Discussion Board

Topic: Quantico

From: Alex Tolley
Location: Los Gatos, CA
Date: 06/17/2007

Hi Greg,
Just read Quantico. I really liked this one. The writing was taut, a fast-paced plot, with good dialogue and interesting characters. I liked that you pushed the tech into the background for the most part. Ink-jet printers to aerosolize bacterial vectors - sweet.

I do have a couple of questions;

1. The transition from anthrax to the "memory-loss" prion-like proteins. I get that Tommy was the instigator (the chance theft?), although his motives escape me. But why would Sam go along with this? Wouldn't he have tried to keep Tommy on track for the original plan? It also seems to me that the middle east anthrax tests were going on simultaneously with the yeast production - I'm not clear how that would be possible in Tommy's lab.

2. The orbital lances (OWL). Great imagery - a real Zeus' lightning bolt and interesting successor to "brilliant pebbles". To be deployed as fast as indicated, they would have to be in LEO and there would have to be many of them in order to circumvent the 90 minute orbits. For a near future world that is clearly losing its US hegemony, I find that politically unlikely to be acceptable to the UN or other similar bodies.

All in all, a good, almost mainstream novel, that should get you a shot at a script. Congrats.

Re: Quantico

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/17/2007

Thanks, Alex! (Some spoilers involved here...) Politics seldom responds to a logical analysis. Orbital kinetic kill weapons (or, more likely near-term, delivered from the backs of cargo planes) are already in research and possibly in development. They've been talked about in various forms for more than twenty-five years. No U.S. weapons system is subject to UN review, whatever our international posture or status. I'll leave discussion on the psych/bio aspects of the book to a time when more readers will have a chance to do their own analysis!

Re: Quantico

From: Alex Tolley
Location: Los Gatos, CA
Date: 06/17/2007

One other thing. The OWLs reminded me of the weapons in Clarke's "Earthlight". The OWLs in Quantico were directed by the ship, Robert A Heinlein. As I recall, the SDI program that included these sorts of weapons caused a rift between these 2 authors that was never repaired, and related in McAleer's bio of Clarke. Was this some conscious/unconscious desire to reconcile them?

Re: Quantico

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/18/2007

They later reconciled, before Heinlein's death.

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