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.