- Publisher: Collier Books; Reprint edition (Jun. 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0020264828
- ISBN-13: 978-0020264828
- Product Dimensions: 2 x 10.9 x 18 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,557,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang Paperback – 1 Jun 1991
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"The best novel about cloning written to date."--"Locus"
"Kate Wilhelm's cautionary message comes through loud and clear."--"The New York Times"
"One of the best treatments of cloning in SF."--"The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction"
The best novel about cloning written to date. "Locus"
Kate Wilhelm's cautionary message comes through loud and clear. "The New York Times"
One of the best treatments of cloning in SF. "The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction""
"The best novel about cloning written to date." --Locus
"Kate Wilhelm's cautionary message comes through loud and clear." --The New York Times
"One of the best treatments of cloning in SF." --The New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'If all SF was as finely crafted as WHERE LATE THE SWEET BIRDS SANG, we'd have great cause to rejoice' VECTOR --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
It is not a character driven novel, which I generally look for so it's all the more impressive how this hauntingly beautiful novel has remained with me.this is also why the first part of the book is perhaps not so captivating.
It is the gentle elegiac latter part of the novel which is its triumph. This is a haunting tale of the last people where the earth is reasserting itself. The age of man is over but it is a beautiful depiction of Nature flourishing, more wistful than sad.
From this starting point, the book is told in three distinct parts. The first section covers the period when the cloning facilities are being set up against a background of a world society in the throes of collapse. Part two is a look after several clone generations have occurred and an expedition is made to one of ruined cities to salvage needed high-tech supplies for the continuing cloning operation. The expedition exposes both the strength and the weakness of the clone groups, as they find it almost impossible to remain sane when separated from their clone 'brothers' and 'sisters'. One expedition member, Molly, grows so far away from her sisters under the stress that she really becomes an individual. Part three covers the final battle between clones and individuals, as Molly's son Mark grows up as the only 'single' in the group.
Thematically, this book is tautly conceived and executed.Read more ›
The book is divided into three parts. The first part describes the breakdown of society and the attempts of an extended family to survive a more-or-less unspecified collection of disasters in their ranch in an isolated valley. They set up a hospital there in order to carry out their own research into the problems facing the world, and it is found that cloning is the only way that the human race can avoid extinction. A small proportion of the population remains fertile, but not enough to survive. However, the clones are sterile and after three of four generations of a particular line none of them survive. The fertile women are therefore used to produce as many children as possible in order to introduce new individuals into the gene pool. The second and third parts of the book follow later generations of the group as larger and larger groups of each particular clone are produced. There is an increased necessity to forage for supplies in the long dead cities, but the clones struggle when separated from the collective 'hive mind' and hence such expeditions are very dangerous.
An interesting examination of the effects of removing individuality from a society, but not exactly action packed. It wasn't my favourite of the SF Masterworks series, but it's a good book and definitely worth a look if you like thought provoking sci-fi with a basis in reality.
Other reviewers have noted that the book is about the individual versus conformity. That's true as far as it goes, and it certainly boils the plot down to its bare essence, but it doesn't go far enough. The book is also about nature versus nurture, the pressures of family life, the generation gap, the abuse of power by elites, and how we relate to the environment. Intriguingly, the "individualist" theme isn't pursued from a right-wing perspective, as it so (too) often is in SF. It's a true novel of ideas, and it absolutely fizzes with them. It's also a novel of character (and character development): the protagonist, the non-clone Mark, is complex and cleverly portrayed, while the clone characters are portrayed with various degrees of individuation, which is exactly appropriate to the book's theme.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this on the strength of the good reviews and there are some good ideas concerning the fate of a cloned society, but this has to be one of the most boring books that I have... Read morePublished on 12 Jun. 2014 by Peter Bailey
I'm afraid I can't comment too specifically on the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of the science, but I can say that I tore through the book at a ridiculous pace, once I'd started I... Read morePublished on 4 Oct. 2012 by Robin White
This is a Hugo Award winning SF novel from the mid-1970s.
It is set across a number of years starting with an environmental catastrophe as a result of an unspecified... Read more
Brillaint book especially when you consider when it was written. A great indicator of what can happen to society as the result of its dependence on technology. Read morePublished on 14 Jun. 1999
I went into the reading of this book as a dreaded high school assignment some time ago, and came away with a haunting image of a society losing individuality and imagination. Read morePublished on 27 Mar. 1999