cover image Queen of Angels

Queen of Angels

Greg Bear. Grand Central Publishing, $33 (432pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51400-2

An intriguing concept forms the basis of this not entirely successful novel by the author of Eon . By the latter days of 2047, psychology has developed into a true science, and most of the population of Los Angeles has been therapied into sustaining balanced personalities. Thus public defender Mary Choy is shocked to be assigned to a rare murder case. Within hours of the detection of the crime, modern chemical sniffers have determined exactly who passed through which doors of the victim's apartment in what order, and it is established that poet Emanuel Goldsmith is killer of his publisher's daughter. The question is why. While Choy tries to locate Goldsmith, fellow poet Richard Fettle tries to imagine himself into Goldsmith's mind, and Dr. Martin Burke, Ph.D., does even better through his sophisticated cell-monitoring technology. Each of these subplots permits a guided tour through different parts of a society 50 years in the future. Braided with these three narrative threads is a fourth concerning the engendering AI of an interstellar probe. While each plot line is absorbing in itself, Bear fails to tie together their implicitly interlocking parts, resulting in a weak and disappointing ending. BOMC alternate. (July)