, and northwest to other shafts. Outside, the summer morning was warming rapidly. The sun hung just above the horizon, a subdued greenish ball. Cool air pulsed around them with a breathy moan.

They came to the end of the main tube. An engraved Formica placard to the right of the elevator door read, “MRS. CARLA RHINE.” Freedman punched the single white button. Dicken’s ears popped as the door closed behind them.

SHEVA had turned out to be much more than a disease. Shed only by males in committed relationships, the activated retrovirus served as a genetic messenger, ferrying complicated instructions for a new kind of birth. SHEVA infected recently fertilized eggs—in a sense, hijacked them for a higher cause. The Herod’s miscarriages were first-stage embryos, called “interim daughters,” not much more than specialized ovaries devoted to producing a new set of precisely mutated eggs.

Without additional sexual activity, the second-stage ova implanted and covered themselves with a thin, protective coating. They survived the abortion of the first embryo and started a new pregnancy.

To some, this had looked like a kind of virgin birth.

Most of the second-stage embryos had gone to term. Worldwide, in two waves separated by four years, three million new children had been born. More than two and a half million of the infants had survived. There was still controversy over exactly who and what they were—a diseased mutation, a subspecies, or a completely new species.

Most simply called them virus children.

“Carla’s still cranking them out,” Freedman said as the elevator reached the bottom. “She’s shed seven hundred new viruses in the last four months. About a third are infectious, single-stranded RNA sense negative, potentially real bastards. Fifty-two of them kill pigs within hours. Ninety-one are almost certainly lethal to humans. Another ten can probably kill both pigs and humans.” Freedman glanced over her shoulder to see his reaction.

“I know,” Dicken said dryly. He rubbed his hip. His leg bothered him when he stood for more than fifteen minutes. The same White House explosion that had taken his eye, twelve years ago, had left him partially disabled. Three rounds of surgery had allowed him to put aside the crutches but not the pain.

“Still in the loop, even at NCI?” Freedman asked.

“Trying to be,” he said.

“Thank God there are only four like her.”

“She’s our fault,” he said, and paused to reach down and massage his calf.

“Maybe, but Mother Nature’s still a bitch,” Freedman said, watching him with her hands on her hips.

A small airlock at the end of the concrete corridor cycled them through to the main floor. They were now fifty feet below ground. A guard in a crisp green uniform inspected their passes and permission papers and compared them with the duty and guest roster at her workstation.

“Please identify,” she told them. Both placed their eyes in front of scanners projecting from the counter and simultaneously pressed their thumbs onto sensitive plates. A female orderly in hospital greens escorted them to the cleanup area.

Mrs. Rhine was housed in one of ten underground residences, four of them currently occupied. The residences formed the center of what was reputed to be the most redundantly secure research facility on Earth. Though Dicken and Freedman would never come any closer than seeing her through a four-inch-thick acrylic window, they would have to go through a whole-body scrub before and after the interview. Before entering the viewing area and staging lab, called the inner station, they would put on special hooded undergarments impregnated with slow-release antivirals, zip up in plastic isolation suits, and attach themselves to positive pressure umbilical hoses.

Mrs. Rhine and her companions at the center never saw real human beings unless they were dressed to resemble Macy’s parade balloons.

On leaving, they would stand under a shower and soak their plastic suits with disinfectants, then strip down and shower again, scrubbing every orifice. The suits would be soaked overnight, and the undergarments would be incinerated.

The four women interned at the facility ate well and exercised regularly. Their quarters—each roughly the size of a two-bedroom apartment—were maintained by automated servants. They had their hobbies—Mrs. Rhine was a great one for hobbies—and access to a wide selection of books, magazines, TV shows, and movies.

Of course, the women were becoming more and more eccentric.

“Any tumors?” Dicken asked.

“Official question?” Freedman asked.

“Personal,” Dicken said.


From the Hardcover edition.
Greg Bear|Author Q&A

About Greg Bear

Greg Bear - Darwin's Children
Greg Bear is the author of more than twenty-five books, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He has been awarded two Hugos and five Nebulas for his fiction. He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear, and they are the parents of two children, Erik and Alexandra.

Author Q&A

Interview with Greg Bear for Darwin's Children

DR:In DARWIN’S RADIO, you wrote about the evolution of a new human species that is triggered by an HERV, or Human Endogenous Retrovirus—which, if I understand correctly, is a kind of ancient virus that has entered into human DNA and persisted there in a dormant state for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years. HERVs sound so much like pure science fiction that it's rather shocking to discover they actually do exist inside us, although without the evolutionary properties you ascribe to them . . . at least, so far. Can you talk a little bit about HERVs, both in fact and in your fiction?

GB: Endogenous Retroviruses (ERV) are real and exist in various forms in nearly all living things. ERVs appear to serve a number of functions; in humans, a gene from an HERV (that is, a virus gene) helps human embryos implant in the mother’s womb. So, they are no longer solely disease-causing (though expression of ERV may lead to some autoimmune disorders).

Within our genes are many “mobile” genes that can copy themselves and transport other genes from one position to another. These are called transposons, or retrotransposons, and they may play a huge role in organizing and regulating our genome. Interestingly, retroviruses bear a distinct resemblance to retrotransposons. The question then becomes, which came first—jumping genes, or viruses? And did one lead to the other?

Infectious retroviruses, such as HIV, which causes AIDS, may very well be derived from ERV genes in other species, such as monkeys or chimps. In DARWIN’S RADIO, I postulated an HERV that acquires the ability to infect other individuals and carry targeted genes from one person to another. No such HERV has been discovered, but I suspect we’ll find something similar soon—though perhaps not with such radical effects.

DR:We think of viruses as being harmful, parasitic. But what you're talking about sounds more like symbiosis—I mean, especially the idea of a viral gene helping human embryos implant in the womb. How common is that?


GB: It happens in all of us. It’s how we get born. As to how often viral genes are used for constructive purposes, no one yet knows. Some scientists theorize that embryos use ancient retroviral particles as part of a campaign to prevent the mother from rejecting them as foreign tissue. This is similar to the sort of immune system suppression found in HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but with a positive result.

DR:The specific HERV that causes the evolution in DARWIN’S RADIO is known as SHEVA. How does SHEVA work? How do SHEVA children differ from the human norm, and how did you decide on these particular physical and psychological differences?

GB: SHEVA children are the result of a programmed reshuffling of genes induced by a transfer of coded genetic signals. Their characteristics are largely determined by a kind of meta-evolutionary response. The genome is capable of reacting to the outside environment through our immune system and stress hormones and chemicals. (ERV and mobile genes are frequently activated by stress hormones.) The immune system acts as a kind of radar, informing the genome about environmental changes—and in SHEVA children, the stress of changing social conditions determines the changes. In a sense, the genome is making an “educated guess” based on past experience, giving the new variety of humans a better statistical chance to succeed by mixing and matching and even expanding upon varieties of past traits—smell, scent production, communication abilities in both the brain and elsewhere. Writing about a new kind of teenager in DARWIN’S CHILDREN was a real challenge!

DR:And yet it's not exactly as if they're more advanced than we are; it's more like they're significantly different. In some respects, they actually seem at a disadvantage. For example, they don't seem as interested in technology as we are. There is a common idea that each new stage of evolution automatically results in a superior species that will necessarily out-compete its predecessor—indeed, that the two must be enemies in a struggle only one can survive. You obviously don't think that's the case.

GB:
The new children, once they come into their own, will be as interested in technology as the rest of us—but for now, they live at a disadvantage. Technology is human. The point of all the evolutionary changes in DARWIN’S RADIO and DARWIN’S CHILDREN is improving the speed and efficiency of communication. When the children network, they do it ever so much better than we do!

DR:What I found particularly fascinating was how the psychology of the SHEVA kids seemed to follow from their physical attributes; it reminded me of Freud's famous phrase, "biology is destiny." Do you believe that? Are human beings going to be able one day to take control of our biology and, hence, our destinies?

GB: There is no such thing as a fixed biological destiny. Identical twins can lead very different lives. Biological systems are immensely complicated and flexible; they have to be to produce complicated organisms such as humans. The mix of genetic traits and developmental processes both before and after birth help shape us for our future roles, but sometimes things go wrong. Thirty percent of all pregnancies, roughly speaking, abort spontaneously because of genetic or developmental errors. Perhaps ten percent of children who are born and survive childhood are defective enough to face major problems later in life; and all of us, one way or another, have small deficits. None of us are perfect, but on the other hand, most of us overcome our deficits and become productive (and reproductive!) members of society. The same is true of all other forms of life. Mistakes happen, but we are designed to overcome them—most of the time.

Humans are proof positive that nature can control its own evolutionary course. We’ll be doing a lot of that very soon now, with fascinating consequences. We’re natural, and we’re controlling evolution . . . hmm!

DR:DARWIN’S CHILDREN is set a decade after the events of DARWIN’S RADIO. What has happened in that time? How does the world of DARWIN’S CHILDREN differ from that of the first novel?

GB: It’s a harder, more frightened world. The school of biological hard knocks since SHEVA has scared the bejesus out most of us, and opened up potential new frontiers that are, if anything, even more frightening than the atom bomb. As I was writing DARWIN’S CHILDREN, I found the real world doing my research for me—changing in ways I did not like and becoming harder, more conflicted, less secure. Much of what is in the novel was conceived of or written before 9/11, and now seems more than a little prophetic.

DR:A related question: were there any significant advances or discoveries in genetics that took place following publication of DARWIN’S RADIO which compelled you to revise the science of that novel as you were penning the sequel? I imagine that must be an occupational hazard for a science fiction writer telling a story about the near future!

GB: Not basically. In details, perhaps. I was a little worried that my theories with regard to viral contributions to the genome, and the ability of viruses to access and use us as a kind of gene library, might be way beyond the cutting edge. But extensive criticism from scientist readers has yet to point to any major goofs. I’m sure they’re there, but nobody yet knows quite what they’ll turn out to be! That is, the theories are still interesting, but very speculative. As for my evolutionary speculations, I’ve seen a fair number of science books and articles published since DARWIN’S RADIO which, to one extent or another, make me believe I am still on the right track. I list some of them in DARWIN’S CHILDREN and on my Web site, http://www.gregbear.com.

DR:Let me ask you the same question with respect to anthropology. In DARWIN’S RADIO, you speculated that an HERV had caused Neanderthal parents to give birth to Homo sapiens offspring. Where does the jury now stand on possible interbreeding between these two branches of the hominid family tree and, thus, the potential presence of Neanderthal genes in the human genome?

GB: I don’t think anybody really knows. Some analysis of mitochondrial DNA from Neanderthal specimens had been done even before publication of DARWIN’S RADIO, and those scientists reached the conclusion that Neanderthals and humans could not be directly related; they may have had a common ancestor 500,000 or more years ago. But other scientists I’ve spoken to regard such statistical analyses as highly speculative in themselves. We just don’t know the extent to which DNA controls its own mutational processes, and that could skew any and all statistical results that assume totally random mutation. Biologists have made a lot of assumptions over the decades that are turning out to not be true; it’s a hard time for older biologists, who have to relearn much of what they were taught in school!

DR: Is something like genetic reverse-engineering theoretically possible? In other words, if there were Neanderthal DNA in the human genome, could a future technology recreate that species? Or, for that matter, activate any of the HERVs that we carry around?


GB: Back-breeding of humans the way that some livestock has been back-bred to early stock, or wild-type animals, could probably produce Neanderthal-like individuals, but that may not be the same thing as actually digging into the DNA and reconstructing a theoretical set of Neanderthal chromosomes. We have to remember that our definitions of what is Homo sapiens neanderthal and what is Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) is based on bones alone, for the most part. All humans on Earth—from pygmies to Vikings—can interbreed. What if every new generation includes largely undetected, “silent” evolutionary mutations that adapt them to their environment in specific ways that we barely understand? Much evolutionary change may happen way below the level of what sticks around in bones!

DR:You've done a lot of anthropological research for both books; not to give anything away, but DARWIN’S CHILDREN also features a revolutionary anthropological discovery. Have you considered actually setting a novel back in prehistoric times?

GB: If you mean challenging the Gears or Jean Auel at their game, no. But dabbling is terrific fun.

DR:One of the most visceral reactions I had as I began to read the novel was that the social and political setting you describe—in which the U.S. government, under the control of a Republican administration, has clamped down hard on civil rights following the appearance of the SHEVA children, forcibly separating them from their parents and placing them into camps—was a criticism of certain acts and tendencies of the current Republican administration as it goes about fighting the war on terror, as well as of conservative media outlets, especially FOX. Am I off base here? Do you think that this perception could lead to controversy . . . or to the novel being read as an allegory?

GB: It’s not allegory. It’s unfortunately a barely exaggerated description of hard political fact, written before the fact. I’ve worked with smart and capable conservatives over the decades—Jerry Pournelle is a good friend of mine—and what’s happening in Washington now is scary in the extreme to civil libertarians of all political stripes. Fox News commentary is rude, dishonest, corrupt, and very entertaining. Its news coverage is often openly biased, “Fair and Balanced.” I watch it often just to keep my blood pumping. Many of their commentators are coiffed and talk like beady-eyed used car salesmen, with a comparable grasp of the truth.

Trent Lott’s mistake was only proof of what I’ve known for some time—that modern conservatism in America is dominated by old Southern culture. It’s the Confederacy triumphantly reborn, hiding its origins as best it can and minus, for the most part, Jim Crow and the urge to keep slaves. Everything else—patriarchy, family and honor first, racism, hypocritical fundamentalism, catering to the aristocracy, rampant sexual hypocrisy, challenges to the constitution in the name of state’s rights (but going after states who don’t tow the conservative federal line), is straight out of any history of the Confederacy. And remember: with regard to Bush administration financial strategies, consider how much Confederate money is now worth.

Why is John McCain so distrusted among southern conservatives? Because he’s not a Confederate. Why was Bill Clinton so soundly hated by southern conservatives? Because he was a southern boy who went Yankee, emulating a Catholic Massachusetts fellow named JFK. Why do blue-collar men all around the country vote Republican even when it’s against their own best interest? Tradition? Hoodwinked by Confederate charm? Go figure.

And why was Trent Lott so conspicuously thrust into the Confederate attic? Because he was so damned stupid as to show all his cards—including some real Jokers—in a high-stakes poker game.

DR:I was also struck by the religious aspect in the novel; it's somewhat unusual, I think, for a science fiction novel to interject God into the story as a mystical presence. There are, of course, plenty of science fiction novels that deal with God or gods, but usually as knowable entities, with much of the mystery removed thanks to application of scientific methodology and advances in technology. You don't take that route. When Kaye Rafelson has transcendent experiences that she comes to equate with the presence of a higher power, the mystery remains. Why did you bring God, or whatever name one chooses to call it, into the novel in this way? Are you suggesting that an invisible hand shapes the course of evolution?

GB: Without tipping my hand too much, I’ll say no: I fundamentally reject creationism or intelligent design by God. I offer a solution that is never heard in either scientific or religious circles: the mystery of God allows for free will in both human behavior and in natural evolution. Nature is thoughtful and creative and even willful—one might say soulful—top to bottom, but even that doesn’t begin to describe the reality. In essence, what Kaye experiences is what well over half of the human race experiences in some form or another: pure epiphany, minus any overt theological girdles. It’s the real thing.

Does God dabble in evolution? I doubt that anyone, scientist or theologian, will ever know for sure. Does God exist? The phenomenon of epiphany exists, and is—so far—completely outside the realm of scientific study. (Meditative states are easier to reproduce; epiphany is spontaneous and unpredictable.) The rest is faith, a very personal thing.

I’ll be curious to see how quickly the “fundamentalists” and atheists in science, and the fundamentalists in the religious community, cotton on to this logical solution to the supposedly unbreakable dilemma. In my opinion, there is no dilemma—just a lack of creative and rational thinking on both sides.

DR:Does this story end with DARWIN’S CHILDREN, or do you have plans to continue the series?

GB: There is very likely going to be a novel about Stella Nova and her son, carrying us through the middle of this century.

DR:What are you working on now?

GB: A high-tech ghost story set in the telecom industry! But absolutely no phone calls (or spam) from the dead. And about that, for now, enough said.


From the Hardcover edition.


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