By Greg Bear; Read by Jeff Woodman
11 CDs – 13 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Themes: / Science Fiction / Terrorism / Saudi Arabia / Iraq/
“Well, its kinda the sum of your worst possible fears that you don’t know.”
responding to a request for a brief synopsis of Quantico.
The United States is under attack from all quarters, including from within. In the near future where America is in an arms race with high tech terrorists, sanity vies with ancient religious hatreds. Only three new FBI agents will be able to battle a plague as “10/4” becomes the next “9/11.” From Washington to Iraq confusion is afoot and only a covert mission to a forbidden city can preserve an already grim future.
This is Greg Bear doing Tom Clancy. The question is why? Is Bear pulling a Dean Koontz, (Koontz dropped SF for suspense in 1972)? Is he trying to shift his career out of a poorly paying Science Fiction genre into a more mainstream, higher paying, airport terminal fiction? If Quantico is anything to go by, one of my favorite authors has indeed thrown in the towel on idea SF. What he’s written here is a technothriller, set in a near future. Is this Hugo and Nebula award winning author, known for his Byzantine plotting and earth shattering ideas, still writing interesting fiction? Yes, but the SF elements are so minimized, playing such a marginal role in the story that I was ready to give up on it. I wanted Bear’s original Science Fiction ideas coming from his oddly motivated characters. What I got was better than Tom Clancy, but I don’t like Clancy. It was refreshing to see some post-9/11 terrorism fiction that includes domestic born terrorists, but I am not able to recommend it to SF fans.
Narrator Jeff Woodman was a capable reader, he disappeared into the text, voicing a clear delineation between characters from similar backgrounds while giving a individual and believable American and Arabic accents. Production values were, as expected, BBC quality.