Blood Music (1985) by Greg Bear is a novel that in its day was well lauded, but has since had its profile reduced by books which have taken its central premise further. One of if not the first major novel to utilize the idea of nanotechnology, the wave of related sci-fi digging deeper into the potential for nanotech that has followed has perhaps drowned out the book, leaving it to be found by those looking back into the history of the genre. While the classic comic book opening does not endear the story, the concept it evolves into stands as an abstract extrapolation at least not of the superhero variety.
Blood Music is not the story of a single character, rather many; if looked at from another perspective, it is a go-zillion characters. Matters begin at a single point at a biotech research center near San Diego with Vergil Ulam, however. A self-seeking scientist, Ulam has been performing illegal experiments with lymphocytes behind the scenes of his government funded work. When the lab’s director discovers Ulam’s secret work, he orders it immediately destroyed. Loathe to wipe out years of hard research, Ulam takes the drastic step of injecting himself with the altered cells in the hope of acquiring the right equipment to remove a sample and continue his work in the near future. He never gets the chance. Trouble is, neither does the rest of America and the world.