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Beggars in Spain | [Nancy Kress]

Beggars in Spain

In a world where the slightest edge can mean the difference between success and failure, Leisha Camden is beautiful, extraordinarily intelligent, and one of a growing number of human beings who have been genetically modified to never require sleep. Once considered interesting anomalies, now Leisha and the other "Sleepless" are outcasts, victims of blind hatred, political repression, and shocking mob violence meant to drive them from human society and, ultimately, from Earth itself.
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Publisher's Summary

In a world where the slightest edge can mean the difference between success and failure, Leisha Camden is beautiful, extraordinarily intelligent, and one of a growing number of human beings who have been genetically modified to never require sleep.

Once considered interesting anomalies, now Leisha and the other "Sleepless" are outcasts, victims of blind hatred, political repression, and shocking mob violence meant to drive them from human society and, ultimately, from Earth itself.

But Leisha Camden has chosen to remain behind in a world that envies and fears her "gift," a world marked for destruction by a deadly conspiracy of freedom and revenge.

©1993 Nancy Kress; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Superb....An exquisite saga of biological advantages." (Denver Post)
"A depth of imagination unusual even among science fiction writers." (Analog)
"[T]hrilling drama, compelling dialectic." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (220 )
5 star
 (83)
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3 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (116 )
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3 star
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Story
4.1 (113 )
5 star
 (53)
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 (35)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Rachelle 09-23-09
    Rachelle 09-23-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    186
    ratings
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    225
    39
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    "Pleasantly Surprised"

    This book was kind of an impulse-buy for me, and I'm very glad I took a chance.

    The premise of the book is very good, but the execution is absolutely wonderful. The tone of the book is a little melancholy, but is not overly dark or negative.

    I haven't read any of Nancy Kress's books until now, but I'm looking forward to picking up the sequels that finish this trilogy.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Davenport Bethesda, MD 06-08-09
    James Davenport Bethesda, MD 06-08-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story, very well read"

    This is the first Nancy Kress book I've encountered, and its brilliant. She asks the question "What would the world be like if some people did not need sleep, were much smarter than everyone else, and did not grow old?" The characters are multi-dimensional and compelling, and the plot engaging. Cassandra Campbell does an amazing job of telling the story, with excellent voices and a great understanding of the book. I highly recommend it.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank 08-15-09
    Frank 08-15-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    "Frank"

    Ayn Rand could have ghost-written this book. Plausible, compelling sci-fi with a few interesting characters, but at times the narrative is preachy and heavy-handed. The plodding narrator bears much of the blame.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 11-15-11
    Mike 11-15-11
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    "Loose no sleep over this one"

    Rapidly degenerated into a sea of aimless names (they could not be called characters) bobbing in and out of the story at random - an anonymous photo album - notable for its absolute lack of action - a monolog on the family tree all the way to the droning, sleepy end.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. McIver San Angelo, Texas 07-09-10
    B. McIver San Angelo, Texas 07-09-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't waste your credit..."

    This book had such potential, and actually started out fairly interesting. By the end of the book I found I really didn't care about any of the characters, and it had completely lost my interest. It's a shame as I think I could have been so much better with deeper character development and a meaningful story line. In the end, I found myself asking "What's the point?"

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ullanta Claremont, CA, United States 04-29-14
    Ullanta Claremont, CA, United States 04-29-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good, recommended, though at times iffy!"

    This was a very listenable audiobook with some interesting ideas. It certainly held my attention and kept me involved. At the same time, it constantly seemed to be channeling other, similar books. Most frequently, "Atlas Shrugged", with many long-winded and somewhat repetitive passages about makers and takers, in the one-dimensionality of many of the characters, and in the (SPOILER?) decision of the makers to separate themselves (unlike Ayn Rand's, however, Kress does not seem to making a political statement with one "side" clearly in the right; this is a much more balanced examination of the societal split). Then we have similarities to Ender's Game, and other books about super children. And other similarities that have drifted from my mind... sorority stories? Animal Farm?

    And yet it remains readable and enjoyable. The premise is interesting. I often wished that the author had limited the extra abilities of the sleepless to just not sleeping, and gone into more detail about that. I mean, the brief touching upon parents who couldn't deal with babies that never slept was a glimpse into what could have been a really fascinating exploration; and I would have liked to see more of the psychological effects on adults of not sleeping - of no downtime, of no escape, of solitary nights, etc. In the book it's pretty much all up side, and augmented by several other "super powers"... I'd rather have seen more detail and more realistic balance of benefits and deficits of sleeplessness.





    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 09-13-12
    Mark Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 09-13-12 Member Since 2008

    I enjoy, epic and modern fantasy, science fiction, business, historical mystery, and technology books. Fav. series: Game of Thrones, Vampire Earth, Dresden, Iron Druid, Falco mysteries, Chris Anderson titles, Peaceful Warrior, and the Way of Kings (and more, of course;)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting concept and a well-written story."

    This is a very good book that considers some interesting questions about biological advancement and distinction in society.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LoneGunman 08-17-10
    LoneGunman 08-17-10
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    "Atlas Shrugged for paste-eaters"

    The central conceit of Beggars In Spain is "The elite will be persecuted jealously by proles but shall triumph in the end." No attempt is made, however, to explore *why.* There's a lot of talking *about* things happening and very few things actually happening... and one must accept beyond a reasonable doubt that the ability to work an extra eight hours a day will lead to utter and total world domination in the space of a generation.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seth St. Charles, MO, United States 05-16-15
    Seth St. Charles, MO, United States 05-16-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you loved Atlas Shrugged you might like..."
    What disappointed you about Beggars in Spain?

    Beggars in Spain is 'what if' a science fiction novel that assumes a modification in the world economy coupled with a modification in some members of the human race. The overly-simplistic modifications are not scientifically or sociologically very satisfying. The characters all wear either white or black hats and are melodramatic without complexity. It is a yawner, from start to finish.
    The book is not helped by Cassandra Campbell's marshmallow interpretation, which I find a bit irritating.


    What was most disappointing about Nancy Kress’s story?

    Like a lot of sci fi, the writing does not betray any particular skill or knowledge of human nature.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Cassandra Campbell?

    I would rather not, but if the book is good enough, I would.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miller Fenton, MO, United States 04-28-15
    Miller Fenton, MO, United States 04-28-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Enlightening and thought provoking"

    The story delved into the differences we all present to the world. No single group of disabused individuals can join and blame another group for their distress, everyone must take on that responsibility upon themselves.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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