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Book Beggars in Spain: The Original Hugo & Nebula Winning Novella

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Beggars in Spain: The Original Hugo & Nebula Winning Novella

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Beggars in Spain: The Original Hugo & Nebula Winning Novella.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Nancy Kress(Author)

    Book details


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?

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Book details

  • PDF | 100 pages
  • Nancy Kress(Author)
  • Phoenix Pick (October 15, 2011)
  • English
  • 6
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Review Text

  • By Peter Carrier on December 19, 2017

    This passage encapsulates the central premise of the book. After all, if time is money, how advantageous is it to have fully one-third more time than everyone else? Could such an advantage even be calculated in terms we could understand?“Beggars In Spain” certainly works as a parable for economic inequality and its potential consequences. It also offers a wonderful reminder that people generally fear what they don’t understand (and that most people understand far less than they would like to believe). Furthermore, it amply demonstrates that people are resistant to change that does not directly benefit them as an individual, ESPECIALLY when said change DOES directly benefit someone else.The book makes for awkward reading. The plot is interesting but the pacing is uneven. The tone is also inconsistent, ranging from omniscient objectivity to highly stream-of-conscious. On the one hand, the book could simply be telling a generational story; the narrative advancements support such a template. Unfortunately, the story continues to employ a protagonist that becomes more passive as the story progresses. As the central character invokes less agency on the events surrounding her, the audience becomes less engaged with her portion of the story. On the other hand, the book could be an unconventional character study, but lacks the complete focus on Leisha (and/or Jennifer, depending on one’s definition of said template) such an approach would require while also suffering from the aforementioned ‘lack of direction/action’ problem. The experience never quite becomes unpleasant but is occasionally distracting.TLDR; if explorations of humanity are your bag, “Beggars In Spain” is worth your time. Just be ready for some drastic tonal shifts throughout.A few quotes for good measure:“On a few faces Leisha saw the small, cruel smiles of small, cruel people watching pain.”“After all, Leisha, that wouldn’t do, would it? For the creators to become the creations? Who would there be to go on perfecting the art if we all got to be patrons?”“They were afraid of her, Jennifer saw. That was not bad; fear was only the ancient word for respect.”“The whole thing, Leisha thought, was peculiarly American, managing to combine democracy with materialism, mediocrity with enthusiasm, power with the illusion of control from below.”“And throughout it all, the United States: rich, prosperous, myopic, magnificent in aggregate and petty in specifics, unwilling—always, always—to accord mass respect to the mind. To good fortune, to luck, to rugged individualism, to faith in God, to patriotism, to beauty, to spunk or pluck or grit or git, but never to complex intelligence and complex thought. It wasn’t sleeplessness that had caused all the rioting; it was thought and its twin consequences, change and challenge.”

  • By F. Moyer on March 3, 2013

    Rather than being a single novel, this book is better described as four loosely-connected short stories. Concept explored: How does society respond when a small number of people are genetically-enhanced to better succeed in life -- chiefly by intellectual improvements (including the removal of the need to sleep – which “wastes” 8 hours out of every 24 hours). Each short story leaps a decade or two, and society’s response continues to change with the decades. The first of the four stories was the most interesting to me. But to take an interesting short story and continue to expand upon it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. This one didn’t work for me. I preferred the Foundation series (Isaac Asimov), though I admit I read that series about 30 years ago.

  • By Anissa Annalise on November 7, 2013

    I've had this on my Kindle for far too long & decided to finally read it. I'm so glad that I have! The story follows Leisha & others genetically modified before birth not to require sleep. They don't age in the usual way either & with all the time they save sleeping, they are able to achieve much more than their sleeping counterparts. The novel spans many years & gives a broad look at how their lives proceed & the effects of the society they create. Ideas explored are what the strong owe to the weak & why & how much control does one need to exercise over others. What is truly evident is that regardless of intelligence, paranoia, zealotry & extreme tribalism can captivate humans to the point of criminality & cruelty. Most specifically this is displayed in Hawke & Jennifer. They're two sides to the same coin.I admit that I was most interested in Leisha's relationship with her non-modified twin, Alice. It was Leisha's most constant & interesting relationship for most of the story even when they were estranged. Second to that, I found Drew an interesting sort & wanted more detail on the followup to his accident as it's not even mentioned that his attacker had any consequence for his action. Many of the other characters aren't given depth either & simply help moving along the plot but I did want to know more about them & how they felt & were motivated in the world in which they lived. Still, I found it an engaging story & couldn't put it down for long (when I didn't have my Kindle to hand, I continued reading it on my phone).The ending was solid but felt a little heavy handed. I will likely read the rest of the trilogy but as of the time of this review, they aren't available on Kindle. Perhaps they will be soon or I'll find them at the library.

  • By B. Scott Andersen on September 30, 2015

    Great writing and cutting social commentary set in a future where genetic manipulation of children brings forth a group of driven, successful people who have achieved so much, in part, because they have been altered to not need sleep. Having an extra eight hours per day, plus the enhancements to their potential intelligence, allows for rapid development and successes. Kress then asks how "normal", unaltered people would react to the presence of these super-humans. Equally interesting is Kress's ideas about how these super-humans would react to the world they changed. This is a novella, so the pace is fast, and character development is intense. It is a great read, and it is obvious why this work garnered science fiction's highest honors.


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