"Beggars in Spain" Group Discussion

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"Beggars in Spain" Group Discussion

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1ronincats
Mai 31, 2009, 11:04pm

Just opening up this thread for people to comment in as they are reading, or when they finish up.

2billiejean
Jun. 1, 2009, 1:25am

I just ordered this from amazon supersaver shipping. I hope to get it read before I go out of town.
--BJ

3richardderus
Jun. 1, 2009, 11:59am

Putting in a "find-it-later" post.

4GwenH
Jun. 1, 2009, 2:34pm

I was able to check out "Beggars in Spain" from one of my local libraries. I must say stylistically, this book appears to be a fast and easy read. A marked change of pace from "Last and First Men."

I will wait a bit on discussing any specifics.

5andyl
Jun. 1, 2009, 2:51pm

For those who are interested in such things the first section of the novel was originally published as a novella and won Hugo and Nebula in 1992.

6ogodei
Jun. 1, 2009, 7:04pm

I was wondering about that. Was it just the first book (Leisha) ? A couple of narratives in the later books seemed a little like filler to me. Good filler! don't get me wrong, just didn't seem as intrinsic to the story as other parts.

This is my first Kress book, just finished, and I've actually already started her latest Steal Across the Sky.

7ronincats
Jun. 1, 2009, 10:04pm

It looks like it's about time to pull it off the shelf and get started. This will be my second Kress. I read An Alien Light and really liked it.

8RebeccaAnn
Jun. 3, 2009, 9:22am

I just moved and as soon as I find my copy, I'll start reading! Hopefully that will be today...

9geneg
Jun. 3, 2009, 10:00am

I started yesterday. So far so good.

10bobmcconnaughey
Jun. 3, 2009, 9:57pm

Just came in today from halfprice.com. I'm hoping it's as good as my memory tells me it is.

11Aerrin99
Jun. 4, 2009, 9:07am

Grumbling at OhioLINK, which has had my copy 'in transit' for a week - decided to just request it again, hoping to start it as soon as I finish the last 50 or so pages of Neuromancer (see, I was prepared either way the vote went!)

12bobmcconnaughey
Jun. 7, 2009, 3:07am

Beggars is far more "talky" than i'd remembered. Still an interesting take on synthetic evolution and its possible social consequences but way overboard on telling over showing. Now it really makes me want to do neuromancer next, just out of curiosity re the fallibility of my reader's memory. Or maybe Fairyland for a contrasting approach to class/caste creation via genetic tinkering.

13GwenH
Bearbeitet: Jun. 7, 2009, 10:53am

#12 - I agree on the telling over showing. Though it's put in a believable context of various meetings, it still feels a little forced. But it's easy reading, so I really don't mind the approach too much.

So far, I've had to force myself to set my disbelief aside. Although Kress tries to cover the bases in her explanation of the genetic alteration of no sleep, I had some issues. She dismisses dreams as nothing more than random firings of synapses and I'm not convinced - in research, theory, and personal experience, too often it seems definitely NOT random firings.

I also could have used a bit more convincing about the lack of real need for periodic mental time outs. Some strange things happen if people do not sleep for extended periods of time.

I can buy into the explanations ok for the purposes of the book, but I've been more convinced of much more exotic concepts by other authors whose reasoning seemed better extrapolations of known science.

As for Neuromancer, having just read it last December, it is decidedly less talky. The technology is just introduced with unobtrusive explanatory bits, and with no long talky lecture sections. Also, the tone is darker and real technology has caught up with the book in places.

Beggars in Spain so far feels a bit like another book I recently read, Scalzi's Zoe's Tale - in style and tone, they are both fast-paced easy reads with a focus on the characters.

EDIT - I just reread my last sentance and have to laugh - ANYTHING would seem to have a focus on characters after Last and First Men!

14CD1am
Jun. 7, 2009, 5:12pm

The first few chapters made me think I was not going to like this book: a father who was a bully and drove both his wives to alcoholism, a unethical physician who has an affair with one of her clients, and parents who each reject one of their children. However, now that I'm getting to know Leisha and the other sleepless, it is more interesting.

I was surprised the author set this book only 15 years into the future, so already the year the novel started has come and gone. I wouldn't have thought anyone would think that genetic research would develop that fast, that soon. And I agree she too easily dismissed the role of sleep in keeping our brains healthy.

15bobmcconnaughey
Bearbeitet: Jun. 13, 2009, 8:21pm

Well, finished Beggars (again). I did like the last few chapters a good deal; largely, i think, because Kress got down to dealing mostly with the characters/personalities/drama rather than the "point counterpoint" delivery that weighed down the explication of the "competing" economic-political systems that took up a good deal of the book. I don't remember the physical oddities of the "supers" playing a major role in the sequels but that hardly means that they didn't, merely that my memory is suspect.

It was pleasing that Kress got back to the psychological importance of sleep & dreaming @ the end.

16geneg
Jun. 14, 2009, 5:06pm

Just finished Beggars in Spain. I tend to agree with Bob M. Each section seemed to be more or less self-contained, like four loosely connected short stories. The middle two sections seemed mostly to be there to fill out the book and were a little draggy, but the first and last sections were quite good. The denouement made use of all four sections.

Now it's on to The Woman in White for the classics group read. See all you SF'ers on the flip side.

17LolaWalser
Jun. 16, 2009, 12:38pm

A funny thing happened on my way to this forum. Neuromancer arrived much before Beggars..., (I ordered both when they tied) so now I'm about a third in the former, and haven't started on the latter.

On Neuromancer: reads fine so far. I imagine everyone with '80s hairdos and make-up.

18bobmcconnaughey
Bearbeitet: Jun. 17, 2009, 9:09pm

and plug in sockets for add on memory. Just replace kilobytes w/ terrabytes!

I really think Gibson got better and better as he honed his writing skills; though in my opinion pattern recognition was/is brilliant and spook country was a bit of a let down.

19Aerrin99
Jun. 17, 2009, 9:51pm

Just finished today - I quite liked the book (although I see where the complaints about the need for sleep come from, they didn't bother me overmuch because I liked what she did with the set up, so I was willing to ignore it).

Now I'm letting it sit in the hopes that some thoughts start to percolate into writability. This is the problem with ripping through enjoyable books too quickly - I feel like I don't digest them properly.

20LolaWalser
Jun. 19, 2009, 1:09pm

Beggars in Spain: I got as far as the misuse of "alternate" on page 54. If I can overcome my shock, perhaps I'll look at it again... then again, it didn't draw me in. Simplistic prose, characterisation and ideas (Just Do It! You Are the Captain of Your Ship! Arbeit Macht Frei! You Snooze, You Lose!).

Neuromancer: good, skillful. I likea! The Rastafarians-in-Space somewhat got on my nerves, mon. And poor Case being reduced in action to jacking in and out of the matrix heralded the dismal physical passivity of the infotech revolution's visuals in art--oooh, the hero is now faxing! And phoning! Auughgh--the deadly e-mail!!! Duck!

There'll always be a spot for a good swordfight in my heart...

21GwenH
Jun. 19, 2009, 4:00pm

#20, Lola, I agree about the prose, characterization, and ideas, though as I described in my post I just thought of it as "an easy read". This made it fine for reading when I was feeling somewhat lazy!

As for the misuse of the word alternate, you got me to look for it, though I figured there was a high probability it wouldn't be page 54 in my edition...and it wasn't. So how about giving the sentence or passage it's misused in - I have to know!!!

I read neuromancer recently, and it's definitely got more going on in every aspect. Considering when it was written, it had some remarkable insights into uses of technology. It's also the earliest use of "microsoft" that I'm aware of. Amusing. I also think of neuromancer every time a new "Pod hotel" crops up somewhere.

22StormRaven
Jun. 19, 2009, 4:02pm

21: Lola has an idiosyncratic version of what constitutes a misuse of the word "alternate" that is not in accord with current accepted standards of usage.

23bobmcconnaughey
Jun. 19, 2009, 9:48pm

well..let's do Neuromancer next - it really sounds like, pro or con, there'll be a bit more to discuss. And whether or not one likes it, it IS a much more important book w/in the context of SF "literary history." By no means my favorite Gibson, but it was an auspicious start.

24billiejean
Jun. 20, 2009, 1:47am

I finally finished the book. I also felt that I did not agree that sleep could just be written off like that. I personally felt like the sleepless would have a shorter lifespan than the sleepers because they put more strain on their systems to work constantly without resting. I also did not think that necessarily the sleepless would far exceed the sleepers in ability since both had the ability for the other genetic modifications, such as increased intellect. I found it interesting that the two different societies -- USA and Sanctuary -- with the two different approaches both seemed to founder. I liked the last section the best, especially that for the Supers to advance enough they had to dream. Which returns to the point above by Gwen (#13) that sleep and dreams are important. Overall, I did find the book fascinating, and I am glad that we read it.
--BJ

25LolaWalser
Jun. 20, 2009, 11:02am

#21

'"So we researchers were left with the alternate theory of sleep-driven immunoenhancement: that the burst of immune activity existed as a counterpart to "'etc. etc."

To make matters worse, I flipped through the rest of the book, just to see whither the plot is going, and if it would justify the linguistic torture, and--alas! alas!-fell upon this:

'"What are you laughing at?" Stella said, coming into Leisha's office after only the most peremptory knock.'

And that's it for me. A writer who can't tell "peremptory" from "perfunctory" is a sad phenomenon indeed.

#22

No, my little under-cultured ThunderChicken, I just speak English much better than you do.

#23

If that was a first book, it was an impressive one. Even from the point of view of slang, mores, technology, it doesn't sound as dated as one has grown to expect from oldish SF.

26bobmcconnaughey
Jun. 20, 2009, 9:14pm

yr defn. right about "perfunctory" vs "peremptory" - unless Kress meant that the knock was both proforma & that Stella regarded herself as Leisha's superior - in which case, i suppose, a knock could be "knocked" in such a manner as to indicate rank. I doubt that this was the case. Of course knock knock jokes have taken subtlety out of the art of knocking.

27andyl
Jun. 22, 2009, 6:50am

#21, #25, #26

On alternate. Despite what Lola wants to believe English is a descriptive language not a prescriptive one and it is the case that plenty of Americans use alternate to mean alternative. Even the OED lists that meaning albeit quite a way down its definitions and marked as being US.

As for peremptory could it have been used in the sense of "admitting no denial or refusal"? That would seem to describe a quick rap on the door a fraction of a second before opening it.

28ogodei
Jun. 22, 2009, 2:38pm

I somewhat enjoyed this book. It did feel was stretched in the middle, as others have mentioned. Writing was simple, characterization (outside of the few mains) was light but that's not crucial in every pleasure read.

I was willing to accept the two main premises she introduced as givens. (First, the fact of the sleepless and the fact that this makes them brilliant, purely rational types. Second, the "Y energy" has led to extreme wealth in the US.) I am not much for "super-human" characters, but here it was essential to the plot. I was glad to see Leisha's character develop over time as she becomes discouraged with the US and the legal system and actually begins experiencing emotions.

One annoyance was that while the author depicted the 'sleepers' as irrational and emotional, she seems to have perfect faith in the legal and political systems run by them. While all the sleepers hate the sleepless, the legal system functions perfectly to protect their rights. The Sanctuary is never once visited by the
government, because the Sanctuary "scrupulously" follows the law. The sleepless lawyer never loses a case, apparently because the law is fully rational and reasonable. Leisha gets "every question right" on her law school exams, etc. Point in fact; the law is NOT a fully rational system. There is no formula that you plug facts into and out pops a result. That’s a computer, not a human run, political system.

Another annoyance was the political system of the livers and donkeys. Given the assumed wealth of the nation I get the bourgeoisie public (shades of leisure cities of Dubai) but the people actually having power over the elite? And forcing them to give away their money for votes? Did I miss some subtle sarcasm? I might have.

29bobmcconnaughey
Jun. 23, 2009, 7:09am

26-27 - that describes more succinctly what i was trying to say. But judging from the rest of the prose in Beggars, i doubt it.

In general the book was just awfully heavy handed when dealing w/ "concepts" though there were nice sections when Kress was "writing characters" which I thought worked well.

30GwenH
Jun. 23, 2009, 12:21pm

#29 "in general the book was just awfully heavy handed when dealing w/ "concepts"

I was going to post something about this myself. For example, she used something as obvious as "beggars in Spain" at least half a dozen times to make sure we "got" the concept behind her title. Seriously, once was enough.

I still find the book quite readable. Every book I read doesn't have to a masterpiece of literary style. However, having the social and political concepts over-explained while leaving huge gaps in explaining the driving force of major new scientific developments will keep this off my favorites list.

31LolaWalser
Jun. 23, 2009, 2:11pm

#27

The Americans are free to speak English their way; I'll speak it correctly. ;)

As for peremptory could it have been used in the sense of "admitting no denial or refusal"?

Please. Read the sentence again: "only the most" _____ knock. "Peremptory" in that spot is absolute nonsense.

#30

I was wondering about "Spain", why Spain? I could swear there are more beggars in Italy. Or Morocco. Or any dozen places. Is it a quote?

The central idea, sleeplessness as a superpower, is pretty neat. It's just my personal low threshold of annoyance (getting worse with age) that makes it difficult to stay with books that only have plot going for them.

32CD1am
Jun. 23, 2009, 5:12pm

I'm only to the point where Tony is in jail for kidnapping the child, while Leisha is still studying for her law exam. When I'm reading the book, I enjoy it. However, once I put it down, I have no urge to pick it up again. So it is taking me a long time to read, and I don't know if I will finish it.

I guess I like more action in my sci fi. Altho from the blurbs I've read, Neuromancer doesn't appeal to me either.

33rojse
Jun. 24, 2009, 1:53am

I've finished "Beggars in Spain." As a book that tells a story as to what might happen between those that are superior to others, it's interesting enough, but the "two-tier society" idea has done better elsewhere.

The other aspects of the book were rather unmemorable. The idea of cheap power is good, but I believe it would have a far more drastic effect than what is portrayed in the book. The differences in economic opinions between the characters were repetitive and boring. Oh, and the "America only" plotline really annoyed me. No other country was interested in having Sleepless children?

34geneg
Jun. 24, 2009, 10:04am

I was not aware that this world had any other countries than the US. There were some references to left over Japanese space junk, but I didn't realize Japan was a place, I thought it was a manufacturing company producing livable spaces in space.

35ogodei
Jun. 24, 2009, 10:45am

> 33 I got the 'America only" vibe too. I think Kress's briefly mentioned explanation was that America has the y-power and sells it to everyone else, and thus America has all the wealth and is rightly the focus of this story. Until the patent runs out, thus sparking the crisis of this story. Not very satisfactory.

And wasn't one of Jennifer Sharifi's parents foreign? Doesn't really change the point though.

36StormRaven
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 2009, 10:41am

31: Except that the use of "alternate" you constantly complain about is correct usage. Language changes. It has changed. You just make yourself look silly when you rant about it.

You probably also complain that Americans leave out the extraneous "u"s in words like color and armor.

37StormRaven
Jun. 29, 2009, 10:33am

33: I got the impression that the Sleepless children were first created in the U.S. and the social troubles resulting were severe enough that there was a very limited number created before the idea was dropped. At least that is how it seemed to me, and why it seemed like there weren't a lot of Sleepless from around the world.

38LolaWalser
Jun. 29, 2009, 12:28pm

#31

You make yourself look smitten when you follow me around saying how silly I look, dear TempestTurkey.

Because I am like unto Charlie Brown, in his eternal hope that Lucy will let him kick the ball one day:

What's correct usage to you (and I-don't-care-how-many-of your armies) is incorrect usage to me, with excellent reason: your usage ruins two good words (or three, if we consider what happens to 'substitute' along the way), impoverishing language and distorting thought.

Just look at first quoted Kress's sentence again, and the blurring between 'alternate' and 'alternative' it reflects. That's okay with you? (Searches on the web bring up a host of instances where people use these words as synonyms, even within a single paragraph--I think I may have linked already to the saddest example on page 1 of the search results I got, a blog by a university-based sociologist.)

Based on previous posts, I must suppose that it is, and therefore: I'm entirely uninterested in your personal opinion, let alone changing it (frankly, you don't seem willing to think about my arguments; also, I have the impression you haven't studied Latin, which would impede understanding explanations of how Latinate words and synonyms work) but if you positively insist on repeating this discussion, I suggest we move to one of the language groups, so people here can continue with talking about the book.

39StormRaven
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 2009, 3:12pm

38: The problem with your argument is that the usage of alternate/alternative you moan and complain about isn't my personal opinion, no matter how much you wish it were. It is the accepted use of the word "alternate", no matter what the Latin base would say.

The problem you are having is called "accepting reality" because reality doesn't seem to conform to what you wish it were. The reality is that "alternate" is often used in place of "alternative", and that usage is entirely correct. If you have a problem with it, then your problem is with the language, and with the dictionary.

You don't get to define "incorrect usage". Sorry. You can go and wail and gnash your teeth now.

(Oh and, yeah, twisting around a user name into some sort of insulting variant, that'll help make your point. That always makes you look like you have an argument that holds water).

40Pandababy
Jun. 29, 2009, 6:58pm

As a new member of the Sci-Fi group reads, I was excited to see the group choose Beggars in Spain. I have read her Beggars trilogy, Probability trilogy, Crossfire, and An Alien Light, and her non-fiction book on writing, Beginnings, Middles and Ends.

I hoped for a discussion of her ideas (what about altering the genes in embryos and the effect on society) and plot twists. It makes me sad that the consensus here seems to be dismissive of Kress as an SF writer, and critical of her writing skills.

I thought her book was logical, based on the then-current and now far more advanced uses of genetic manipulation, plus the fact that it is only available to the rich at this time and for the foreseeable future, and there are children already born growing up with advantages of height, IQ, etc.

41rojse
Jun. 30, 2009, 12:29am

#40
At best, this thread states that the people participating in Group Read didn't enjoy/like/appreciate this single novel written by Kress. No one has given a bad opinion of Kress's entire body of work, based on this single novel. Perhaps the group might have enjoyed one of her other other works more than this. What do you think is Kress' best work?

I was actually in a similar situation to you - the last group read was one of my favourite books and authors - "Last and First Men" by Olaf Stapledon. Few people here enjoyed it, and all gave valid reasons for their lack of enjoyment (although I disagree with their conclusions).

I would suggest enjoying the disagreement. You mightn't agree with the majority opinion of everyone on here, but wouldn't it be boring if we all agreed on everything?

42rojse
Jun. 30, 2009, 12:31am

#37

I would have liked to see how different cultures would have approached the idea of Sleepless-ness. I don't think all cultures would have behaved the same way as America did, and that this was not even examined cursorily was a pity.

43Pandababy
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 2009, 12:50am

roise, you are right - a closer read shows that the group "didn't enjoy/like/appreciate this single novel". I shouldn't generalize.

Nancy’s fiction has won four Nebula Awards, for “Out of All Them Bright Stars,” “The Flowers of Aulit Prison,” “Beggars in Spain,” and “Fountain of Age.” “Beggars in Spain” also won a Hugo. In addition, “Flowers of Aulit Prison” garnered a Sturgeon, and the novel PROBABILITY SPACE won the 2003 John W. Campbell Memorial Award. (from her website)

So maybe if the group had read one of the other Nebula Award winners, opinions would have been different. Maybe the group will choose one of her other Nebula's to read some other time - of the four of them, I have only read Beggars in Spain. Or maybe her latest book, Steal Across the Sky would be chosen.

44GwenH
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 2009, 11:05am

To add to 42, I don't think even all Americans would have behaved so much the same. That nearly all sleepless isolate themselves in a single compound was hard to buy into. That all sleepers rallied against the sleepless was also hard to swallow. American's are too individualistic.

Another thing that really bugged me was the unexplained link of sleeplessness and increased lifespan. I couldn't shake the impression that Kress started with sleeplessness, decided it didn't provide enough of a difference, and decided to throw increased lifespan into the mix.

For as long as the book is, there is just so little depth, like she threw out a bunch of interesting ideas. The plot seems more arbitrary than inevitable. I have a feeling I might have like the novella better. I wouldn't have the same expectations about story development.

Pandababy, I wouldn't conclude anything about other works by Kress. In fact, I still like this one ok as a light read.

As for genetic modication, that idea has been around for a long time. I'm actually surprised in the book that supposedly sleeplessness is the one profound modification developed with the power to splinter society, the rest being to correct or improve typical human traits.

In fact, I have trouble believing that 8 more waking hours a day makes the difference between power and powerless. It's an advantage, but enough to put every sleeper at the mercy of the sleepless? What about working smarter rather than longer.

I think it's possible a book could convince these things were true, but there were too many "givens" to accept without emerging from the story more naturally.

As a side note, one of my favorite stories centered on genetics and modications is a movie that came out 3 or 4 years after "Beggars in Spain", called "Gattica". Quite a different treatment, and not to everyone's taste, but I just thought I'd put in a plug for it.

45GwenH
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 2009, 11:06am

Pandababy, "Beggars in Spain" the novella won the awards, not "Beggars in Spain" the novel we read. It's quite possible that some of the criticism directed at the novel would not be an issue for the novella. In fact, I'm sorry I didn't read the novella first.

46LolaWalser
Jun. 30, 2009, 2:16am

#39

(Geez, a language group, I said. Cat got your English?)

With apologies to others...

My problem is with the usage that's marked "N. Am." in my dictionary and a thesaurus, yes. It is a problem regarding, first of all, a general linguistic principle, and secondly, English words with Latin roots. As far as I can tell, you seem to find it incomprehensible that someone might have such a problem--although it has been pointed out a number of times that the conflation of "alternate" and "alternative" is an Americanism (apparently of recent vintage), therefore not something committed by the majority of English speakers in the world, therefore something worthy of noting and judging. But I have a feeling, based on your steady refusal to listen to what I'm saying, to address my points, to answer my questions and generally behave like you were genuinely interested in the subject, that you don't give a fig about language and any debates about language--you're merely nettled that I dare pronounce this American usage abhorrent.

Well, too bad.

47billiejean
Jun. 30, 2009, 3:03am

#43 Pandababy, I actually did enjoy this book. There were some things in it that I thought were a stretch, but I did not let this interfere with my enjoyment of the book. I found it quite interesting, especially the problems that both societies spiraled into after the space station was opened, and I liked the solution at the end with the Supers. I would definitely be interested in reading more of her books.
--BJ

48Pandababy
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 2009, 5:09am

billiejean, I think if I counted it all up, as many comments were positive as not, but as roise pointed out, I expected everyone to like the book in the way that I do, so I was unprepared for different opinions.

I'm glad to know you're interested in reading more of her books, because I think she emphasizes social and psychological issues in her SF, and that is the kind of SF that usually interests me the most -- it is why I enjoy Cherryh and Moon so much too. I have no objections to blasters and chase scenes (there are plenty of both in Butterfly and Hellflower) - but I want to have some big issues of humanity to consider while enjoying the fight or the flight.

49StormRaven
Jun. 30, 2009, 11:08am

46: Yes, it is an American usage, however it is a perfectly valid one (and not all that recent in vintage). Of course, Kress is an American writer. I don't fuss over British writers adding "u"s to words that don't need them either. Fussing over an American writer using an American usage is silly, and you just make yourself look silly every time you do it.

English is not anchored to Latin (actually, English is only loosely related to Latin to begin with). Pretending that a Latin heritage gives some sort of cachet to a word, and binds it into a particular straitjacket meaning is to simply close one's eyes to the fact that language shifts. Read Poul Anderson's Uncleft Beholding sometime to see what would happen if language didn't shift.

Also, as much as you will hate it, it is likely that, like most other things in English, the American usage will eventually be adopted for most speakers. So you are just going to have to live with it.

50StormRaven
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 2009, 11:22am

I figured the fact that the sleepless all mostly moved together was a result of the tight knit bond they had and made a fair amount of sense. There were so few of them in the book that they all knew one another, more or less like an exclusive club.

One thing I have thought is that the final portion of the book with a small minority supporting a large mostly idle class seems to hint at the possible future in which an aging population of retirees is supported by a small younger workforce. Kress seems to make the case that those who work and support the rest need to just suck it up and do their jobs, but I'm not so sure the argument holds up.

51GwenH
Jun. 30, 2009, 12:11pm

The recent readers of "Beggars in Spain" might find this video in today's news about a little girl with a genetic modification as interesting as I did....
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/Story?id=7880954&page=1

52CD1am
Jun. 30, 2009, 2:54pm

In my previous message, #32, I said I didn't think I would finish the book, but that night I read of Tony's murder, and from that point the book picked up pace and I finished it in two days, not wanting to put it down.

Regarding sleepless in other cultures, there was a mention of the sleepless in India being more accepted than those in the United States. I also found the story line of the little kid who became the lucid dreaming artist quite intriguing.

53Welachild
Jun. 30, 2009, 4:02pm

51--Thank you for the link GwenH. That ABC story was really interesting and points out something I had a problem with in Beggars in Spain, how mean and ignorant the parents of the sleepless were!! I do think that every once in a while you would have someone behave like Leisha’s mom did but everybody was afraid and resentful of the sleepless. I think most people would be like Brooke’s parents (even though I realize it is easier to deal with something you did not or could not control. If Brooke’s condition was brought on by the unknown side effects of genetic manipulation would that article have been different? I think it would have but I also think her parents would love her and support her just as much as now).

I think Kress used the extreme view of how people would react just to prove a point- that we are all afraid of what we don’t understand. Leisha herself is afraid of the supers and then she catches herself and realizes that she has had a glimpse into what her sister must have felt time and again. And frankly I think a lot of people would have that kind of reaction towards their own genetically altered children but they would shake it off and deal with their feelings. I do think there would be protests and people who would rail against genetic manipulation if this occurred in real life but I don’t think parents would abandon their own children in such large numbers as happens in Beggars.

Overall I enjoyed this story and wanted to finish it, but Kress did go a little overboard with her explanations. I was able to read past that because I was so interested in the questions raised about social responsibility and how society reacts to media coverage. I think a lot of scenarios were just vehicles to comment on our own society and how absurd the mob mentality is. I still don’t know how I feel about genetic manipulation but at least the questions are there now.

54rojse
Jun. 30, 2009, 11:52pm

#51

Wow.

55bobmcconnaughey
Jul. 1, 2009, 7:43am

Agree that "GATTICA" worked very well emotionally and quite well in re its premises. In another discussion on the movie there were complaints about how shedded eyelashes not containing usable DNA. But if problems over eyelashes falling out w/ or w/out "root" or more likely "root scrapings/swabs" as it were for contact w/the root i wouldn't know. But they seem relatively minor issues in the context of the whole movie.

56billiejean
Jul. 15, 2009, 1:55am

#51 Gwen, that was an amazing story. Thanks for sharing it with us.
--BJ

57ronincats
Aug. 13, 2009, 4:43pm

58richardderus
Aug. 13, 2009, 5:23pm

I'm late to the party...I lost interest in the book for quite a while. It was a pleasant-enough book, I suppose, with a few interesting ideas to explore. "Y-power" was underdeveloped as an idea, IMHO, and the Sleepless being superintelligent and mostly socially maladroit felt like a cheap shorthand for silly geeks on speed.

But overall, I'm not sorry I read it, even if it took over a month because I kept just not caring for long periods of time.

59rojse
Bearbeitet: Aug. 13, 2009, 7:54pm

Thanks for the interesting article, Ronincats.

Particularly liked:

"This could have benefits beyond more wakefulness. Studies have shown that people who sleep an average amount of 30 to 60 minutes below average live the longest, said Dr. Daniel F. Kripke, emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego."