Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Downloadable Audiobook - 2006
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Before becoming one of today's most intriguing and innovative mystery writers, Kate Wilhelm was a leading writer of science fiction, acclaimed for classics like The infinity box and The Clewiston test. Now one of her most famous novels returns to print, the spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning. 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: [Ashland, Or.] : Blackstone Audio, 2006.
ISBN: 9780786156740
0786156740
Additional Contributors: Fields, Anna 1965-2006.
Summary: Before becoming one of today's most intriguing and innovative mystery writers, Kate Wilhelm was a leading writer of science fiction, acclaimed for classics like The infinity box and The Clewiston test. Now one of her most famous novels returns to print, the spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning. 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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ginger_48
Feb 28, 2018

Just finished this book from 1976. It spoke of climate change, attempts to avoid the destruction and loss of the original vision. I really liked it and If you read it in the 70s try it again. I saw it with different eyes this reading. My younger self saw it as a condemnation of the path our world was on, now I see it as the resilience of the human spirit. my younger self had little sympathy for the Doctors and the clones but now I see that everything they do is to protect the status quo. They are directed by the past fears and actions of the founders.
David is a reluctant "rebel" by virtue of his birth. His presence is the disrupting factor in their utopia. He is hard for them to understand and no matter what they do to control him they cannot.

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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