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Nine Lives

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Pulphouse Press Short Story Hardback #30.
"Nine Lives" was first published in Playboy, November 1968.

**Nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novelette in 1969.
Paperback, 47 pages
Published March 1992 by Pulphouse Pub (first published 1968)
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Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an unexpectedly team oriented mission piece from Le Guin. Akin to a lot of 'operational SciFi', directly in the action, quite unlike the usually more deliberate expedition POV of a lone outsider observing and recording an alien culture. Complete with the kind of banter and bonding, you'd come to expect of a crew in a work of this manner.

Going in prepared for Le Guin greatness, and still getting pleasantly surprised - who knew! This was a great treat. And despite all of it's hard-SciFi-ish
Quite liked this one - Le Guin always packs so much into even the short stories.
Glen Engel-Cox
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A more traditional SF story, in that its about space mining and unpredictable planetology. Since its Le Guin thats just the setting for the psychological and sociological examination of what it might mean to have cloning. Im not sure I entirely buy her premiseI believe nurture has much more of an influence on the human mind than nature, so the idea that these 10 identical clones can share so much thought processes, etc., didnt come across. But, if you give her that impossible thing, the story ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating story. Le Guin describes it as closer to "hard" sci-fi than her other work, but while it does delve into the "science" of cloning, the real meat of the story is rooted in the human experience. When a group of clones arrive on a faraway planet to assist two human mining engineers, one of the humans, Owen Pugh, has to reckon with his own humanity, especially what it's like to be lonely. But when tragedy strikes, Pugh's opinions are turned upside down, and one of the visiting clones is ...more
Andy Hickman
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Ursula Le Guin: "Nine Lives"

Come on in, the methanes fine, said Pugh

Humans vs clones? Individualism vs collectivism? 3/5 stars

Pughs opinion is that, a clone might indeed be the first truly stable, self-reliant human being. Once adult it would need nobodys help. It would be sufficient to itself physically, sexually, emotionally, [and] intellectually.

Pughs words, [There are] no more Irish. A couple thousand in the entire island, the last I knew. They didnt go in for birth control, you know, so the
Well, when they said that Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang was probably based on this, it might be true.

All ten clones working as one, not as ten individual but one organism.

Kaphs never known anyone but himself

(view spoiler)
mary lou  mazzara
Although I got lost in the sci-fi space techno details, I loved this futuristic look at cloning and the questions it raises about a multi-person self-sufficient being, how it/they might function and how it/they interact with the population of singletons.
I just can't understand how so many people really believe that clones would of course have a psychic link with each other 🙄
Interesting look at what it means to be an individual and what it is to be human, like so many other works by Le Guin.
Abram Jackson
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
An exploration of what cloning could mean. Nothing good, which is to be expected. Unfortunately this wasn't as interesting of an exploration.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like sci-fi, Le Guin's books, or books about depression after death of loved ones
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Interesting short sci-fi short stories, especially "Vaster than Empires and More Slow".
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Ursula K. Le Guin published twenty-two novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, etc. Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl, and The Wild Girls. She lived in Portland, ...more

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