Tonawanda News

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July 7, 2013

BOOK NOOK: 'Blood Music' a precursor to today's zombie hits

Greg Bear released his prediction for the end of the world in his novel “Blood Music,” published in 1985. Had he written the book today, considering the recent explosion of interest in zombie culture the past few years, Bear would arguably have a bestseller on his hands. Note, there are no zombies in “Blood Music” — but that will be touched on later. 

A science fiction thriller with plenty of real world implications, Bear’s prediction for the future is a bleak one. “Blood Music” begins in an American lab, where scientists are attempting to create “biochips,” or micro robots intended for human ingestion and improved health. One scientist implements some tests of his own, creating a completely biological version of the biochips – a type of animal cell intelligent enough to be programed to aid the human body whichever way the human pleased.

Intending to be used for the good of humanity, things quickly get out of hand when the cells become too intelligent – and want to live on their own terms.

What follows, after a splendid twist, (don’t fret, no spoilers here) is the extermination of the human race on a grand scale, and the attempts of a remaining few to survive.

What Bear creates is a doomsday scenario not unlike a zombie apocalypse — except instead of succumbing to the same old survivor-horror story of a land full of flesh-eating virus carriers, Bear goes all out and mutates the infected population far beyond anything resembling a zombie. 

Instead, bodies melt into a plastic, gloppy goo, soon alive, spreading, smearing and sliming its way around.

The scariest part is how well Bear makes it all seem plausible. Yes, there is some “techno-babble” sprinkled throughout the novel, but most is readily comprehensible to the average reader, and that which is not can be glossed over without much loss. Bear applies plenty of basic scientific reasoning behind the happenings of “Blood Music,” detailing how easy such a take over could occur.

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