Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Finished Kate Wilhelm’s “Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang” which won the Hugo for best sci-fi novel in 1977.

There’s an end of the world scenario, along the lines of “On The Beach” perhaps, due to pollution and atomic wars.  The human race and, indeed, all animal life, is dying out, unable to reproduce.  The outlook is grim.

But wait!  We’ve got clones!  We’ll clone our way to a new future, and the old versions of humanity be damned.  Well, at least there will be some survival of humanity in some form, and that’s good, right?

Well, no.  It turns out clones are assholes.  They’re very clicky.  They don’t play well with non-clones.  They can’t leave the confines of the settlement (woods are scary).  They’re immoral and don’t consider regular humans to be worth much.  And they continually lose the ability to think independently with each generation.  [Oh yeah, and they have this group-mind association thingy if they’re from the same batch … for some reason.]

Luckily, there are a few humans who have begun breeding again and I’m sure one of them will find a way to outwit the evil clones and begin again.

There’s some decent relationship stuff here, and the idea of an empty world to explore and resettle works well in this book.  There wasn’t much of an explanation given as to why the clone copies would get so bad at things like imagination and creativity, but whatever.

I could recommend this one as it is a short read and I found I didn’t mind it.  It’s kind of an anachronism, but it’s ok to read those, as it shows you what some folks were thinking about ‘back then’.

Individuality, yeah!

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