Blood Music Themes
by Greg Bear

Start Your Free Trial

Download Blood Music Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Blood Music Themes

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Vergil's work is integral to his identity. To destroy the cultures would spell the death of Vergil's dream to belong to society's mainstream, create "billions of capable cellular computers," then found his own laboratory and company. Tests show the cells to be very intelligent — each as intelligent as a mouse, with potential for becoming as intelligent as a rhesis monkey. The novel's themes of personal identity and alienation involve all of humankind as well, since Vergil's "selfish" genes overwhelm him and spread beyond his body.

A related theme of social structure arises as other characters observe and speculate. What happens to individuality in an all-consuming group? Bear extrapolates here on the basis of information theory, largely through another "infected" character, Dr. Michael Bernard. "Was the noosphere a rigid hierarchy, lacking in dissent or even comment?" Michael asks. The engulfing cells prompt his comment on the theme of rebirth: "I have no past. I am cut loose and there is really nowhere to go but where they wish to take me."

Questions of human identity and the nature of reality are resolved as the situation evolves toward a single consciousness, a single vast, bizarre life form taking over a continent: "Textures and forms hitherto unknown to biologists, to geologists, cover the cities and suburbs, even the wildernesses of North America." The novel rejects the possibility of humankind's spiritual transcendence and provides a wholly materialistic depiction of reality: "pipeline- like structures can be seen flowing into Chicago from all directions. In some areas the pipelines open up into broad canals and we can actually see the rapid flow of a viscous green fluid." But despite highly imaginative descriptions of horror, Bear does not present an overall dismal view. Michael decides he loves being "an integral part, in turn loved and necessary." He lives in a Thought Universe: "The blood is a highway, a symphony of information, instruction."