the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘cloning

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, by Kate Wilhelm

published 1976

where I got it: purchased used copy

 

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I’ve been looking for a copy of this book for years.  I had no idea what the book was about, couldn’t seem to find a copy to save my life, so when I did finally find a copy in a used bookstore, I didn’t care that the cover art was obscured by an ugly sticker, I didn’t care that the ratty paperback appeared to be a library discard, I didn’t care that the back cover copy had a glaring spelling error. THIS BOOK WAS MINE NOW. FINALLY. (yes, i know about Amazon. Yes, I know about ABE books.  The joy of visiting used bookstores is better than anything on Amazon or Abe)

 

Described as a cautionary, quiet science fiction novel about surviving an apocalypse, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang won the Hugo, the Locus, the Jupiter, and the Campbell award, and was nominated for the Nebula award.   Along with her husband, Damon Knight, Kate Wilhelm was among the authors who started the Clarion Workshop. Kate Wilhelm passed away at the age of 89, in March of 2018.

 

As the story opens, it’s not so much an extinction level event that begins the apocalypse, more a slow death of a thousand cuts. Radiation leaks, soil that can no longer sustain agriculture, outbreaks of disease, famines, droughts, all which lead to riots and civil unrest.

 

The wealthy Sumner family wasn’t entirely sure what was happening or why, but they knew something horrible was on the horizon, so they planned. A valley full of livestock. A privately funded hospital full of everything they could purchase. A private mill for electricity. Underground bunkers.

 

The goal was for the entire extended family to be self sustaining, no matter what happened to the rest of the world. What they never saw coming was the sterility, the dead children, the lost pregnancies. What’s the point of planning for survival if no one can have babies?   If you can’t create babies the old fashioned way, learn how to make them a new way: through cloning. But even the clones couldn’t naturally have children, so that was another scientific puzzle for the scientists in the family to solve.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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