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Yesterday's Kin

(Yesterday's Kin Trilogy #.5)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  1,479 ratings  ·  238 reviews
Aliens have landed in New York.

A deadly cloud of spores has already infected and killed the inhabitants of two worlds. Now that plague is heading for Earth, and threatens humans and aliens alike. Can either species be trusted to find the cure?

Geneticist Marianne Jenner is immersed in the desperate race to save humanity, yet her family is tearing itself apart. Siblings Eli
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Tachyon Publications (first published August 18th 2014)
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Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,479 ratings  ·  238 reviews

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Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: alien-ufo
Interesting and thoughtful, but fundamentally flawed, Yesterday's Kin is a book that ultimately fell flat for me. There's no question that Nancy Kress is a woman of ideas, it's just that I don't necessarily agree with (or appreciate) all of them.

My biggest quibble with the tale is how overwhelmingly pessimistic it is. Really, it offers a very dim view of humanity throughout, continually harps on our fears and prejudices, and then wraps it all up with an extraordinarily heavy-handed reminder of h
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Aliens have arrived, bringing warning of a world-ending plague from space. Geneticist Marianne is recruited to work with the aliens although her specialty of population genetics hardly seems relevant to the epidemiological threat facing the planet. Her adult children embody responses to the arrival of the alien. Marianne's daughter is an immigration enforcement officer who id deeply suspicious of them. Her older son is a biologist who again is hostile to the aliens thinking of them as an invasiv ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Althea Ann
Jul 04, 2014 rated it liked it
It's odd when a novel of the future feels a little old-fashioned... there's nothing at all wrong with that, but to me, this feels like it harks back to a lot of books I've read that were published in the 70s and 80s. I just haven't encountered many not-too-long, idea-based hard sci-fi novels lately. Maybe I just haven't been picking them up?

Actually this is more like epidemic-thriller meets hard sci-fi. Aliens arrive, and make first contact. Or - they sort of make first contact. They're quite r
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, scifi

The aliens arrived four months ago. They touched down next to NYC and immediately shielded the ship with an opaque wall of energy. No one has seen them. No one has conversed with them. All they will say, over and over, is that they are here
“To make contact with humanity. A peace mission.”
Despite the innocuous reassurances, they’ve been rather shy about actually making said contact--at least, until now, when an obscure paper in genetics finally breaks the loop. Marianne was thrilled enough to
Frank Errington
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review copy

A quick comment on the cover art by Thomas Canty. Eye-catching and a nice blending of the extra-terrestrial and DNA themes of the story. This would make me pick up the book and at least see what it's about. Kudos.

Nancy Kress is a well-respected and prolific SF novelist with more than 30 published novels to her credit. Her latest work, Yesterday's Kin, was published last September. It's a relatively short piece, coming in at a bit under 200 pages.

Yesterday's Kin tells the story of the
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This would be a great movie. In fact, I think it might even be better in movie format than as a book.

There isn't a whole lot I can say without giving something away. I had one main issue with the story but otherwise it was really good. My issue for those who have already read the story: (view spoiler) This just makes no sense and makes me feel like Kress just
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I got an ARC courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

3.5 out of 5 stars. It was a quick and pleasant read, though I must admit I guessed the twist fairly easily (am I getting good, or what? I used to never see them coming...).

I quite liked the science the story rested on (mitochondrial DNA). I'm not knowledgeable enough to tell whether everything was right or not, but it seemed to me it was, and I didn't find it difficult to follow the more technical explanations later in the b
This novella has two complementary storylines, really: each relies on the other to give it more meaning and to create tension, although each could be a satisfying story on its own. One thread of the story isn’t SF at all, as such: it’s about family and belonging, knowing who you are and knowing who your family are. The other thread is fairly typical SF: an alien civilisation contact Earth saying that they are very close to humans, genetically, and that a disease that devastated them is coming to ...more
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
...That being said, I did enjoy the science Kress put into this story an awful lot. The use of genetics in science fiction is widespread but I can't think of any other author in the field who takes her inspiration from recent scientific research in the field like Kress does. The life sciences are a very important part of her story but she consistently manages to keep her stories quite close to the everyday life of the characters. It is not the sense of wonder Kress is looking for, but the impact ...more
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Panspermia, a virus, and human nature collide. A twisty and thoughtful read.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable SF story about aliens landing in NYC, claiming to warn Earth of a deadly spore cloud that will wipe out humanity in 9 months. The news causes disbelief, panic, economic catastrophes, as people react in different ways to impending doom. A small group of scientists is allowed aboard the alien ship to research the spores, in an attempt to find a vaccine. The group includes Marianne, a scientist who discovered a new matriarchal mitochondrial DNA line, and the aliens are interested in ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Superb Short Hard Science Fiction Novel About First Contact

With “Yesterday’s Kin”, Nancy Kress demonstrates once again why she is one of the premier hard science fiction writers in speculative fiction, creating in her short novel, a memorable tale that is also a fast-paced realistic thriller that discusses intelligently, terrorism and family relationships. “Yesterday’s Kin” should be read widely, especially by those who are mainstream literary fiction writers interested in writing credible spe
Oct 31, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I knew this was a short novel when I saw the page count listed as 150 on Amazon ... but it reads much faster than that on Kindle, about an hour and a half at a push, and yet the pricing is that of a full novel.

There does seem to be a trend for authors to maintain reader interest by releasing shorter work in between major work, for which Kindle Singles is an ideal platform, for example. However, pricing shorter work the same seems a tad disingenuous. Then again, there is nothing to suggest

Do they really 'come in peace'?

Yesterday's Kin is a sci-fi adventure about alien contact being made in New York, told through the varying reactions from a family who finds themselves in close contact with these beings. Marianne, acclaimed scientist and mother if three, and her aimless addict son Ryan are the narrators of this interesting tale.

I enjoyed how plausible this story was. From the public's reaction, to the reticent nature of the aliens, their cultural differences and the aliens' physio
Sharman Russell
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
As the mother of adult children, I very much enjoyed this story told by a character who is the mother of adult children--with that relationship actually being part of this sci-fi story! I have noticed this as a trend. More science fiction writers bringing in more aspects of the human condition. Parenthood. Divorce. Hoarding. And then, yes, aliens, too. If this novel felt a little thin or undeveloped for me, I suspect that this is because this is the first in a trilogy.
Leo Robertson
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
As part of my continued, "Found it in a sale of sci fi stuff, sure, go for it!"

I enjoyed this one a lot—backed by hard science throughout but delivered simplistically enough for a broad audience, cool idea, interesting twists—and I would for sure like to read the trilogy of which this is a part (this novella, as I understand it, constitutes the first part of the first book in the trilogy.)

One thing I'm noticing with sci fi is, the "harder" the sci fi, the more the fiction is merited on the stren
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it

I enjoy Nancy Kress’ novellas. Sharply observant, well researched, they provide social commentary, education, and entertainment. In Yesterday’s Kin aliens (known as Denebs) have come to Earth to warn people about an interstellar virus that can destroy both civilizations. 

Dr. Marianne Jenner’s genetic research suggests Danebs are descendants of humans banished from Earth 150,000 years ago. Marianne and a team of researchers helped by aliens look for a cure for the virus before it reaches Ear
Michael Burnam-Fink
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2017
I picked up this novella through a humble bundle a while back. It's okay, but kind of frustrating. Aliens have made landed on Earth, and geneticist Marianne Jenner and her adult children are at the center of events, as it's revealed that the aliens are humans taken from Earth 70,000 years ago, and that both cousin species must worth together to find a cure to an alien plague that threatens them. There's skepticism, panic, violence, and deceit, and at the end a brutal betrayal. This novella feels ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
This was a great short novel on present day First Contact on earth, with a well-written family hub point of view. No fat, just here's the situation and how it plays out. Reminded me in ways of Benford's style.
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was nominated for and won tons of awards. I'm not usually on the same page with award committees with all of their choices, though I've certainly found some great stories by using them as reading lists every year. But this story was immediately interesting and engaging. I was drawn to the characters and the mystery. And the mix of hard science and family dynamics and social dynamics was really appealing as well.

The sugarcane drug may be one of the most horrifying I've read about, at least
John Purvis
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“Yesterday’s Kin” was published in 2014 (September) and was written by Nancy Kress ( Ms. Kress is a Nebula and Hugo award winner, and has published more than 25 novels as well as many novellas and short stories.

This novel is written in the third person and is set mostly in New York, New York at sometime in the near future. I would rate this novel as PG only because of some violence that occurs. The primary character is Marianne Jenner Phd. She is an evolutio
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It's been a while since I read hard SF. And this is SF with a basis in hard science. However, I have to say that this book is not so much about the science as about Human nature and Human relationships. Why do we do what we do? Do we know our fellow humans? Do we really? Even the ones closest to us - our Family? It's this aspect that really made this book enjoyable. And blending hard SF with aspects of our humanity is something
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I got this from the Strange Horizons fundraising drive; I wanted to read more Nancy Kress because her After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall was just so darned good. Also to keep up my efforts to keep reading female authors.

This is a really clever alien contact story, which like so many of the good ones tells the reader more about humanity than about any putative alien species.

Here, an alien ship arrives - apparently from the direction of Deneb, although not actually - and eventually
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was about a different kind of alien invasion, one in which the aliens are actually humans that were taken away by other aliens many millenia ago and dropped on a world to fend for themselves. These human-aliens look pretty much like us, except for being taller with extra large eyes (to compensate for the lower gravity and light on the planet where they live).

We see this invasion through the eyes of a geneticist and her son, a young man who never feels like he fits anywhere. The genetic
Kress has envisioned the coming end of the world, complete with alien harbinger.

Panspermia: the speculation that life originates in space, microbes resistant to the harsh conditions of cold and vacuum traveling through space where occasionally a few land on a suitable planet and begins the devolution of an ecosystem. But suppose a some of these microbes were also inimical to the life already on the planet?

And so when an alien spacecraft arrives in Earth orbit and request permission to land at th
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
The first book I read by Nancy Kress was Beggars In Spain and I loved it so I was very glad to have the opportunity to read this one. First contact stories are a favorite of mine and this one didn't disappoint though I did have a feeling throughout that there wouldn't be enough time to tell a satisfying story. I must admit that my worry was mostly for naught. By the end, it felt fairly complete and I chalk my want of more answer to some things (Noah and the sugarcane, why people with the extra h ...more
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
YESTERDAY’S KIN touches on issues of xenophobia, family, and humanity. When the Denebs come to Earth, stating they are on a mission of peace and discovery, not everyone on Earth is a believer. Earth may be facing extinction and collaboration with the Denebs may be their only hope. Intertwined is the Jenner family. Marianne is a geneticist who has been asked to work on the issue. Two of her children are firmly against the Denebs and all they stand for, and the third has been wandering aimlessly t ...more
Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Synopsis: Aliens establish an embassy near NYC, warning the Earth that some cloud full of poisonous spores will extinguish life in some 10 months. Evolutionary biologist Marianne Jenner is invited with other elite scientists to find a cure. Two of her three adult children - militaristic Elizabeth and environmental activist Ryan - are isolationists and suppose a conspiracy, whereas drug addicted Noah finds himself in the center of alien interest. All four have different ideas how to save humanity ...more
Jamie Collins
This was okay. The premise is interesting, but the story felt shallow and contrived and rushed. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of short fiction, and the length may be one reason I didn’t feel like I got to know these characters well enough to become invested in their problems.

The plot itself didn’t seem too outrageous, but the involvement of Dr. Marianne and her contentious offspring felt awfully coincidental.

Given the alien obsession with genetic relationships, even extremely distant ones, I’m k
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Nancy Kress is an American science fiction writer. She began writing in 1976 but has achieved her greatest notice since the publication of her Hugo and Nebula-winning 1991 novella Beggars in Spain which was later expanded into a novel with the same title. In addition to her novels, Kress has written numerous short stories and is a regular columnist for Writer's Digest. She is a regular at Clar ...more

Other books in the series

Yesterday's Kin Trilogy (3 books)
  • Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1)
  • If Tomorrow Comes (Yesterday's Kin, #2)
  • Terran Tomorrow (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #3)

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