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Author: Nancy Kress

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 98 pages

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: 1991

Publisher: Phoenix Pick – An Imprint of Arc Manor

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This story first appeared in ‘Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.’

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Firstly, I feel compelled to mention the fact that this novella was written over 25 years ago. Seriously, think about that! The author sets her story in a future that should be taking place NOW: in present day 2015. Obviously some of her ideas have come to pass, there are people manipulating genes, but so far we have (thankfully) not yet reached the stage where we can custom order our children.

Elizabeth and Roger Camden want a daughter. They visit the best facility that offers genetic modifications of the baby.

Their requests seem fairly standard: they want their daughter to have a predisposition for musical ability, to be blonde, to have green eyes, to be tall, to have a genetic disposition towards a slender build, “the full array of corrections for any potential gene-linked health problem,” and they want her to have no need to sleep.

The ‘no sleep’ modification is not general knowledge. It is new and still in the testing phase, but Roger Camden does not care. He wants his daughter to have that modification and he is willing to do or pay anything to ensure that she gets it.

After the successful IVF treatment Elizabeth becomes pregnant. When the doctor informs her that she is carrying twins and that only one of the twins will be genetically modified, Elizabeth is elated. It turns out that she had not wanted an altered child, she wanted a natural child.

Though this novella only consists of less than 100 pages, it is able to contain a huge storyline and a wealth of information.

It is my understanding that the author took the ideas and story from this novella and expanded them into a series of novels. Those novels are definitely being added to my TO READ list.

I have read some recent reviews that state that the ideas in this novella are old and stale. I disagree. This book was written in 1991. The ideas and concepts contained in this story were very much innovative for their time.

I am rating this novella based on the fact that it was written so long ago as 5 out of 5 stars.

I love the idea of sleepless people. They would definitely have an advantage over the rest of us “Sleepers.”

I also enjoyed the fact that Nancy Kress explored human nature. It is so true that people tend to hate and/or fear those who are different from the rest of us. She also acknowledges the envy people feel toward the “Sleepless” and people’s desire to destroy anything or anyone that they perceive as better than themselves.

This novella has won multiple awards including The Hugo Award and the Nebula Award.

This is a great short read and I encourage all Science Fiction fans to read this original novella.


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