Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
his is a beautiful book and one you should read.
Oh, did you want more of a review than that? Okay. Beggars in Spain follows the life of Leisha Camden, daughter of millionaire business man Roger Camden who railroaded a research group into letting him buy their newest experiment, a genetically altered daughter who never sleeps. Before you start thinking Frankenstein, stop. Leisha and the other sleepless are fine. Except they are not.
They are smarter, faster, and ultimately live longer than the rest of us. There is a backlash against these superior humans. The research company quickly learns to be careful who the parents are and that they can handle the stress of a baby who never sleeps. Twenty-four hours of crying is enough to make any parent snap.
This is far more than the usual backlash against one person told about in books like The Wonder. This
is a look at the way an entire society would have to change as we begin
to alter our genetic structures and create better humans. Suddenly the
lines become different. Leisha goes through this, with her parents
divided, a sister who sleeps, a dysfunctional family that mirrors the
chaos going on outside. The Sleepless, as they are called, finally
build a Sanctuary, but even that is not enough to keep them safe. And
eventually, as genetics is apt to do, a baby who sleeps is born to
This is a powerful book. It’s one of those page turning and yet
thought provoking books that stands up to rereading. It is also one of
the science fiction books I recommend to people who don’t normally read
science fiction. If science fiction isn’t normally your cup of tea, if
the last thing you know about the field is Asimov and Heinlein on the
recommended reading lists in high school, if you are skeptical about
sf, this is the book you should read. It shows the best of what sf can
do. Illuminate the ways technology and science are shifting our lives,
for better and worse.