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Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress

Yesterday's Kin

by Nancy Kress

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Perhaps prequel to [b:Tomorrow's Kin|31702736|Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1)|Nancy Kress|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1482256477s/31702736.jpg|52384449] but also included in [b:Tomorrow's Kin|31702736|Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1)|Nancy Kress|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1482256477s/31702736.jpg|52384449] as part one. The content is the same so if you want all three parts read [b:Tomorrow's Kin|31702736|Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1)|Nancy Kress|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1482256477s/31702736.jpg|52384449]. ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
Several months previously, an alien ship landed in New York Harbor. They suddenly really want to talk to Dr Marianne Jenner, author of a scientific paper all about mitochondria. They tell Jenner, and the UN Secretary General, some really interesting things. The aliens (humanity calls them "Denebs" even though they aren't from the star Deneb) and humanity are almost genetically identical. Also, very bad things are going to happen to Earth in less than one year.

A group of Earth's best scientists, including Jenner, are taken aboard the ship in a desperate search, with Deneb help, for immunity from "it." Meantime, outside the ship, Jenner's family is fractured. She is a widow with three grown children, two of whom, on opposite sides of the political spectrum, are constantly arguing. The third, Noah, is a drug addict. The reaction of the rest of humanity to the news about Earth's future ranges from There Are No Aliens to riots and suicide bombers.

Inside the ship, progress is slow, and the clock is running. As the end gets closer and closer, despair sets in among the scientists that they are not even close to a solution. Then the Denebs reveal the honestly real reason for their trip to Earth. Time will tell if Earth's spirit of friendship and cooperation will continue, or if the Denebs have committed a monumental error by getting all of mankind really angry at them.

This book easily gets five stars. It is full of ideas on a variety of topics, it is really easy to read and the hard science is kept to a "reasonable' level. Will there be a sequel? I hope so. ( )
  plappen | Aug 20, 2017 |
What if: Aliens have finally come to Earth and they are us? Now they are here, how long do we have to get to know them before everything we love is gone forever.

Nancy Kress has written a fascinating book about what motivates people: family, survival, greed, fear. She centers her story on a family consisting of a mother, geneticist Marianne Jenner, her children, Noah, restless, addicted to a personality changing drug called sugar cane, Elizabeth, a tough law enforcement officer, and Ryan, an environmental scientist who studies invasive species.

When the Deneb appear on Earth with their enigmatic message that they come in peace, it ignites a chain of events that will change how you view First Contact profoundly.

What a fantastic story!! ( )
  cynrtst | May 13, 2016 |
Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress is a highly recommended short novel that succinctly captures a first contact story from the viewpoint of one family - with a twist.

They said they were here making contact for a peace mission. At first the aliens, nicknamed Denebs, were staying in orbit off the earth, but then they asked permission of the UN to set up an embassy off shore from NYC. Then they requested specific visitors to their embassy and they revealed their true reason for making contact. The aliens claim there is a deadly interstellar spore cloud headed for earth and they want to warn earth scientists about it so they can find a cure/vaccination before it arrives in 10 months.

The Denebs are also interested in the genetics research of Marianne Jenner. She recently published a paper on mitochondrial Eve and a new branch of her descendants. The aliens are interested in this research. Jenner is one of the scientists the aliens ask to the embassy. Yesterday's Kin focuses on the contact with the aliens but it also explores Jenner's family and their interactions during this time.

There are pros and cons to Kress' story. This is a good hard science fiction read since Kress does use up-to-date scientific research in her story. She packs a whole lot into 192 pages, which is good for a simple fast read but bad for any sort of extensive character or plot development. Kress does manage to do an excellent job of telling the story and developing her characters in the limited number of pages, but I think it may have been better if there was a bit more development of the narrative. Even while I enjoyed the story a lot, I was left with a few questions. For me at least, the twist at the end was guessed well before anything was revealed.

(I also wondered about the quote "My, people come and go so quickly here," being attributed to Alice in Wonderland, when most people will recognize it from the movie The Wizard of Oz. I'm not sure if it is in both works or not, but perhaps someone knows.)

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Tachyon via Netgalley for review purposes.

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
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 reclusive, inside their shielded ship. They say, through their mechanical translators, that they are here on a mission of peace: they wish to work with humanity to discover a cure for a coming event that threatens to wipe out humanity: Earth will soon be passing through a 'spore cloud' full of a virus which, they say, will kill both humans and aliens, unless a solution is found.

To this end, the aliens demand that a number of UN leaders and scientific experts be brought to them. One of these is the middle-aged geneticist Marianne Jenner. The aliens seem to think her recent paper in 'Nature' documenting a previously-unknown mitochondrial haplogroup is relevant to the current crisis - but she's not sure why.

Conveniently, for purposes of the plot, each member of Marianne's family ends up embodying one of the different attitudes humanity takes toward the aliens: Marianne herself is open-minded and curious. Her daughter, a top Border Security officer, has one set of concerns. Her older son, an environmental expert on invasive plant species, sees the aliens as invaders. And her younger son, who's always been a social misfit, seeking to 'belong' through drugs, sees other possibilities in the aliens altogether.

The plot presents some interesting scientific ideas, and throws in a few unexpected twists. It's a good, solid sci-fi novel.

Many thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy. As always, my opinions are my own. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nancy Kressprimary authorall editionscalculated
Canty, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Story, ElizabethDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"We see in these facts some deep organic bond, prevailing throughout space and time.... This bond, on my theory, is simple inheritance." -- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
For Maura, my scientific advisor
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The publication party was held in the dean's office, which was supposed to be an honor.
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Book description
Aliens have landed in New York. After several months of no explanations, they finally reveal the reason for their arrival.

The news is not good.

Geneticist Marianne Jenner is having a career breakthrough, yet her family is tearing itself apart. Her children Elizabeth and Ryan constantly bicker, agreeing only that an alien conspiracy is in play. Her youngest, Noah, is addicted to a drug that keeps temporarily changing his identity. The Jenner family could not be further apart. But between the four of them, the course of human history will be forever altered.

Earth’s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster—and not everyone is willing to wait.
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Marianne Jenner, a geneticist and mother of three, has 10 months to try to avert a disaster and keep her family intact after aliens land in New York.

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