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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Queen Of Angels

Copyright 1990 by Greg Bear

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this in 1992 and most recently on the 1st September 2013

A charismatic poet, Emanuel Goldsmith, invited his friends for a party at his home and coldly murdered each in turn as they arrived. Public Defender Mary Choy is after him. She'll track him down and bring him in, even if he has escaped to the dangerous dictatorship of Hispaniola.

Martin Burke, discoverer of the Country of the Mind, will step into the head of the murderer Goldsmith to track down whatever dreadful evil has made its home within.

Meanwhile far away in the cold space of Alpha Centauri, an unemotional AI has finally discovered alien life. Back on Earth that explorer's artificial parent, Jill, desperately hopeful, struggles for self-awareness while carefully monitoring her AI offspring for similar signs.

But do we know enough about consciousness to judge who - human or AI - is conscious and who is not?

I've read this book several times and it is very good indeed. It certainly is one of Bear's best novels. After a quick interlude (reading Maggy Thomas' superb "Broken Time") I searched for another Bear book and came across "Slant", the follow-up to this novel. "Slant" again features Mary Choy, Martin Burke and Jill.

My edition of "Slant" has an uninspiring front cover and a rear cover that annoyingly includes no plot synopsis. I was stumped momentarily as to whether it was worth a re-read. However my massive brain didn't let me down for long, just a further moment for incisive thinking and I realized I could check SF Reviews to see whether I'd reviewed it and what I'd thought. Indeed I had reviewed it, and to my delight, I'd rated it as absolutely brilliant. So do yourself a favour. Read both "Queen of Angels" and "Slant". Then tell me am I right. Am I right? Of course I am! Great books.

I want to throw myself into "Slant" but must restrain myself while I write this quick review of this first book. I remember it's characters the lovely, determined Mary Choy, the driven Martin Burke and his Faustian agreement, and of course the AI Jill, brilliant and desperately hopeful. I'm looking forwarding to meeting up with them again in "Slant".

Loaded on the 10th October 2013.
Cover of Queen Of Angels
Cover art by Peter Jones

Reviews of other works with covers by Peter Jones:
The Second Experiment
The Immortals
The Chalk Giants
Orphans Of The Sky