Greg Bear
Quantico (2005)
Reviewed: 2006-10-25

This one is going to age really quickly. Set some ten to fifteen years in the future (from the year of publication), the novel is more a techno-thriller than a piece of science fiction. The author has been reading a newspaper it seems. The Middle East is a bigger mess than ever. The USA has suffered another big terrorist attack and in response several new intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been created, bickering, feuding, working in secrecy from and against each other. America is busily eviscerating itself. A number of FBI agents, some of them fresh out of the academy, work on several disparate cases that bit by bit start to coalesce into an ever more frightening picture—right when political forces try to kill the FBI for good and the latest developments in the Middle East suck up everybody's attention. And so Armageddon looms and it is up to our heroes, a few forgettable characters, to save the world. Please excuse this reviewer's improper lack of enthusiasm.

Bear spins a cautionary tale warning of the dangers posed by the ease of acquisition of biological weapons even by small groups of fanatics, and exacerbated by political insanity. Welcome to the chorus. Dire warnings about the threat by "biohackers" are in vogue currently. If you really think genetic engineering of warfare germs is easy, try reading an issue of, say, PLoS Genetics sometime.

I picked up this novel when I missed a flight and was stuck for another ten hours at the airport. It provided solid entertainment for that purpose, but should prove mostly forgotten and laughably obsolete within a few years.

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Generated: 2006-10-25

Christian "naddy" Weisgerber <>