Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Downloadable Audiobook - 2006 | Unabridged
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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.
Publisher: [United States] : Blackstone Audio, Inc. : Made available through hoopla, 2006
Edition: Unabridged
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (480 min.)) : digital
Additional Contributors: Fields, Anna
hoopla digital
ISBN: 9781455108459
1455108456

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b
buirechain
Jul 03, 2012

First off, this presents an absolutely fascinating take on apocalyptic fiction. Though I disagree with some of the propositions she put forth, it left me wishing that I had a friend who was reading it that I could discuss and debate the implications with. It's a fascinating examinations on the nature of humanity.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to care much for human nature. And this, unlike a lot of science fiction of its day, seems to be trying to build the story telling around characterization.

The only characters who have much definition are the three POV characters from the three sections. (Some characters are little more than names reacting to the main characters). Molly, the heroine of the middle section, doesn't even become fleshed out until part way through her section. I had trouble caring at all as she experienced turmoil because it was that turmoil that eventually made her interesting. There wasn't anything in her background, her interests, her faults, that could set her apart at the beginning.

Part of the problem is that the clones seem to be so different that they can't be understood by naturally born humans. Which is an interesting idea, but I really wish Wilhelm would have given us some ideas about how they varied from one to the next. It meant that the reader can only take the author's word and accept that the early generations of clones are also far different from the later generations. The reader does not seem for themself.

And one final gripe. (And maybe this is symptomatic). At the end of one chapter, Celia, who I thought was going to be a main character, is described as falling down unconcious. It took me the better part of the next chapter, and going back in the book ( a non trivial task in the audiobook ) to realize that she had, in fact died. It's never made clear.

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