Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm

 

Science FictionWhere late the sweet birds sang Where Late the Sweet Birds SangKate Wilhelm; Orb 1998WorldCatMankind is dying. He has polluted the Earth beyond redemption. The Sumner family has recognized that the Earth has less than two years before famines and plagues start killing the people in the world. They spend their wealth to build a hospital and a hidden underground research facility. They stockpile every type of supply they can. And they continue experiments with clones.

The Sumner family was correct. They isolate themselves in their valley near the Shenandoah River. They soon discover the only hope for long term survival is through the clones. All the people who were alive while the atmosphere and ecosystem were disintegrating are now sterile.

As the cloned humans are born and grow, they are a bit different from their original hosts. Like clones seem to have an extra unspoken communication between them. More generations of clones are born. The research now focuses not only producing cloned humans who are capable of sexual reproducing, but also of better clones.

Kate Wilhelm has written a different type of dystopic story. Instead of viewing what happens around the country or world, the family is the focal point of the book. Each new generation of clones and babies changes more from the original humans in the Sumner family. Eventually their hoarded supplies run low and they have to venture out of the valley. We get glimpses of what happened to the rest of the world.

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is a fascinating story. This is one of many twists of genetic tampering. Issues surrounding the problems with continuous cloning are discussed. The Sumner family provided for themselves very well materially. The personalities and education, though, are different issues.

More books by Kate Wilhelm

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