Beggars and Choosers by Nancy Kress

 

Science Fiction

Beggars and Choosers (Beggars Trilogy (also known as Sleepless Trilogy)) Beggars and ChoosersNancy Kress; Tor Science Fiction 1996WorldCatThis novel deals with the implications of genetic modeling of people. It is a self-contained sequel to her novel Beggars in Spain. In the first novel people were in the early stages of genetic modification. Now the population of the United States has two major classes of people. The donkeys, or those who have been genetically modified, run the government. They pay for everything. The Livers, or the normal people, have to do very little. Everything is provided by the donkeys.

There is one other group that is very important to this story. They are the Super Sleepless, a small group of humans who have been modified to be super intelligent. They have developed nanotechnology to the point that these tiny machines can build organically as well as inorganically.

Three people basically tell their story in first person voice. One is a donkey who has been given a spy assignment to find out what the Super Sleepless are trying to do. One is a Liver who has spent most of his life under this fairly new culture. Livers don’t have to work or to acquire. They were given everything needed. The third is a Liver who was raised by the first generation of Sleepless, and now lives with the Super Sleepless. This Liver was injured and paralyzed as a boy. After the physically disabling injury, he developed his intellect to where he could perform concerts of mass hallucination.

This is a well crafted book. The author has done her scientific homework as well as her political and social issues homework. I enjoyed the book as I was reading it.

Unfortunately, the end fell off. The big unanswered question is “Where does humankind go from here?” The end tried to address that somewhat. It did a poor job of bringing the satisfactory answers together.

More books by Nancy Kress

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