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Beggars in Spain Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1994


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Science Fictio; Reprint edition (March 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380718774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380718771
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.7 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 218 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,003,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
THEY SAT STIFFLY ON HIS ANTIQUE EAMES CHAIRS, TWO PEOple who didn't want to be here, or one person who didn't want to and one who resented the other's reluctance. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a nice short story about a future where there is highly advanced genetic engineering. It asks very interesting and very important questions. Read this for the questions it asks, but not necessarily the answers to those questions- make up your own mind.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A good friend sent me Beggars in Spain about a year ago, and I enjoyed it, but not enough for a reread.
Kress is an entertaining writer, but she does not always give her characters the depth that they ask for, and I found her science to be less than believable at times. She falls to the trap of many science fiction writers and treats science more like magic in a fantasy book than like real science. It just happens. There aren't any magic wands, but there might as well be for the ease with which the characters tinker with genetics. A certain amount of suspension of belief is definitely required, but even then my logical side nagged at me as I read the book.
Perhaps my quibble with the science of the book would not be so large if the characters and plot had been more engaging. Amusing, yes, interesting, yes, a good way to occupy a few hours, yes. But at the end of it all, I was left with that telltale feeling of disappointment and longing, as if the author could have done a lot more with her plot and characters. I cannot help but compare the book to Octavia Butler's excellent "Wind Seed," for their basic plots, if not their settings, are very similar. In "Wild Seed," the characters are so engaging and fascinating that whatever faulty logic may have existed was made nonexistant in the face of the conflict between two superhuman beings. "Beggars in Spain" tried, but failed, to do the same.
If you read voraciously as I do, this is a good way to occupy a couple of hours. However, if you read less often I'd suggest you go for something with better quality than this, something that is great, not just okay.
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By Melissa McCauley on June 7 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 father, Leisha Camden, who is beautiful, blonde, intelligent, and who does not need to sleep. The story follows Leisha's growing up in an America that gradually grows to hate and resent Leisha and her peers. Leisha is one of the most three-dimensional characters I have ever read, and I agonized with her over the moral decisions she was forced to make. Calls into question everyone's rights as citizens and human beings. Was there ever a good decision made by committee? Is any man good enough to govern another without their consent? Like Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, but without the mind-numbing twenty-page speeches. Every time I read this novel, I get something different from it. A perennial favorite, I cannot recommend it enough if you like a good moral dilemma.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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. These people were genetically engineered to not need sleep. The need/benefits of sleep have been removed for the. Sheesh, if this is bad science, what about Star Trek?
Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. I highly recommend it as a great read.
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By A Customer on March 10 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 ravaging effects of sleep deprivation on health) or genetics (which she treats like big on and off switches).
Because the book was so highly recommended to me I attempted to enjoy it in spite of theses flaws. But the characters were flat and didn't seem grounded in reality at all. Their conversations never sounded true or honest. Instead they seemed like tele-marketers reading scripts to one another. The whole book seemed to boil down to a hair care commercial touting,"Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful" as a central philosophy.
Over all I would say that this book this was one of the most hateful reads I have ever endured.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read 'Beggars in Spain' six or seven years ago and I enjoyed it then. I've found that the better stories age well; come back a few years later and they still engage your heart and your mind. This is one of those stories.
Nancy Kress illustrates a fast approaching issue - the impact of genetic engineering - with well-drawn characters in realistic situations. The premise is science has learned how to engineer humans such that they no longer need to sleep. Obviously, the "sleepless" have a huge advantage over the "sleepers," and Kress explores the chasm that develops between the two classes of humans. Not to give away the story, but the "sleepless" have additional gifts that notch up the intensity significantly.
My only complaint is that the story seems to run out of gas toward the end. Kress has ably developed the issues, but doesn't bring the plot to a definitive climax. Nevertheless, 'Beggars in Spain' is an excellent story, one that will stay with you over the years.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After I read this book I immediately bought the others in the series. What an idea and what a better execution!!! With all the reports popping up every day about the widespread lack of sleep in our society, this may be an idea whose time has arrived.
The author specializes in dialogue and thoughts and the tales of SMART (vs smarmy/hateful/creepy/sassy/whining) kids and their trials and tribulations was superbly written (similar in thrust to the Ender series). It is difficult to imagine ordinary folks becoming agents of hate and revenge, but what lurks right under the veneer of civilization? All in all, this was the superior of the series as is most often the case. That does not mean that you should skip the others, and the author continually introduces new ideas and curve balls to keep the action flowing and suspense suspenseful. The author also attempts what few sci-fi writers dare - a scientific explanation of the sci-fi within the book. Grab the series for a long vacation read at the beach.
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