From: Bernard Assaf
Location: Johns Creek, Georgia
Dear Mr. Bear:
I just finished reading QUEEN OF ANGELS, which I got from a friend at work who had brought a bunch of books to the office that he didn't want anymore. The novel sat on my book shelf for a year or so and I might have forgotten about it completely, if I hadn't then picked up ROGUE PLANET on my tour through the Star Wars expanded universe (in publication order, as best as I can manage!). After I enjoyed it, I remembered, "Hey, I have another Bear book!" and thus, I picked back up QoA. I can't very well read ONLY Star Wars (well I probably could but then what about all those other delicious books out there?) and a hard sci-fi novel seemed to fit the bill for a good "in-between" book.
Today I toured some Internet sites looking for some others' take on the book (my friend didn't have much to say when I asked him, having not remembered much in the way of details). Maybe a review would help tie some things together that I didn't catch when I read it, that kind of thing. On Wikipedia I was surprised to learn that this book had a sequel. Then I found your message board archive from 2004 where you revealed it also has two prequels. You suggested the following reading order:
> ORDER OF BOOKS
> Posted By: karen berry, portland, OR - 11/08/2004
> 11:42:40 AM
> Greg: Just discovered you...wow!! You have made my
> miserable commute a joy with Darwin's Radio. My
> background is anthropogy/law/investigator... so you are
> like manna from heaven. What order should I read your
> books in? Thank you, Karen Berry, Esq
> Response: Order of Books
> Posted By: Greg Bear - 11/08/2004 12:28:12 PM
> Depends on what series! DARWIN'S RADIO, then DARWIN'S
> CHILDREN, of course. In terms of time, the Thistledown
> series begins with "The Wind from a Burning Woman," then
> "The Way of All Ghosts," and moves on thereafter to
> LEGACY, EON, and then ETERNITY. The Quantum Logic
> succession begins with QUEEN OF ANGELS, then SLANT,
> HEADS, and MOVING MARS. FORGE OF GOD, then ANVIL OF
Ah! So, please explain to me why I should read the sequel first and then the two prequels (as you suggested to Karen in 2004), when their publication order is QUEEN OF ANGELS (1990), HEADS (1990), MOVING MARS (1993) and SLANT (1997)? Perhaps you did not originally intend the prequels to be in fact, prequels, but mixed them in the universe later sort of like Asimov ultimately mashed together his ROBOTS, EMPIRE, and FOUNDATION series, in which case its best to continue the story of QoA before diving into the earlier years? I have always been of the opinion that the best way to read any series of books (or for that matter, any set of unrelated books by a single author), is to read them in the same order which the author wrote them. After all, on the one hand, reading them out of order might spoil something in the earlier books, and on the other hand, the story as it developed over a series of novels might best be tasted in the same way it was created. Back to Asimov: I believe he also recommended reading his three series of books out of publication order, which also confused me--but perhaps this then puts you in good Grand Master company.
Thanks for your time, and thanks for sharing your creative story telling with all of us untherapied. (After reading through Goldsmith's nightmarish mindscape, I think I do need therapy!)
Johns Creek, Georgia
From: Greg Bear
Thanks for going back to QoA!
I arranged the sequence of the books in "historical" chronology. To add to the confusion, both QUANTICO and MARIPOSA are now at the historical beginning of what I called the Quantum Logic series. They can all be read in any order you like, of course.