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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 (203 )
5 star
 (77)
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3 star
 (37)
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1 star
 (8)
Overall
3.9 (101 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (98 )
5 star
 (45)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (11)
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
    176
    ratings
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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
  •  
    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 4 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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank 08-15-09
    Frank 08-15-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    B. McIver San Angelo, Texas 07-09-10
    B. McIver San Angelo, Texas 07-09-10 Member Since 2009
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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
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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;)

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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
  •  
    Joshua VALLEJO, CA, United States 03-09-15
    Joshua VALLEJO, CA, United States 03-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fantastic story"

    I'd been hearing about this book for so long. I finally gave in, and gorged myself on it. It was fantastic. I'll say that you can tell that first "book" was the original novella (it was amazing), but it did have growing pains when the author introduced the other viewpoints. Overall it was still great. 5 Stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    teresa 04-02-12
    teresa 04-02-12
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    "Interesting Topic"
    Would you listen to Beggars in Spain again? Why?

    Interesting story. Liked the character and plot development for both characters and changes in the behavior of the United States population.The sleepless do seem to have all of the advantages until later in the book, when you realize they have needs and limitations, same as all human beings. I hated the leader of the sleepless Sanctuary, a testament to Ms. Kress' writing because I usually don't care enough about the characters to actively hate them after I put the book down.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The fact that the main sleepless character softened into a member of the human race.


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    Ms. Campbell has a gift for voice inflection. She does not rely on over-dramatization or drastic changes in pitch or tone (men v. women for instance); minor changes to inflection set mood, character and frame of mind.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I found myself hating Jennifer Sharifi, the champion for the Sanctuary more than usual for any good book I read.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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