Kate Wilhelm, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976)

Finding themselves faced with economic and environmental collapse on a global scale, a wealthy extended family seeks refuge in the mountains, where they hope to survive and build a new community.  When they realise that radiation and pollution have lead to high levels of infertility, they resort to using their DNA to create clones, who they intend to raise as their own children with the hope that they will be able to reproduce sexually again at some point in the future. However, as the clones grow up, it becomes apparent that they represent a different species of human and have their own ideas about how the community should develop. As you may have already guessed, it doesn’t involve returning to the old ways.

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SF is Love

Recently, I’ve been feeling the science fiction urge, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to read some of the classics and catch up on newer stuff.   With the help of the NPR’s Top 100 science fiction and fantasy books, I’ve compiled a reading list and, thanks to the library and local secondhand bookshop, made a start on working my way through it.  I’m currently reading Iain M. Banks’s Nebula nominated The Algebraist (2004) and Isaac Asimov’s classic, The Foundation Trilogy (1951). I also  got Roger Zelzany’s The Dream Master (1965) which won a Nebula and comes highly recommended by Ursula K. Le Guin, and Kate Wilheld’s Hugo winning Where Late the Sweet Birds Sing (1977).  From the more recent books, Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (1994) has been on my shelf for a while, and I got Maria Doria Russell’s The Sparrow (1996), which picked up a clutch of awards, plus Liz Williams’s Banner of Souls (2004) which looks like good dystopian fun.

And, just because it’s awesome, here’s a link to an article about the kind of discovery that inspires science fiction, a strange, black planet. Anyone want to have a go at a story about this?