Steve's Reviews > Beggars in Spain

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
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's review
Feb 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: scifi-and-fantasy

Genetic experiments produced a group of human beings who do not need to sleep. They only need to a rest, similar to loafing on a couch, for about 20 minutes a day.

These people get the predicted brute force increase of productivity by virtue of having more waking hours. However, they also discover that by keeping their "brains running all of the time" they also get more moments of brilliance. Not only do they have more time than regular people, they are smarter than regular people.

Sounds great right?

It is, but then the dark side comes in.

As with Huxley's brilliant Alphas who can't cooperate, so it is with these people. Additionally, regular human beings envy these people, come to fear them and finally to hate, as well violently persecute them.

As a sci-fi fan I have moved through 2 stages. The first was thinking that everything shiny and new would be wonderful.

The second stage was realizing that change, even positive change, brings some negative aspects with it. "Beggars in Spain" was part of my introduction to this second stage.

These people held the potential to produce wonderful innovations for the entire planet. The knowledge in how to breed these people also held the potential for all human beings through the next generation to have these traits.

Yet, fears of being replaced, fears of not being able to compete and having a "Brave New World" with a class of more advanced human beings ruling over ordinary people took over.

I haven't thought about this book in years and I didn't even remember the title until a friend I recommended it too back in the 90s told me she found a sequel for it. Tempus Fugit!

I'm always hesitant to recommend books or movies that I enjoyed a long time ago, as I don't know if I would enjoy them again today. If I have changed, so have my friends.

Having written that disclaimer I enjoyed the book very much.


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