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Creator / Greg Bear

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Greg Bear (1951-2022) was an American author of Speculative Fiction. He was the son-in-law of SF writer Poul Anderson, and, like his father-in-law, he was best known for his hard science fiction, although he also wrote Fantasy novels.

He most well-known work is the classic SF novel Blood Music, a ground-breaking story about nanotechnology, but his recent series, The Forerunner Saga, based on the Halo video game series opened up a new audience for him. He was one of the authors who contributed to Bruce Sterling's Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, which was one of the defining works of Cyberpunk, but has not been particularly associated with cyberpunk beyond that. In fact, he was often mentioned as one of "the Killer B's", a group of writers that also includes David Brin and Gregory Benford, who are sometimes credited with revitalizing hard science fiction after the rise of cyberpunk. The Killer B's each wrote one volume of a prequel trilogy to Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series.

Works by Greg Bear include:

Tropes in his other works:

  • Apocalypse Wow: At the end of The Forge of God, the Earth's destruction is described in loving, agonizing detail.
    • It gets more spectacular in the follow up Anvil of Stars: The Ship of the Law's new noach weapons, given a huge boost by the noach projecting planet Blinker, trash the Killer's entire solar system in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Arcology: Strength of Stones is set After the End in a depopulated world where mobile arcologies roam the land, looking for their former inhabitants (who are actually all around, living in squalor, but the arcologies don't recognize them anymore).
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Songs of Earth and Power does this with numerous personages to good effect.
  • Bizarre Baby Boom: In Darwin's Radio (and sequel), the human race undergoes a disease called "Herod's Flu" because it spontaneously aborts fetuses—and then the mothers become spontaneously pregnant again. It turns out non-coding introns in human DNA occasionally induce a mass evolutionary change, in this case to adapt us to better live in an information-rich world. This is a case of surprisingly plausible Hollywood Evolution, because Bear shows his work.
  • Church of Happyology: In Heads, one of the frozen heads is that of none other than K. D. Thierry, the founder of a creepy Space Opera religion called Logology. At the end of the novel, the protagonist ends up being infused with the frozen final thoughts of the heads, Thierry's being an acute knowledge of the hoax he created and abject terror in the face of the hell he believes awaits him.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In The Forge of God, Earth was blown up after (a) being shot with one giant neutronium bullet and one giant anti-neutronium bullet that met and exploded and (b) having vast quantities of hydrogen extracted from the oceans and turned into hydrogen bombs.
    • Amped up in Anvil of Stars: Noach weapons were used to create opposing poles of "quark matter" that annihilated anything between them, creating ESKs across the Killers' entire solar system.
  • Eternal Hero: At the end of City at the End of Time, it's revealed that Daniel is actually Sangmer, the legendary missing-presumed-dead hero that the characters in the scenes set several trillion years in the future read stories about. When the entire multiverse started to unravel during his lifetime, his demiurge Eternal Love Mnemnosyne regressed him to childhood and sent him to be a King in the Mountain in a Pocket Dimension. Eventually he is released, with his memories of being Sangmer suppressed, as a human fate-shifter (someone who can jump between parallel universe versions of themselves to avoid bad luck). He then starts from the beginning of human history, journeying to the recent past, where he has shifted into the identity of Daniel, who in turn shifts between multiple Daniels until he ends up in a universe where he is a beggar called Charles Granger. It turns out that this is because Daniel died as a teenager in this universe, so he ended up in the nearest equivalant. He then transfers his consciousness into the body of theoretical physicist Fred, his best friend in his home universe and married to the late Daniel's sister in Granger's world. He does all this, as well as being a Manipulative Bastard and The Sociopath, because his suppressed memories are driving him forward to the point where he can stop the multiverse's destruction and reunite with his love. Because she's a demiurge and he's a far-future descendant of humanity, they don't really care how many human identities he sacrifices to succeed.
  • Eternal Love: In the closing moments of The City at The End of Time, it is revealed that Sangmer and his love, who are forced to spend literally eternity apart in order to prevent the end of everything, meet again every time the current universe reaches its end, only to part again when the next one is created.
  • Evolution Powerup: Bear tries to justify this in Darwin's Radio. A species that evolves "Darwin's radio" makes abrupt and massive changes in its genome when faced with a significant problem. The radio in question has evolved so that it essentially "knows" what changes are necessary to deal with a particular crisis. One character describes this as "Evolution evolving. Species with a radio can evolve faster and better than species that can't," which almost makes sense if you think about it.
  • Grey Goo: In The Forge of God, this is done deliberately and systematically by a belligerent alien race, to humanity as well as at least one other race. The sequel, Anvil of Stars, is the story of a handful of the survivors of Earth — specifically, the children — seeking out the race that destroyed Earth, to enact the Law.
  • IKEA Erotica: A rare example of IKEA erotica being used on purpose, for a reason: in the novel Slant, a couple sex scenes are described with clinical precision, but it's clear that there's not meant to be any sort of romance or passion. In the first scene, a call girl has sex with a client: she doesn't enjoy it, of course, and he's only doing it to infect her. In the second scene, a man is jumped by his very horny wife, and doesn't really get a chance to enjoy himself either. The obsessively detailed style is repeated throughout the novel to create the feeling of being bombarded by information.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Queen of Angels has a climactic trip into "the country of the mind" of a killer.
  • Latex Spacesuit: In Moving Mars, some rebellious college students decide to go outside in the near-vacuum using "skin seal" (which isn't supposed to be used except in emergencies). It's sprayed onto the body, and requires its user to be naked.
  • Literary Work of Magic: In Songs of Earth and Power, any sufficiently great work of art is magical.
  • Mind Virus: Vitals features bio-engineered viruses that manipulate their victims hormones and brain chemistry. Though the viruses themselves are undirected, the evil government conspiracy will "dose" people with different strains of the virus, in combination with setting up fake evidence, in order to discredit anyone who threatens to expose the conspiracy. One character, an investigative author who starts getting too close to the truth, is infected with a compulsive anti-semitism virus that causes him to lose his reputation. Later on, another character is made to murder by use of a Hate Plague. The main character is also infected with a kind of "love" virus that renders him dopey and lovey-dovey with respect to a woman who's an agent of the conspiracy.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Queen of Angels revolves around a novelist, playwright and poet, who has just killed eight people. Another main character is also a writer.
  • Mundane Dogmatic: In The Forge of God, while there are aliens, they are never seen. Instead we see a robotic Horde of Alien Locusts that they dispatch to destroy us. The sequel, Anvil of Stars, is not as adherent, while FTL is still impossible, humans travel between the stars at sublight speeds, and develop Applied Phlebotinum that borders on Functional Magic.
  • The Power of Rock: In Songs of Earth and Power, any sufficiently great piece of music (or art in general) has inherent magical properties. In particular, there's a piece called the Infinity Concerto which legendarily transported a group of people to another world; later in the book, Mozart (yes, the real one) improvises another piece to transport them all back.
  • Precision F-Strike: From Darwins Children:
    Kaye Lang: Give me back my daughter you FUCKHEADS!
  • Secret Society Group Picture: Vitals has one of these. Late in the story the main characters find an old photo of the evil secret society that's been pursuing them. Cue shocked recognition, as one of the other main characters is in the photo and is revealed to be part of The Conspiracy.
  • Self-Plagiarism: Bear has reused some of the science-fiction concepts he invents in one book in completely unrelated books. For instance, Moving Mars and Anvil of Stars both use the concept of "hacking real life", while Darwin's Radio and Blood Music both use communication and reasoning among microorganisms as major plot points.
  • Time Crash: City at the End of Time is all about a time crash and an aeon-spanning Gambit Roulette to ensure something will still exist afterwards.