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.
"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)
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.
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.
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?"
The first two thirds of this book was pretty good. The premise was interesting and how The two societies of sleepless and sleepers grew and came into conflict was very well developed. However it is not very exciting and after 12 hours of listening I was just bored. I did not finish this book.
A similar idea of super intelligent and competent people and what they owe or do not owe the lesser mortals is more interesting and exciting in books by Ayn Rand
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you can recall what your world looked like in 1993, and then listened to this book, I would say the author did her homework, or was channelling a slanted futuristic version of 1984. Well worth the listen.
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