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Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976)

de Kate Wilhelm

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,546578,477 (3.84)111
When the first warm breeze of Doomsday came wafting over the Shenandoah Valley, the Sumners were ready. Using their enormous wealth, the family had forged an isolated post holocaust citadel. Their descendants would have everything they needed to raise food and do the scientific research necessary for survival. But the family was soon plagued by sterility, and the creation of clones offered the only answer. And that final pocket of human civilization lost the very human spirit it was meant to preserve as man and mannequin turned on one another. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity and rigorous in its science, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic and hard science fiction. It won science fiction's Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication and is as compelling today as it was then.… (més)
  1. 31
    Un món feliç de Aldous Huxley (rat_in_a_cage)
    rat_in_a_cage: Hinweis auf Rückentext bei »Hier sangen früher Vögel«.
  2. 10
    The Long Tomorrow de Leigh Brackett (LamontCranston)
  3. 10
    The World Inside de Robert Silverberg (gaialover)
    gaialover: Dystopian society with controls against individualism and mandated polyamory.
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» Mira també 111 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 57 (següent | mostra-les totes)
An interesting story. I'm intrigued by the repeated themes of creation and destruction — not to mention their combination in the idea of flawed perfection, such as with Molly's portraits. David's attempt to destroy the mill when he realizes his clones are eliminating individuality dovetails nicely with Mark's destructive pranks later — which we learn are actually necessary to perpetuate humanity, as the clones do not have the imagination to see their own demise (another repeated theme, given that apparently only one extended family in the entire world has the foresight to establish a long-term, self-sustaining community to outlast the coming destruction). The end is clearly not an end, but another iteration in the cycle, although we might hope otherwise.

I particularly liked the way that Wilhelm wrote characters out of the story. Another writer might have been tempted to give a hint as to what happened to David or Molly and the others who leave. Except for the party that dies of radiation poisoning outside of Philly (a particularly disturbing image for me personally, as I was born in that great city!), we never get a clear idea about the fates of anyone who leaves the valley. The probability that they meet some doom lingers at the back of the mind throughout the story, yet there's always a glimmer of expectation that we might run across them at the end. Not knowing for sure is a more haunting proposition than revealing that they did indeed suffer some calamity, if only because there's the possibility that they did not.

Finally, Wilhelm does a great job at showing both the anxiety and inevitability (or inexorability) of parenthood. While we might like to think we have an influence on successive generations, ultimately they will do what they want themselves. The best we can do is to do the best we can do; rather than trying to force others, either older or younger, to do what we want, we should acknowledge our lack of power over the ever-slowly-changing zeitgeist and work to make things as good as we can. There's a huge potential for social commentary here — from the Baby Boomers retiring and its implication on job and retirement security for their kids and grandkids, to the ongoing developments in civil liberties...or violations thereof.

If I have a criticism of Wilhelm's book, it's that in some spots she seems to miss opportunities to make things a little clearer. In particular, many of Mark's movements seem a little too instantaneous, especially near the end, but even throughout the rest of the story there are places where physical or temporal jumps are made which aren't very clear. Also, in a few spots it would be nice to know how old some of the characters are — for the most part, it's not necessary, but having a better understanding of ages might also help to understand the relationships between some of the characters, especially since as we begin dealing with so many clones at various stages of development. All in all, though, these are relatively minor, but I feel it pulled me enough out of the story to make it not quite a 5-star rating: I'd give this 4.5 stars out of 5 if Goodreads allowed half-stars. ( )
  octoberdad | Dec 16, 2020 |
Sensible enough
more so than Clonus Horror
that's not saying much. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
1977 Hugo winner for best novel.

We've got some serious competition out here for best dystopia, but what about the old SF classics that decided to do it first, and often better, than all the modern trash out here?

Sure, there's a seriously 70's vibe here, man, with all the deep concerns for community versus individuality, but it's not like we've really outgrown the issues. You can read the novel as a deep condemnation for conformity and group-think and the logical extremes of extroversion and as a reader identify with the introverted outcasts and their iconoclast talents, even if such things are considered, among most, as a euthanizable offence. Sound familiar, modern YA dystopia readers?

Well this isn't a YA novel, either. It starts out as a pretty horrific descent into chaos as the world turns sterile and plagues decimate the population, but fortunately, for the deeply optimistic and appreciated optimism of SF of the day, science comes to the rescue... with Clones! Cool, right?

Just think, an Army of Clones! I mean, it's such a classic idea, right? I mean, first Star Wars did it, and then everyone just... ooh... wait... I think I'm mixing up cause and effect here... Still, this novel isn't a war novel. If anything, it's a bit humorous watching a nature boy lead a bunch of cloned children through the forest to go on raids. Sure, the world has gone to hell, but Science Wins. I can't fault the optimism, and all of these characters are very well drawn.

We've taken free love into whole new territories, decided that art therapy can have seriously bad repercussions, and that individuals really out to be allowed to be, you know, individual. :) But I did find it just as fascinating to see how their society dealt with Extreme Communalism. :) Scary, too. The breeding farms were major-ick.

I would have been killed as a kid as a nonfunctional unit. :) They'd have expressed sympathy and all, but it doesn't change the fact that I'd be pasteurized.

This may not be my favorite SF novel ever, mind you, but I really enjoyed it. It didn't decide to be very dark and wallow in all the things that modern dystopias pride themselves on... like complete and utter hopelessness. :)

Definitely a worthwhile read. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I loved this book so much, the last line actually had me giddy. There's three parts to this, and each was fully worth 5 stars in their own right. The characters were multi-layered and interesting, and Wilhelm did an amazing job in making you care about them, so that when something bad happened you actually felt it.

And the plot was simply amazing. Unique, and clever, and makes you ask questions about what it means to be human, and how important the individual is when the fate of the entire community is on the line.

I can't wait to trawl through the rest of this author's work. ( )
  Fardo | Oct 15, 2019 |
Where to start about this book? First, its prediction of the “end of the world” is so close to our current issue with Global Warming and Climate Change, it is almost terrifying.
But the real cleverness in this book is the characters and the idea these grapple with – how much would one sacrifice to see the human race survive? And what is the balance between self and community?
The book is divided into three parts. The first concerns the beginning, when the last humans created the clones. The middle tells what happens when the clones inadvertently trigger the individuality that had been buried in them. And the last section, what happens when a true individual gets tossed into a community of clones.
It’s hard to explain why this book is so good. But the characters are what compel the story forward. It is the characters, rich and complex, that snares the reader and drags them into the story, only to let one surface at the end.
For anyone who wants a truly great science fiction read, this is it! ( )
  empress8411 | Mar 21, 2019 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 57 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Mit großem erzählerischem Talent gelingt Kate Wilhelm eine glaubwürdige und spannende Dystopie, die völlig zu Recht zu den Klassikern der Science Fiction Literatur gezählt wird.
 
Fabulous story, deep thoughts cleverly disguised by amazing character development.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (13 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Wilhelm, Kateautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Chong, VincentAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Escher, M. C.Autor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Fields, AnnaNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mahlow, RenéTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Morrill, RowenaAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Sargent, PamelaIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Thole, KarelAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tuttle, LisaIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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For Valerie, Kris, and Leslie, with love
Für Valerie,
Kris und Leslie,
in Liebe
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What David always hated most about the Sumner family dinners was the way everyone talked about him as if he were not there.
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In der zeitlosen Periode wurde das Leben selbst das Ziel, nicht die Wiederbeschaffung der Vergangenheit oder die raffinierte Planung der Zukunft.
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When the first warm breeze of Doomsday came wafting over the Shenandoah Valley, the Sumners were ready. Using their enormous wealth, the family had forged an isolated post holocaust citadel. Their descendants would have everything they needed to raise food and do the scientific research necessary for survival. But the family was soon plagued by sterility, and the creation of clones offered the only answer. And that final pocket of human civilization lost the very human spirit it was meant to preserve as man and mannequin turned on one another. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity and rigorous in its science, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic and hard science fiction. It won science fiction's Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication and is as compelling today as it was then.

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