To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang: A Novel Paperback – July 15, 1998
|New from||Used from|
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“The best novel about cloning written to date.” ―Locus
“Kate Wilhelm's cautionary message comes through loud and clear.” ―The New York Times
“One of the best treatments of cloning in SF.” ―The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
About the Author
Kate Wilhelm is the author of dozens of novels and short-story collections. Among them are the science fiction classic Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, the Constance and Charlie mysteries, and The Good Children. The recipient of many honors--the Prix Apollo, the Hugo Award, three Nebula Awards, and the Kurd Lasswitz Award--Ms. Wilhelm, along with her husband, Damon Knight, received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Michigan State University in recognition of their many years as instructors for the Clarion workshop in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Born in Ohio and raised in Kentucky, Ms. Wilhelm now lives in Eugene, Oregon, her home of many years.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
To bring about this society, Wilhelm starts with a fairly normal (for science fiction) scenario: due to man's constant pollution of the environment, new diseases appear, eventually either directly killing everyone (and almost all the land animal life also) or rendering them sterile. One group sees a way to save humanity by using cloning techniques, with some promise that after enough generations of cloning, some sexual reproductive capability will reappear.
From this starting point, the book is told in three distinct parts. The first section covers the period when the cloning facilities are being set up against a background of a world society in the throes of collapse. Part two is a look after several clone generations have occurred and an expedition is made to one of ruined cities to salvage needed high-tech supplies for the continuing cloning operation.Read more ›
This is not a new theme for science fiction - the Original Star Trek series had a number of such episodes, and the Grand Master Robert Heinlein visited this topic numerous times. "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang" has similarities to the Classic Trek episode "The Apple" and Heinlein's "Farnham's Freehold." But mainly I was reminded of Robert Silverberg's "A Time of Changes" - in both tales a society is developed and then from within that society arises an individual who must destroy the complacency of the society to save its people. In Wilhelm's book, an ecological catastrophe (and a development of human infertility) destroys the human race except a group of scientists that propogate themselves in the only way possible - by cloning. Thus a society of clones: family groups are a batch of 6-10 identical clones raised as a unit. Wilhelm introduces the notion of genetic ESP - basically accepting the supposed (but unproven) link that twins feel for each other (e.g. when one is hurt, the other senses something is wrong). Unfortunately, by cloning the exact same genetic material over and over, subsequent generations of clones become more and more specialised (one group is doctors, one group builds barns, etc.) until no one in the society has any initiative or imagination.Read more ›
Although the book deals with the subject of Cloning, it is really about the triumph of individualism in a clone society.
The story revolves around a little boy that was raised in secret by his rebellious mother, and the efforts of the clone society to make him fit in. Once discovered he becomes a big problem for the clone society, but the clone society also needs his unique talents. And as he grows into a man, the situation becomes worse and worse, until it comes to a head in the end.
As a book about individualism, this book is even better than Ayn Rands Anthem. Anthem will leave the reader sing praises of individualism. While this book leave the reader with a heartfelt appreciation of individualism and a deep understanding of the tension between of individualism and collectivism. It will touch your heart, your soul, and you mind.
I've read a lot of books, very few of them I'd rate as good, but this book is far better than good. Find this book, and read it today.
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is that kind of great science fiction, focusing on humans in a sci-fi setting. The book is about cloning, more or less. But actually, the themes run far deeper than a mere op/ed piece on a technological possibility. Cloning is used as the vehicle to explore the meaning of individuality, the uniqueness of a person, and the consequences of complete homogeneity.
If you like hard edge technological sci-fi, this book isn't for you. But if you're looking for excellent fiction that happens to be in the genre, I'd give this book a hearty recommendation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Where I work there's a "book exchange" - basically a table in a conference room where people drop off old paperbacks they don't want any more. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Bice
How good can a book be? Dunno, but I read this one in less than a day. You can hear the winds of time and feel the words filling the space as you peruse the pages of this... Read morePublished 3 months ago by gunnerThrax
A small scientific community in the mountains of western Virginia survives some kind of world-wide post apocalyptic event. Read morePublished 5 months ago by wooster
Book was as described. Fast service. I bought from hippo before and I will buy again.Published 5 months ago by steven j solberg
Living in a world where everyone looks like you and your four or five closest friends is probably the dream of an extreme narcissist (or a certain family that currently stars in a... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Michael Battaglia
As ecological catastrophe looms, David Sumner’s family takes humanity’s last gamble: in an attempt to preserve the human race in the face of global sterility, the Sumner clan holes... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Chris