Read Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress Online


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 EliAliens 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 Elizabeth and Ryan are strident isolationists who agree only that an alien conspiracy is in play. Marianne’s youngest, Noah, is a loner addicted to a drug that constantly changes his identity. But between the four Jenners, the course of human history will be forever altered. Earth’s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent human extinction—and not everyone is willing to wait....

Title : Yesterday's Kin
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781616961756
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Yesterday's Kin Reviews

  • Lindsay
    2019-03-30 12:13

    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 invasive species. And her youngest son has spent his life looking for meaning and belonging, and the aliens may offer that to him.This novella models the reaction of the world to alien arrival and subsequent bad news, spanning disbelief, anger and all the negative reactions that panicking humans are capable of as well as great effort, bravery and sacrifice on the part of people working to stop the oncoming disaster. It focuses mainly on Marianne and her youngest son's experiences in isolation though, so the crisis is at a remove and almost doesn't quite feel as real as it might in the narrative, even though it does intrude in violent ways.This has been expanded into a trilogy of novels starting with Tomorrow's Kin, and it should be very interesting to see where it goes, particularly if the first book ends where this novella does.

  • Bob Milne
    2019-04-04 19:12

    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 how violent and spiteful we can be. While many other authors have used their science fiction to explore our darker side, there's usually a redeeming quality there, a glimmer of hope that at least some of might succeed despite ourselves. Still others throw out that pessimism at the end, as an ultimate sort of twist, but there's no such twist here, just the acknowledgement of the inevitable conclusion.My secondary quibble - and this one, I admit, may be deliberate - is that there's no sense of wonder or awe to the story. We start it in medias res, with the aliens already here, and their ship already in orbit, denying us that all-important glimpse of first contact. The aliens themselves are very human (that is, in fact, the point of the novel), so there's little sense of wonder there, and we don't really get to see much of their technology (beyond the energy shield, which fields so much of the pessimism). Like I said, I understand that much of that is likely deliberate, in that it help feed the suspicions the characters have as to the aliens' true motivations, but I would have taken a different approach.My final quibble is that, for a story that's so much about family and relationships, I didn't care for a single character. Seriously, I found them all odd, cold, distant, and unlikable. There wasn't much personality to any of them, and there's so little context to their relationships outside the alien crisis, I found it impossible to connect to them or really care about their dilemmas.Having said all that, the idea of the aliens is interesting, and there are some nice cultural flourishes towards the end. The story does move at a decent pace, and there is some real tension to several aspects of the story. None of that is enough, however, to redeem the flaws or to endear me at all to Yesterday's Kin. It's not altogether a bad novel, but there's really little to distinguish it.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  • Amanda
    2019-04-09 11:51

    3.5 stars

  • Althea Ann
    2019-04-12 16:51

    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.

  • Carly
    2019-04-09 17:48

    ~3.5The 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 have her paper on evolutionary genetics accepted into Nature, but she cannot even begin to imagine the ramifications of her work or the bombshell that the aliens are about to drop on Earth. One of the aspects that I really enjoyed in Yesterday’s Kin is the science. The plot involves everything from panspermia to the mitochondrial Eve to the bottleneck event theory. The story itself centres around Marianne and her children, the belligerent Elizabeth, the passionate Ryan, and the hapless Noah. Yet although the story is about families, I felt distanced from all of the characters, unable to connect or empathise with any of them. This strange sense of isolation is oddly fitting: in some ways, the characters are cut adrift from one another, trapped in mutual incomprehension of each others’ minds and hearts. Marianne’s emotional and mental distance from her children, her closest family, serves to reinforce and intensify the book’s overall theme of biological kinship. As Marianne thinks,“Yes, she had seen her grandchild. But whatever comfort or connection that had been supposed to bring her, it hadn’t. It seemed to her, perhaps irrationally, that never had she felt so alone.”As always seems to be the case with alien stories, much of the plot focuses on determining which side of the trope these particular aliens fall on. While the overall story is promising, I think this would have worked better as a short story rather than a novel. For me at least, it felt as though much of the book’s volume was taken up with rambling or repetitious scenes, and while these may have served to increase the tension, I found them rather tedious. While the ending is interesting, it is eminently guessable from about halfway through. Perhaps my disconnect from the characters warped my viewpoint, but I felt that given the rather limited worldbuilding, the story was too drawn out for the meagre payoff.At the same time, the book is a fast and enjoyable read. I loved the way that Kress intertwined the themes of alien-human ties with family ones. Some of the characters' thoughts about relationships were especially poignant; for example:“When your children were small you worried that they would die and you would lose them, and then they grew up and you ended up losing the children they’d been, anyway.”“He had always been selfish. He’d known that about himself. Only before now, he’d called it ‘independent.’”Overall, while I think the story could have benefited from a certain amount of judicious cutting, I still found it an enjoyable read, and would recommend it for fans of slow-building plots and scientifically-detailed alien tales.Excerpted from my review on BookLikes, which also has additional spoilertagged sections. ~~I received this ebook through NetGalley from the publisher, Tachyon Publications, in exchange for my honest review. ~~

  • Yzabel Ginsberg
    2019-04-05 17:01

    (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 book.The relationships between characters were interesting, and echoed the way aliens and terrans remained estranged from each other: isolationist aliens, communicating only with a select few, in an isolationist country, while the world has to face the prospect of a widespread, lethal disease... yet all the while, the concept of "family" keeps playing an important role, as a reminder that no matter what, emotional ties remain strong.The reason why I didn't like this book more is mostly because I thought it was too short. There would have been so many aspects to explore, go deeper into: the characters themselves (interesting family dynamics, that would've deserved more "screen time", especially as far as Ryan and Elizabeth were concerned); the reactions in the months between the aliens' arrival and the actual beginning of the story; the reactions of the rest of the world, too. The novel broached these topics, and gave more than just a few pointers—yet for me, it was a case of "either you've said too much, or not enough". I wanted more, plain and simple, more of what looked like a fascinating society (the aliens), more of the humans' actions and views on what would happen after the end. There's a strong opening there, with two equally strong possible outcomes, and I felt it just ended a little too abruptly.A good and entertaining story nonetheless. I do'nt think I've ever read any novel by this author (though I have one of her "how to write" books), but I'd definitely check out for more of her works in the future.

  • Frank Errington
    2019-03-28 17:06

    Review copyA 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 Deneb, visitors from another galaxy, but there's a twist. The visitors aren't exactly aliens. Their stated mission is peaceful, they're here to warn us of a "spore cloud" with an Earth trajectory,which could unleash a virus that could decimate the world's population. A lab is set up at their Embassy in New York Harbor in a race against time in a joint effort to find a vaccine to protect humans from extinction.But there is so much more to this multi-layered story. I particularly liked the writer's handling of the public's reaction to the space travelers and their stated purpose. In many ways it's the same way we react to change in the 21st century. I couldn't help but think about how divided we are over the Affordable Healthcare Act and how much of a panic there was over the Ebola threat. Take that and multiply it to a global scale.As much as the story is about visitors from another world and the horrors of global annihilation, it's mostly about family connectionsOverall, I found Yesterday's Kin to be an enjoyable read. True, not everything made perfect sense, but much of what I read for enjoyment makes no sense at all. I can certainly suspend my disbelief long enough to allow for a few leaps in logic.Available now from Tachyon Publications and the usual online retailers, Yesterday's Kin can be purchased in paperback and all of the popular e-reader formats.Recommended.

  • Rose
    2019-04-12 16:13

    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)[ Why would some alien race scoop up all the humans in one family group, take them to another planet, and never return??(hide spoiler)] This just makes no sense and makes me feel like Kress just couldn't have been bothered to think up something realistic. This is my second Kress story and I'm starting to think she has great ideas but isn't so good at covering all the bases to make it seem real. They are both very readable and likable but in both cases there was something just a bit off. Maybe I'm just being fussy

  • Gerhard
    2019-04-12 15:00

    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 that Amazon does not consider this to be a fully fledged novel. Perhaps the author does not either.This is the first time I have read Nancy Kress, so I have no idea how her latest work compares to what she has done before. To me, this seemed like a brief sketch or initial try out for a much longer work: an immediate red flag in this regard is the fact that Kress provides no explanation for the appearance of the strange 2001 Monolith-like structure on the Denebs’ home world that points them initially towards Earth. Yesterday’s Kin is a rather bland First Contact novel: curiously human-like aliens land in New York, warn the UN about an impending deadly interstellar spore cloud that the Earth will pass through in about a year, which begins a race against time to find an antidote.Kress fleshes out this join-the-dots plot by looking more closely at the lead scientist’s dysfunctional family, which of course includes the token rebel son ... Anyone who has seen the telly show V. will know already how this particular narrative strand plays out.And that is the biggest problem here: there is really nothing new that Kress adds. The ‘big reveal’ at the end is telegraphed so loudly so early on, that it came as no surprise to me at all. I am unsure if this is because I read so much SF that I can spot a trope galumphing in from a mile away. Whatever the case, this is a rather anaemic read.I would recommend this to non-regular SF readers who want to dip a toe into genre waters without going native.

  • Nikki
    2019-04-03 19:10

    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 toward Earth. So then there’s a scramble to find a cure or a vaccine, with plenty of secrets and inequalities in the relationships, etc, etc.Where the two come together is in the customs of the aliens, which emphasise family, and one of the scientists from the humans, who has besides her interests in genetics a somewhat dysfunctional family. I’m not going to spoil the various twists in the story which weave the two threads together, because I found it fairly predictable even without hints!My main feeling is one that I’ve had before with Kress’ writing: I didn’t really feel the emotions deeply. It seemed like I should, but there was something distant about the characters. I could relate to them fine, but I almost didn’t believe their emotional moments, their turmoil. It was quite weird, intellectually recognising each reaction and knowing it was appropriate for the situation, and yet somehow not feeling as if it was real for the character.Overall, I liked the ideas and the way the two threads work together, and though I’d begun to expect the twist, I did enjoy the way it happened. I just didn’t feel much for the story.Originally posted here.

  • Rob
    2019-04-12 14:56

    ...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 on everyday life. They are a combination of fascinating science and well drawn characters. Stories that are both emotionally powerful and thought provoking. In many ways Yesterday's Kin is a signature Kress novella. If you liked her other work, you can't really go wrong with this one. I have read Kress stories where the elements of the story fall into place more convincingly but it is still a high quality read. I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up on a few award shortlists next year.Full Random Comments review

  • Puddlyduck
    2019-04-16 11:59

    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' physiology, this book had an ironically 'down to earth' feel. In fact, one of the most implausible elements of the book was the way every member of the family became involved with the extraterrestrials, albeit in very different ways. Still, I guess this was necessary to frame Marianne's experience of the aliens, especially as the book straddles a novel and novella in length.To summarise, Yesterday's Kin is a compelling mystery that is worth many a sci-fi fan's time.Disclaimer: I received this ebook from netgalley and Tachyon Publications3.5 stars

  • Michael Burnam-Fink
    2019-04-22 12:01

    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 like it's Frankensteined out of the corpses of more interesting scifi concepts, and never really come together, though apparently it forms the basis of a trilogy.

  • Cathy
    2019-04-20 14:56

    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 on a personal level. It's too much like my dreams coming true, I can see too easily how people could want to get lost in sugarcane if they were already lost in real life. I don't know why I have no imagination when I'm awake, but asleep whole worlds and lifetimes open up to me. It would be hard to let go of something like that, the idea of even trying it while I'm awake, especially with my illnesses making my real life less than ideal, is pretty scary. I had a lot of sympathy for Noah and sugarcane addicts. I hated to stop reading it when I was passing out tired and was excited to pick it up again the next day. I even found myself thinking about it at one point during the day, which was amazing considering how tired I was the night before, I should have forgotten all about it. It was really engaging, more so than any other story in the book, though the couple others that were engaging did stand out (the ones I kept saying, "Why don't the other stories feel as alive and vibrant as this one?)The family dynamic in the story was very real and touching. They loved each other, they didn't understand each other, they could barely speak without fighting, but they were there for each other as soon as a phone rang. The mom was bewildered by who her children had become and how their relationships had turned out this way, but completely devastated at the thought that they might die in the threatened viral apocalypse. "When your children were small you worried that they would die and you would lose them, and then they grew up and you ended up losing the children they'd been, anyway." That broke my heart a little because it's so true. Marianne, the mom, couldn't wait to get rid of the noise and mess and insane schedules and then it was too quite and neat and she missed them dreadfully. As much as we love and adore the people our little ones become, whether or not we have the misunderstandings this family did, I think we always mourn the babies and children they were a bit too, the time goes so fast.

  • Iskren Zayryanov
    2019-04-21 14:05

    Жалко е, че Нанси Крес е толкова малко издавана в България. Преди години „Камея” издаде наградената с „Хюго“ и „Небюла“ „Безсмъртни в Испания”, и след това дълги години – нищо. Радвам се, че „Екслибирс” са се решили отново да посегнат към тази, незнайно защо пренебрегвана у нас авторка.„Братовчедите от вчера“ отнася „Небюла” и то напълно заслужено.Първият контакт е осъществен и той не е съпроводен със взривове, потопени градове или изригващи от гръдния кош ксеноморфи. Не, той е спокоен, мирен и много, много цивилизован. Те се появяват и изграждат своя база в акваторията на Ню Йорк.Извънземните се оказват всъщност наши много далечни братовчеди, взети от Земята преди хилядолетия.Не става ясно от кого, или с каква цел, но това не е и толкова важно за историята на романа. Историята се върти около заплаха за Земята, която ще я сполети след месеци. Планетата ще премине през облак с вирус, който е заплаха за хората. Извънземните знаят това, защото други колонии вече са били заличени от тази чума. И започва надпревара с времето за откриване на лек. Земни учени са привлечени да работят в базата на посетителите. Това е история колкото за биологичната еволюция на две групи от един и същи вид, но в различни биосфери, толкова и за социалната еволюция на обществата. Едно сравнение между култури основани на коренно противоположни възгледи за това как трябва да оцелява индивида.Стилът е максимално изчистен. Със стегнат и немногословен изказ. Героите са по-скоро схематично представени с няколко щриха индивидуализъм. Бях забравил, че все още някой пише с такъв стил. Кратко, точно и ясно. Прилича по-скоро на сценарий за филм, отколкото на роман. Но пък за сметка на това се чете много леко и бързо. Дойде ми много добре след „тухлите” в които се бях потопил от известно време. Всъщност тук са водещи идеите, които Нанси добре развива, въпреки конспективния стил на романа.Или пък може би точно заради него.

  • Alexandra
    2019-04-26 11:58

    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 tells the humans that the Earth is heading for a 'spore cloud' that will have disastrous consequences. The aliens are here both to warn the Earth and to seek answers to the problem of the spores, which will get to their planet some time later. The story is told by Marianne, a geneticist who gets involved in the work with the aliens, and her estranged son Noah. They bring completely different perspectives to the story, of course, which are nicely complementary; they also allow Kress to explore family issues which are crucial to the story she's telling. The science is really a important part of the story: how scientists work, what risks they can and should take, what everyday life in the lab is like (boring). Neither more nor less important is the social aspect. How does a mother deal with children who are different from her - and how do they deal with her? How can the world deal with knowing that there are aliens out there, and that a disaster is approaching? And then there's the politics too: this is set in a US that has become increasingly isolationist, a powerful border security force and many people wanting heavy tariffs on imports and restricted migration - and how does that play with the arrival of aliens? At 189 pages, this is a short novel; it's fast-paced, easy to read, and wonderfully engaging.

  • Jacqie
    2019-04-23 11:54

    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 geneticist is asked to help the aliens, who are hanging out in their ship in a harbor in NYC. The aliens know that an interstellar plague is being blown toward earth (and toward their planet too) and want help in finding a way to combat it. The ship in the harbor felt a little like "V", and a lot of the story is given to the fears that many humans have about the alien-humans. Their story is not taken at face value, and many people think that nefarious motives are at the root of the alien landing. Terrorist activities sprout up and civil unrest grows.The geneticist's son is addicted to a drug that gives him an artificial personality. When he takes it, he could feel like a businessman, a sports star, a soldier, a rock musician- he never knows until he gets high. This idea of drug-driven identity is a fascinating concept, and frankly, I wish that more had been done with it than the alien story, which dragged a bit, never really generated much tension, and had a very unsatisfying ending.

  • Andreas
    2019-04-12 20:11

    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.Review: Main protagonist Marianne is a realistically, believably drawn character - ambitiousness contrasting with humble, all shadowed by family problems and selfishness. Science feels ok, weaves seamlessly and without info dumbs into the narration. It is an intense page turner, just don't expect action, because it is more a reflection on human nature than the fight against the ultimate catastrophe. I didn't like the ending, though.

  • Христо Блажев
    2019-04-15 13:09

    Братовчедите от вчера са тук, за да има утре: “Братовчедите от вчера” описва един кротък първи контакт. Корабът на извънземните се появява тихо-кротко иззад слънцето, след кратки преговори си изграждат база, обградена с непробиваем щит, в акваторията на Ню Йорк, и след като изчакват да стихне световния шум, съобщават защо са дошли. Новината наистина не е добра, но няма да ви издавам същността на романа, само ще кажа, че темата е едновременно биологична и космична, както и че една хубава сочна еволюционно-историческа загадка е вплетена в действието. Но контактът с извънземните и самите те са само фон на драматичните отношения в рамките на едно семейство – майката е топ учен, която се ангажира тясно с ключови изследвания, инициирани от инопланетяните.издателство "Екслибрис"

  • Sarah
    2019-04-18 18:58

    Good solid near future SF. I guessed some of what was coming early on. A little American-centric for all that they came to the UN, but I always enjoy Kress's explanations of the science behind her stories.

  • Laura
    2019-04-20 12:13

    Panspermia, a virus, and human nature collide. A twisty and thoughtful read.

  • Kazima
    2019-04-22 12:55

    I didn't really like this for much of the same reason I didn't really like Seveneves, but it's hard to pin down exactly what that is. In both cases I was really intrigued by the hard science aspects, but there was just something about the writing that put me off. I'm not saying it was bad, not at all, but just didn't mesh well with me. So if you like hard science fiction like Stephenson or Kim Stanley Robinson, I would recommend checking this out (or the entire novel coming out soon).

  • CatBookMom
    2019-03-26 20:00

    Nice short book, fairly interesting premise. Characters are not well-developed except for Marianne and Noah.

  • Trike
    2019-04-14 12:56

    Well, at least it was short.This would have been a 3-star book if she had stuck the landing, but the ending felt more like Kress just said, "Eh, screw it," and gave up.We've seen this idea before, done often and done better. Mostly what she brings to this version is a profound sense of pessimism and ennui. Which completely fits the current mood throughout much of the world, I'm not going to lie. But it just feels so depressing without any writerly coolness to offset it.At first I was inclined to like it more because it reminded me a bit of the superb science fiction movie Arrival, which is elegiac and sad yet somehow also hopeful. As I went along, though, that comparison faded as the relentless meanness of these characters and this situation repeated itself and the workmanlike storytelling offered no engagement.There are a couple moments which are apparently meant to be twists, but they are so telegraphed they are painfully amateurish. Part of that may have to do with the brevity of the story, but most of it is down to the writing.In its favor it does have thriller-like pacing, so you can get it over with in just a couple hours, but you really should just watch Arrival instead.Spoilers for this book and similar books follow:(view spoiler)[So aliens land off of NYC and the main character, geneticist Marianne Jenner, is summoned by them. The aliens reveal that they are here on a mission of urgency because Earth is about to plow through a cloud of "spores" which have killed the entire populations of two of the aliens' colony worlds.Now this is a cool idea, and it's based on a couple things. One is the theory of panspermia, which Kress talks about, the idea that life on Earth actually comes from orbiting proto-life molecules and virus-like critters. It's an interesting theory that you should read more about. The second thing, which is not mentioned in this book, but I suspect kicked off her idea, is the notion that the so-called Spanish Flu from a hundred years ago that killed off somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 million people was actually a virus from outer space.That sentence sounds insane, until you look into just how amazingly hardly viruses and bacteria are, and that they can both survive in space readily. Not only that, but conditions in space are conducive to the creation of such things. Also, the timing of the flu's infection was weird. In 1919 we didn't yet have easy intercontinental travel... airplanes had been invented only 16 years before, after all, and were mostly single-seat canvas-covered affairs. Yet somehow this influenza was able to infect not just cities packed with people but also remote places in Australia and Alaska within just a couple weeks. The progression of the disease across the planet also occurred from east to west, just like a sunrise. The idea is that the Earth passed through the cloud of a comet which carried a pathogen that was seeded across the entire planet as it turned. There's no absolute proof of this, but the circumstantial evidence is intriguing.There is also a lot of circumstantial evidence that about 70,000 years ago humanity nearly went extinct during some sort of "bottleneck event" which reduced the global population down to just 5,000 to 10,000 people, maybe less. The current favorite theory is the eruption of a supervolcano. In this book, Kress says that it was the Earth passing through the "spore cloud" that killed off almost everyone. Which would have been fine, but man I saw that coming a hundred pages before the end. of the other "twists" is that the aliens are human. They were taken off the planet by unknown extraterrestrials about 150,000 years ago. Once she revealed that I was immediately thinking that they weren't immune to the spore cloud, so their whole "come to save us" schtick was actually because they needed more humans to repopulate their devastated civilization.Which is what happens. Yawn.Now, our intrepid heroine, Marianne, just so happens to have published a paper wherein she details a 31st haploid group as yet undetected, which just means a small portion of the population has ever-so-slightly-different genes. Because of the astounding coincidence of her being whisked away from the party celebrating her paper being published to confer with aliens and then the reveal that the aliens are actually humans, it was no stretch at all to realize the aliens also belonged to this rare, minuscule part of the population.And they do.Along the way we're also introduced to Marianne's adult children. The oldest son, a botanist who battles invasive species, the middle daughter, a cop who works with Homeland Security or something (I've already forgotten) to keep immigrants out, and the youngest, the black sheep aimless son, Noah.Both older kids are hard-charging career types like their mother, while the youngest is a free spirit. The older siblings are hardcore isolationists, which her mother understands but doesn't approve of, while the youngest is a "hey it's all cool we're one tribe" kind of dude.You will not be shocked that the youngest turns out to be adopted. Another telegraphed twist.There are other similarly heavy-handed twists throughout, but none are surprising in the least. The radical older son who has moved to a Vermont compound with his pregnant wife turns out to be a terrorist? Saw it coming. And that was even before the suicide bomber was discovered to have a platinum coin inside him somewhere that was engraved with the leaf of the invasive species the eldest is battling and Marianne just-so-happens to have seen drawn on a pamphlet left in the toilet on the afternoon she takes a helicopter from NYC to Vermont to see her newly born grandson.It's just eye-rolling stuff. Which is a shame, because the basic idea is cool.Although we've seen this idea of aliens kidnapping humans and leaving them on other planets countless times before. Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, James P. Hogan's Inherit the Stars, etc. There's a bit of Carl Sagan's Contact and Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End here, too, but this is by far the least interesting version of all of those. In the hands of abetted stylist like Connie Willis or Ted Chiang this story would have been fine. As it is, it's just clunky.Inherit the Stars is no great work of literature, but it is crackling with ideas. The basic gist of that story is that in the near future we discovered a dead body in a spacesuit on the moon, but it turns out he's 50,000 years old. As the story progresses we learn that the asteroid belt used to be a planet that was destroyed in a war and the moon used to orbit it. The natives of that planet visited Earth several times, and at one point they took some primitive humans with them to study.Because their planet was so much less dangerous than Earth, the humans quickly adapted and basically took over after the aliens left to explore the stars. (I read this book when it came out in 1977, so I don't recall all the details.) Because it was essentially a garden planet, the humans quickly developed advanced technology of their own based on those of the aliens. (I think that's how it went.) The humans being humans, they eventually went to war and blew up their planet. Boom! Asteroid belt. The moon was then captured by Earth and the rest is history.In Kress' book, the mysterious aliens deposited the humans on a planet that was equally garden-like, with stable seasons and only 90% of Earth's gravity. Because they didn't have to struggle very hard and were able to avoid setbacks caused by ice ages, supervolcanoes, war and such, they quickly developed advanced technology without any of the dark ages humanity experienced.Which sounds a lot like Hogan's novel.I will give Kress credit for doing the biology stuff and also correctly predicting the current political terrain back in 2013 with the rise of right-wing nationalism long before Brexit or Trump or all the other things such as terrorist attacks and right-wing marches happening today. As I write this in late October 2017, Australia is struggling with its own nascent fascism, a hard-right young guy has just won the election in Austria, a racist bigot nearly won in France, Spain is savagely putting down the independence movement of Catalonia, Germany is mired in similar issues, Japan's Prime Minister Abe wants to rewrite their pacifist constitution to allow the country to rearm, while much of the Middle East is becoming more repressive than before the Arab Spring. It's depressing and distressing.The book captures that mood perfectly. But other than that, it's no great shakes. (hide spoiler)]

  • João Eira
    2019-03-30 18:58

    ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT FANTASY LITERATUREYesterday’s Kin, by Hugo and Nebula award winning author Nancy Kress, is a first-contact story set in a not so distant dystopian future. We follow Marianne Jenner, a geneticist who is celebrating a recent career breakthrough — the discovery that all human beings are descended from a common female ancestor — when she is unexpectedly called to a meeting set up by the secretive aliens that have landed recently in New York Harbor. Not understanding why, of all people, the aliens have asked her to be part of the first visiting committee to speak with the aliens, she quickly discovers that there is a surprising link between the aliens and her recent discovery.That link, however, is secondary to why the aliens have chosen to allow, for the very first time, people to visit their base. There is an incoming interstellar spore cloud that will infect and kill every human being on Earth, and they want to join forces with Earth’s best scientists to find a cure for it. Before I go into my problems with Yesterday’s Kin, I want to point out the wishy-washy reason that is given for why the aliens have decided to collaborate with Earth’s scientists instead of doing everything by themselves: While they might be incredibly advanced in some areas, such as physics, they are on par with humans when it comes to biology. It’s just too unlikely for a civilization that has mastered interstellar travel to not be equally advanced in biology and, as such, it makes for a very weak explanation.The main problem with Yesterday’s Kin however is that the nature of the spore cloud doesn’t allow for much suspense to be built around it. The scientists quickly discover that the spore is incredibly complex and that creating a cure will be nearly impossible in the timeframe they have. This destroys any room that there might have been for the characters to have a meaningful impact on the plot, and it doesn’t make for a very compelling reason to keep reading.There are hints in the beginning chapters that the book will explore the merits or misgivings of protectionism as a foreign policy, with two of Marianne’s children representing differing views on the topic, but that exploration never happens and in the end I was left wondering whether Nancy Kress was trying, in the beginning, to do something different with Yesterday’s Kin than what she ended up with.Along with Marianne’s, there a secondary storyline featuring Noah, the youngest of Marianne’s children, who is addicted to a drug capable of changing a person’s personality for a while. This storyline is somewhat interesting — for me to explain it I would have to spoil a central plot twist of Yesterday’s Kin — but it is unconnected to the main plot arc and could have been cut out without losing anything in terms of plot development.It is hard to imagine how the climax could have been satisfyingly handled, and the one in Yesterday’s Kin ends up resembling, in essence, the one in H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. It feels bland and anticlimactic, but by the way the plot was set up, it could not have been otherwise.Yesterday’s Kin feels like a book that was trying to do much more than it did. The initial hints of a political theme suggests this, but the book isn’t able to untangle itself from its problems and is ultimately unsuccessful in what it does.

  • John
    2019-03-26 19:04

    A Superb Short Hard Science Fiction Novel About First ContactWith “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 speculative fiction. Kress’s earlier Nebula Award-winning novella “After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall” may be the best work of dystopian fiction published in recently years, and one that is vastly superior to anything written by American mainstream literary fiction writers, with the exception of Peter Heller’s “The Dog Stars”. Drawing upon the latest advances in molecular biology, especially as it pertains to human evolution, Kress has written a compelling readable novel that should interest even those who have a superficial understanding of science; it is one of the finest, most unique, “first contact with aliens” speculative fiction novels ever written.An alien ship lands in the midst of New York City harbor, remaining dormant for four months, until it sends word to United Nations headquarters that it is interested in meeting with geneticist Marianne Jenner, who has just published an important scientific paper on human evolution. Jenner, along with the Secretary General of the United Nations, and several others is invited aboard, learning both pleasant and dire news. The good news is that the aliens are human, members of our own species, transported to a distant world light-years from Earth 150,000 years ago by some unknown technologically advanced space-faring race. The dire news is that they have ten months to deal with an extraterrestrial threat, a spore cloud that has wiped out two of the aliens’ colonies and is on a collision course trajectory with Earth. Jenner agrees to head the molecular biological effort to isolate the deadly spore virus that has claimed the lives of everyone on those two colony worlds and to find a cure. Racing against time, she must also deal with her difficult relationship with her three children, Elizabeth and Ryan, and especially, Noah, addicted to a drug that alters his perception of himself in space and time. “Yesterday’s Kin” is a noteworthy addition to Kress’ substantial body of work, demonstrating that she is still writing some of the finest, most relevant, speculative fiction, worthy of attention to those who are mainstream literary fiction writers and critics.

  • Peter
    2019-04-10 13:49

    I was able to read Yesterday's Kin free through NetGalley. It doesn't impact my review.A genetic researcher has discovered something about humanity's family tree, something that interests the aliens who have just recently made contact with Earth, a discovery that causes them to reveal the truth about why they've come... and a threat that concerns both of them.Yesterday's Kin is a novella, in that awkward stage that's too long for a short story and not nearly long enough as a novel. Although it's listed as 192 pages, it's an extremely brisk read. In fact, I think it reads more like a very long short, and yet it's sold more or less like a novel, and that's potentially a problem. Even though I got it for free, I couldn't help thinking that the price/value ratio of the full price doesn't really work out. I wouldn't be willing to pay it.But treated as a long novella, the sort of thing that you might find in a collection of other stories, it's enjoyable... not groundbreaking, but it weaves a decent story, skillfully exploring some SF premises while at the same time telling a human-level story. I think of the two, the human story of the regularly-at-odds family started stronger, and conversely finished more poorly. It just didn't seem to have the payoff it needed, on a number of fronts. I felt like there needed to be more. As for the rest of the plot? I have to admit I predicted many of the twists in advance, and felt they relied on characters not asking obvious questions in order to keep it secret... at the very least, it would seem as though a large number of people in the world would have guessed what was going on, even if they were never able to prove it, so for us to not even hear of the possibility felt a bit like a cheat. Still, it's not really a story that relies overmuch on the twist, that merely gives it a little extra punch at the end, and so it's not a serious flaw. Slightly more annoying is that I felt teased with a few cool ideas but they never got sufficiently developed. The science, although I can't vouch for how accurate it is, at least comes across as believable (save the few 'gimmies' like energy shields and the alien's space travel). Despite those seeming complains, I did rather like it. It's the type of classic SF, with heart, that I enjoy, but at the same time can't always find a lot to talk about (again, it's not really a full novel). In fact, because I happened to get and read it just in time for the deadline, I did wind up nominating it for the Hugo Award (although that was partly because I didn't have many choices of novellas that I read and enjoyed, so it was easier to make the short list)

  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    2019-04-25 14:06

    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.

  • Elsi
    2019-04-16 14:53

    When I saw that an advanced reader's copy of Nancy Kress's new novella, Yesterday's Kin was available at NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read and review it. I tend to avoid shorter works, but I will make an exception when the author is one whose previous works I've enjoyed. Nancy Kress is one of those authors.Yesterday's Kin begins shortly after humanity's first encounter with aliens whom humans have dubbed “Denebs”. They have arrived, contacted world leaders through the U.N. and set up an embassy in the harbor near the UN building. But that's it. They hold conversations with humans through the U.N. and offer friendship and aid, but have not allowed any visual or in-person contact. Then, Marianne Jenner publishes a paper describing the discovery of a mitochondrial haplogroup in the humam genome. Shortly thereafter, the aliens invite her to visit their embassy. While there, they disclose that Earth will shortly pass through a cloud of spores carrying a virus deadly to humans as well as the aliens—proposing that humans collaborate with them to develop a cure.All-in-all, this is an well-written story which has given me a lot to think about. I have to say that I enjoyed this book, but it left me wanting more. I would have liked to know more about the aliens and more about Marianne's children who play important roles throughout the story. Should Kress decide to expand the book to a full-length novel, I'd love to read it. Or, if there are more stories to be told about the Denebs themselves and the possible continued interactions between humans and Denebs, that might satisfy me. Are you listening, Ms. Kress?By the way, the author hasblogged at SF Signal about her fascination with genetic engineering and why she writes about it.Note that I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tachyon Publications via NetGalley.

  • Stephen
    2019-04-25 19:59

    Holy Bad Science! And dumb as #%@$ scientists. (view spoiler)[Seriously, at the end what 6 people have been exposed to the virus with only one showing very light symptoms, and they still are absolutely certain that this virus is going to kill just about everyone? Seriously?Of course, the whole scenario is ludicrous. Paramyxoviruses...from Space! Bad 60s movie, right? And bad science. No virus can infect every last life form, or half as great a breadth of host species as this thing. And why would it be so deadly to all of them? Just not realistic. Even if it had evolved on Earth. But, instead, it's from space, where it couldn't evolve at all because it's dead (well, outside of a host cell, it can't reproduce or function), and yet it has evolved to be fabulously amazing able to survive in space, despite all the radiation that would quickly destroy the DNA. And how do they know it's a virus before they've isolated it? How do they know it has some fancy coating before they've isolated. (Or why aren't the scientists demanding to know how the Deneb's isolated it when they're having such trouble?)Also, how do they think they'd find an R0 from cell culture and mice studies? Not to mention, why, having experienced the virus on two planets, don't the Denebs know the R0? Have they absolutely no epidemiology, even if they're less advanced in medicine than Terrans? Do they not even have records.And Marianne's science is just as bad. We've evolved to have 30 (plus) haplotypes of mitochondrial DNA. Yet, the Deneb's haven't split at all? And why is mitochondrial DNA the be all and end all, anyway? Basically the people sharing their haplotype are maybe slightly more related to the Denebs than anyone else, but still a heck of a lot closer to Terrans.And the business of science! First nature paper at this institution, ever? Yes, they're prestigious, but they're not exactly that rare (unless this is some for profit university, maybe). And other similar things. (hide spoiler)]I liked Noah's story. I wish there was more of that (and less focus, or maybe none, on BS science.