A fine white powder that forms on the wrapper of the cigar caused by the oils that exude from the tobacco. It can be gently brushed off with a small camel hair brush, though there is no need to do this. Bloom indicates the cigar is alive, maturing as it should inside a well maintained humidor. Bloom should not be confused with mold. Mold is a bluish-green and stains the wrapper. Mold usually indicates a humidor is too warm or has excessive levels of humidity.

From the cigar glossary at www.bloomberg.com
Most often compared to Blood Music by Greg Bear, in this book Wil McCarthy joins the ranks of hard science fiction authors exploring the apocalyptic domain of nanotech.

The world:
After some nanotech went astray and started converting everything a slim fraction (1%) of humanity has escaped to the outer reaches of the solar system - beyond the asteroid belt. On the moons of the gas giants it is safe... or safeish - the nanotech (called mycora) is slowed down by the cold.
The culture:
On the moons of Jupiter a culture has gotten a foothold, though a tenuous one. They call themselves Immunity everyone puts forth effort to do two things - survive and prevent mycora spores from establishing themselves. The world of Immunity is powered by ladderdown reactor which converts heavier elements to simpler ones and in doing so releases energy. The world is full of low atomic value metals - gold paves the roads and weighs down shoes (low gravity). The two most valuable resources are uranium and manpower.
The hero
The man character is John Strasheim - shoemaker by trade and journalist by hobby (the manpower for a professional journalist can't be spared). He is given the 'honor' of being a corespondent on a voyage to the inner solar system (the domain of the mycora) which is seen as a suicide mission.

As a hard science fiction book this one certainly fits the genre - big ideas, strange but possible societies, and a new way of looking at what science may bring. One of the areas of exploration in this is Conway's Life and complex organizations of simple components - that of emergant systems.

The first chapter can be found on Will McCarthy's site:
The first two chapters can be found at the publisher's site:

Title:     Bloom
Author:    Wil McCarthy
Publisher: Random House
Year:      1998
ISBN:      345-40857-8

Editor's note: As outlined by Lucy-S at SFF Net, the site referenced above has gone offline. As of March 2017, you can find Wil McCarthy at http://www.wilmccarthy.com, and the above-linked URL is now http://www.wilmccarthy.com/blmteasr.htm.

Something that happens to chocolate to cause slight whitish discoloration to appear on the surface.

Blooming can occur in one of two ways: fat bloom or sugar bloom.

Fat bloom is a situation that results when the chocolate has been stored at a high temperature (70°F/20°C) for a period of time. During this time the temperature will cause the cocoa butter to separate from the rest of the crystallized chocolate mixture and rise to the surface. At the surface the cocoa butter recrystallizes forming the white discoloration. Fat bloom can be distinguished as it will feel slightly oily and will melt upon contact with your hand. It also tends to be accompanied by small cracks that cause the chocolate to look relatively dull in appearance.

Sugar bloom looks the same as fat bloom, but is created in a slightly different manner. Sugar bloom arises when there is too much humidity. This causes condensation on the surface of the chocolate that dissolves sugar particles. When the temperature rises again and evaporation occurs the sugar crystals are left on the surface. Sugar bloom can occur when a chilled piece of chocolate is brought into a warmer environment causing it to "sweat" as this liquid will quickly evaporate. Sugar bloom is distinguished from fat bloom by a grainy feel.

Since white chocolate does not contain any chocolate solids, merely cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar it is immune to blooming.

Both forms of blooming come from improperly storing chocolate. Always keep it tightly wrapped and in a cool place. A cool place, however, does not mean the refrigerator. This will cause the chocolate to easily experience sugar bloom due to the increased humidity and rapid change in temperature.

Despite the looks there is nothing at all harmful about eating bloomed chocolate. After all, it is merely portions of the chocolate coming to the surface and recrystallizing. I've eaten plenty of it that was deemed unsightly and hence "damaged" while employed by Godiva one summer with absolutely no ill effects.

Bloom is also the very very thin and transparent coating over the outside of an eggshell that protects the pores. It is also called the egg's cuticle. It keeps the egg from drying out, and keeps bacteria from getting in. It also keeps the yolk and the white of the egg from being contaminated by any flavors or odors in the external environment.

Eggs are washed before they are sent to your local market; this takes off the chicken poo, but it also takes off the bloom. Egg packers will often give eggs a light coating of mineral oil, as an artificial bloom.

Bloom (?), n. [OE. blome, fr. Icel. blm, blmi; akin to Sw. blom, Goth. blma, OS. blmo, D. bloem, OHG. bluomo, bluoma, G. blume; fr. the same root as AS. blwan to blow, blossom. See Blow to bloom, and cf. Blossom.]


A blossom; the flower of a plant; an expanded bud; flowers, collectively.

The rich blooms of the tropics. Prescott.


The opening of flowers in general; the state of blossoming or of having the flowers open; as, the cherry trees are in bloom.

"Sight of vernal bloom."



A state or time of beauty, freshness, and vigor; an opening to higher perfection, analogous to that of buds into blossoms; as, the bloom of youth.

Every successive mother has transmitted a fainter bloom, a more delicate and briefer beauty. Hawthorne.


The delicate, powdery coating upon certain growing or newly-gathered fruits or leaves, as on grapes, plums, etc. Hence: Anything giving an appearance of attractive freshness; a flush; a glow.

A new, fresh, brilliant world, with all the bloom upon it. Thackeray.


The clouded appearance which varnish sometimes takes upon the surface of a picture.


A yellowish deposit or powdery coating which appears on well-tanned leather.


7. Min.

A popular term for a bright-hued variety of some minerals; as, the rose-red cobalt bloom.


© Webster 1913.

Bloom, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Bloomed (#); p. pr. & vb. n. Blooming.]


To produce or yield blossoms; to blossom; to flower or be in flower.

A flower which once In Paradise, fast by the tree of life, Began to bloom. Milton.


To be in a state of healthful, growing youth and vigor; to show beauty and freshness, as of flowers; to give promise, as by or with flowers.

A better country blooms to view,
Beneath a brighter sky. Logan.


© Webster 1913.

Bloom, v. t.


To cause to blossom; to make flourish.


Charitable affection bloomed them. Hooker.


To bestow a bloom upon; to make blooming or radiant.



While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day. Keats.


© Webster 1913.

Bloom, n. [AS. blma a mass or lump, isenes blma a lump or wedge of iron.] Metal. (a)

A mass of wrought iron from the Catalan forge or from the puddling furnace, deprived of its dross, and shaped usually in the form of an oblong block by shingling.


A large bar of steel formed directly from an ingot by hammering or rolling, being a preliminary shape for further working.


© Webster 1913.

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