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Beggars in Spain [Paperback]

Nancy Kress
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 2004
PLEASE NOTE: This is the original novella which won the Hugo and Nebula awards. Leisha Camden is a genetically engineered 'Sleepless.' Her ability to stay awake all the time has not only made her more productive, but the genetic modifications have also given the 'Sleepless' a higher IQ and may even make them immortal. Are they the future of humanity? Or will the small community of 'sleepless' be hunted down as freaks by a world that has grown wary of its newest creation?
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Eos; Reprint edition (Dec 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060733489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060733483
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 13.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,018,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
They sat stiffly on his antique Eames chairs, two people who didn't want to be here, or one person who didn't want to and one who resented the other's reluctance. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Nancy Kress has written a wonderful book about the dangers and potential wonders that await us if we attempt to interfere with our evolutionary destiny. The book concerns a revolutionary treatment that allows parent to specify that their children do not need to sleep. The results of this treatment soon become apparent to the parents (many of whom cannot bear the constant bawling of the sleepless infants) and to society at large. The sleepless children are ... better than other kids, in all fields. They are more intellectually curious, more at ease in themselves - and, fatally, more intelligent than their non-adjusted peers. There is the inevitable backlash from society, and we see the results through twin sisters, one of whom is sleepless, while the other is not. Eventually, the sleepless create their own society, and the consequences of their retreat from society are explored (with no little relish).
All the while I was reading this book, I was rooting for a particular faction of the sleepless (because Ms. Kress portrays them as humans, with arguments and fallings out, not, on the whole, as ubermensch). The reason I did not give the book five stars is the curiously unaffecting - and, for me, given the strength of the rest of the book, disappointing - ending. But it remains a wholly satisfying read, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an intelligent treatment of the possibilities afforded by genetic engineering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mustard with Kress 25 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came across the original long story by accident, in an anthology, and was really affected by both the premise and her beautiful writing - can't believe I've never heard of her before and am on a mission to catch up now, starting with the novel version of BIS. I take the other reviewers' point about the slightly muted ending but I think (hope) that's because she intended to write a sequel - indeed, I believe it's called 'Beggars and Choosers' and I want to get both.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book that discusses moral issues 22 Jan 2006
By Zoeg
Format:Paperback
This is an amazing novel that I discovered when I was 17. I fell in love with the idea of a society that rejected those who had been created 'different', and the consequences of that same rejection. I revisit the novel every couple of years, and find that the issues are still as novel ten years later.
A wonderful story that discusses moral issues through convincing and admirable characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars where it all started 20 Mar 2014
By Kaya
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Who really cares about the beggars? In Spain If you have it all how much would you give away or want to even consider parting with. As genetic modification leads to the birth of people who never need to sleep the world is irrevocably changed
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading more than once 14 Dec 2003
Format:Paperback
I first read 'Beggars in Spain' six or seven years ago and I enjoyed it then. I've found that the better stories age well; come back a few years later and they still engage your heart and your mind. This is one of those stories.
Nancy Kress illustrates a fast approaching issue - the impact of genetic engineering - with well-drawn characters in realistic situations. The premise is science has learned how to engineer humans such that they no longer need to sleep. Obviously, the "sleepless" have a huge advantage over the "sleepers," and Kress explores the chasm that develops between the two classes of humans. Not to give away the story, but the "sleepless" have additional gifts that notch up the intensity significantly.
My only complaint is that the story seems to run out of gas toward the end. Kress has ably developed the issues, but doesn't bring the plot to a definitive climax. Nevertheless, 'Beggars in Spain' is an excellent story, one that will stay with you over the years.
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