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Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate…

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976)

by Kate Wilhelm

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,249486,344 (3.87)73
  1. 20
    The World Inside by Robert Silverberg (gaialover)
    gaialover: Dystopian society with controls against individualism and mandated polyamory.
  2. 31
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (rat_in_a_cage)
    rat_in_a_cage: Hinweis auf Rückentext bei »Hier sangen früher Vögel«.

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» See also 73 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Having just read the final page I'm still slightly drunk off the story, but my first reaction... I'm awed (and a little saddened) by how relevant something written over 40 years ago can feel in today's world, both political and environmental. Quite possibly one of the best pieces of apocalyptic fiction I've read to date.

"The sighing of the trees wakened him and he knew the rain was over; the trees were shaking off the water, murmuring together about the terrible weather, wondering about the boy who slept among them."

5 stars
(although I understand the lack of diversity in the clones (for this story's world), I can't help but wonder what the inclusion of people of color would've done for the story. Hmm, but perhaps that is the point: that lack of diversity will only ever hurt us; that forcing "otherness" on humans will be to the detriment of the species.) ( )
  flying_monkeys | Mar 9, 2017 |
The book drew me in right away in the beginning, and kept my attention throughout – it was a very enjoyable read. The overall idea of the story was interesting, especially for when it was written – especially now when something like this book is more than just a far fetched dream.

I found parts of the story moved to quickly, there were pieces that I found needed more explanation, more details that passed on in time far to quickly – I know there are people out there who would disagree, but I wanted more detail on what was happening.

I also found it hard to connect to the characters – perhaps it was because who and how they were created, they were all suppose to be the same, but there was never the case where I found that one character I enjoyed.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable story, excellent example of a classic science fiction novel.

Also found on my book blog Jules' Book Reviews - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang ( )
  bookwormjules | Dec 4, 2016 |
So this is the type of book I like to call "a day in the life" plot. In this case it's "a day in the life" of post-apocalyptic survivors. There's not a big quest plot or a lot of action, but there are big ideas. Somewhere in a blurb about the book it said, "filled with humanity" or something similar. I have to agree. I think this kind of plot has the effect of making you feel like you're "living" with the characters.

That said, I didn't find myself especially attached to any of the characters and the "timeline jumping" (forward only), while necessary, seemed to dis-attach me further from them. It was a heavy story though and well-written. ( )
  ragwaine | Sep 27, 2016 |
Superb story of a colony of humans who survive the end of the world by cloning, and the advantages and pitfalls of that decision. There's a sadness that permeates all of it--except the ending. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Aug 17, 2016 |
This book is post-holocaust science fiction from the 1980s, and the tech level at the opening of the story – before the crash – definitely dates the work. The catastrophe is clearly a man-made one, involving pollution- and population-fueled famines and epidemics. As such, it speaks to our time. Although Wilhelm does not discuss global warming, as such, she does understand that ceasing all industrial activity would eventually lead to global cooling. Her cooling effect happens rather sooner than I think would be the case, but then she’s a little vague about how much time has passed in the course of her story.

As a biologist, I’m not quite sure what to make of the biological science. Wilhelm shows humanity in crisis from widespread infertility, threatening extinction of the species. This isn’t impossible. Male fertility is currently declining, blamed in an article I read, on high environmental hormone levels from contraceptives. Other environmental causes are clearly possible. The solution the characters in the story choose is cloning – with unanticipated results from which she derives most of the conflict. Wilhelm depicts a progressive loss of mental capacity (especially creativity) in successive generations of clones. This is possible, I suppose, although I would expect there to be a parallel decline in general viability, and this is not seen in the story. Wilhelm’s depiction of the twin-effect within each clone (I’m using the word in the original sense of “a group of genetically identical individuals”) is both interesting and plausible given what I know about twins, especially identical twins.

Wilhelm moves through three generations of characters in the course of the book, and I was often a uncertain how old each point-of-view character (there are four) had become. Frequent time-jumps were one of the more confusing aspect of the story. Although they allowed Wilhelm to cover a lot of temporal ground – which she needed to do – they were often very poorly marked in the narrative, leaving me to deduce that a chunk of time had just passed and to guess at how much it might have been. As a person who likes to identify with central characters, I was disappointed that several of them were simply dropped when they ceased to have a bearing on the story. The circumstances were such that they were possibly, or presumably, slated to die in the near future. While I don’t enjoy watching characters I’ve come to care about die, not having their fates made clear left me a bit closure-hungry. With the exceptions of these criticisms, the writing was generally effective, even evocative when dealing with unusual events and experiences. Overall, the book is well worth a read. ( )
  Carol_W | May 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Mit großem erzählerischem Talent gelingt Kate Wilhelm eine glaubwürdige und spannende Dystopie, die völlig zu Recht zu den Klassikern der Science Fiction Literatur gezählt wird.
Fabulous story, deep thoughts cleverly disguised by amazing character development.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilhelm, Kateprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chong, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Escher, M. C.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fields, AnnaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mahlow, RenéTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrill, RowenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sargent, PamelaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuttle, LisaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Valerie, Kris, and Leslie, with love
Für Valerie,
Kris und Leslie,
in Liebe
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What David always hated most about the Sumner family dinners was the way everyone talked about him as if he were not there.
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
In der zeitlosen Periode wurde das Leben selbst das Ziel, nicht die Wiederbeschaffung der Vergangenheit oder die raffinierte Planung der Zukunft.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312866151, Paperback)

Before becoming one of today's most intriguing and innovative mystery writers, Kate Wilhelm was a leading writer of science fiction, acclaimed for classics like The Infinity Box and The Clewiston Test.

Now one of her most famous novels returns to print, the spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity, and rigorous in its science, Where Later the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic and "hard" SF, and won SF's Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication. It is as compelling today as it was then.
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is the winner of the 1977 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Before becoming one of today's most intriguing and innovative mystery writers, Kate Wilhelm was celebrated as a writer of science fiction, acclaimed for classics like The Infinity Box and The Clewiston Test. Now one of her most famous novels returns to print, the spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, and civilization, through a perilous experiment in cloning.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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