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Many of us wish we could get by with less sleep. Beggars in Spain extrapolates that wish into a future where some people need no sleep at all. Nancy Kress, an award-winning author of novels, short stories, and columns on writing, has created another thoughtful but dramatic statement on social issues.
Leisha Camden was genetically modified at birth to require no sleep, and her normal twin Alice is the control. Problems and envy between the sisters mirror those in the larger world, as society struggles to adjust to a growing pool of people who not only have 30 percent more time to work and study than normal humans, but are also highly intelligent and in perfect health. The Sleepless gradually outgrow their welcome on Earth, and their children escape to an orbiting space station to set up their own society. But Leisha and a few others remain behind, preaching acceptance for all humans, Sleepless and Sleeper alike. With the conspiracy and revenge that unwinds, the world needs a little preaching on tolerance.
This thought-provoking though derivative book by the author of Brain Rose revists familiar territory. In 21st-century America, genetic engineering makes it possible for those who can afford it to become parents of improved, custom-made babies. The controversial procedure has produced a new breed that can function without sleep. Leisha Camden, daughter of a wealthy industrialist, is one of "the sleepless," who are endowed with remarkable intelligence and other genetic enhancements. A generation of prodigies, Leisha and her peers are resented by the rest of the population, who begin to persecute them. To escape violence, the Sleepless retreat to an armed camp, the Sanctuary, where for decades they fight to legitimize their existence in an increasingly hostile society. Leisha, a brilliant, idealistic lawyer, finds herself ostracized by both Sleepers and Sleepless as she struggles to bridge the widening gulf between the two groups. Meanwhile, the Sleepless must learn to deal with the prodigies among them. Kress competently handles a well-worn science fiction concept and raises some intriguing scientific and sociological issues. Her dialogue sometimes lapses into stilted philosophical arguments, however, and many of her characters are thinly drawn.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In the not-so-distant future, it becomes possible to genetically engineer children. This is the story of one such child built to the specifications of her wealthy industrialist... Read morePublished on June 7 2004 by Melissa McCauley
The reviewer who gives this book one star claiming Kress doen't understand the science of sleep is actually the one who does not understand science. Read morePublished on March 20 2004 by Too Cold in Madison
I was deeply disappointed with the science in this book. Clearly Nancy Kress hasn't bothered to do much research on sleep(its importance to long term memory) the immune system(the... Read morePublished on March 10 2004
After I read this book I immediately bought the others in the series. What an idea!!! With all the reports popping up every day about the widespread lack of sleep in our society,... Read morePublished on July 17 2003 by Avid Reader
Reading the reviews it seems as though this is a book full of references and echos. The Ayn Rand echos are noted, as are the Ender Wiggins-- I'll add one more. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2003 by frumiousb
I really enjoyed this book, right up until the end. Kress gives us a world full of great new ideas, very well thought out and believable. Read morePublished on April 21 2002 by Heliomphalodon Incarnadine
Before I read 'Beggars in Spain,' I read the short story that the novel is expanded from. To be honest, I thought turning such a powerful story into a novel would lessen its... Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2002 by A. Wolverton
Brilliant, thought-provoking stuff from one of my favorite authors. The implications of the creation of a superior branch of mankind is fully realized in a rich, detailed... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2002 by Joseph Prisco