Wednesday, March 30, 2011

where late the sweet birds sang by Kate Wilhelm

On the trip back from spring training, I finished reading where late the sweet birds sang by Kate Wilhelm. Looking through the list of Hugo award winners recently, the book caught my eye. It won the 1977 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel and was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1976. The title of the book is a quotation from William Shakespeare's Sonnet 73.

In the story, massive environmental changes and global disease, attributed to large-scale pollution, cause the collapse of civilization around the world. Through an experiment in cloning, an isolated post-holocaust community built around an extended family tries to survive. This is a book about individualism; it is an examination of the struggle between individualism and collectivism.

Unless you are trying to check off a list of award winners like I am, it is not a book I recommend. It is an interesting look at science fiction before William Gibson's paradigm shifting Neuromancer was published in 1984. Unfortunately, the plot is simplistic and it seems to me that the science is bad.

Interestingly, the cover art on the first edition hardback is by M. C. Escher.

1 comment:

  1. Have you read the trilogy "The Hunger Games"? I think that you might like them.