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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 2005 by Greg Bear

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Awful (1/5)

I first read this on the 25th July 2006.

In the very near future, a lone terrorist is planning his revenge on those who he feels are responsible the violent injustices across the world. He's not just after one target - he's going to wipe out whole hosts of them.

Can our FBI agents break free of inter-agency squabbling for long enough to catch him?

Well, he wrote Psyclone, Dead Lines and now he's written Quantico. In my view this confirms that Greg Bear should stick to SF. Give it up, Greg. You are one of the top SF writers in the world - "Slant" is currently No 21 in the SF Reviews ranking.

To be honest, though, part of the mistake was setting in the very near future - almost everything is familiar and real but every now and again there's some item that isn't real or is implausible in today's world. Either it's an item that's insignificant but and is simply jarring, or it's important to the plot and feels like it has been conjured up as a deus ex machina. Also for anyone reading this in ten or twenty years time, some of those suppositions about the near future will simply seem quaint.

Also I absolutely disliked the outcome. And come on, using a sat phone? Is that really likely. Two reasons: who uses a sat phone now anyway (even good old GSM works pretty much worldwide) and what highly-trained operative is going to blow his cover in the middle of such a clandestine operation as this?

And what was the point of 10-4 other than to emphasise Lee's tragic motivation?

Now Greg had set this fifty years in the future, I wouldn't have been able to nitpick, nor would I have been inclined.

I should say that, as a thriller, it was interesting but not brilliant. I found it a little slow and unconvincing at the start but pretty engrossing towards the end.

Loaded on the 16th December 2006.
Cover of Quantico