Yesterday's Kin

Yesterday's Kin

by Nancy Kress

Paperback(New Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616961756
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 688,117
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author


Nancy Kress is the bestselling author of 20 science-fiction and fantasy novels, including Beggars in Spain, Probability Space, and Steal Across the Sky. Kress is the recipient of the Nebula, Hugo, Sturgeon, and Campbell awards. Her fiction has been translated into multiple languages, including Klingon.

Read an Excerpt


The F.B.I. politely declined to answer any of Marianne’s questions. Politely, they confiscated her cell and iPad and took her in a sleek black car down Route 87 to New York, through the city to lower Manhattan, and out to a harbor pier. Gates with armed guards controlled access to a heavily fortified building at the end of the pier. Politely, she was searched and fingerprinted. Then she was politely asked to wait in a small windowless room equipped with a few comfortable chairs, a table with coffee and cookies, and a wall-mounted TV tuned to CNN. A news show was covering weather in Florida.

The aliens had shown up four months ago, their ship barreling out from the direction of the sun, which had made it harder to detect until a few weeks before arrival. At first, in fact, the ship had been mistaken for an asteroid and there had been panic that it would hit Earth. When it was announced that the asteroid was in fact an alien vessel, panic had decreased in some quarters and increased in others. A ship? Aliens? Armed forces across the world mobilized. Communications strategies were formed, and immediately hacked by the curious and technologically sophisticated. Seven different religions declared the end of the world. The stock and bond markets crashed, rallied, soared, crashed again, and generally behaved like a reed buffeted by a hurricane. Governments put the world’s top linguists, biologists, mathematicians, astronomers, and physicists on top-priority stand-by. Psychics blossomed. People rejoiced and feared and prayed and committed suicide and sent up balloons in the general direction of the moon, where the alien ship eventually parked itself in orbit.

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Yesterday's Kin 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
Fascinating Potentially Apocalyptic Tale I would like to thank NetGalley & Tachyon Publications for granting me a copy of this e-ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. I honestly rate this book as 3.5 stars, but as that is not an option on most sites I shall round up and give this book 4 stars. The rounding up is based upon the concepts put forth, and potential dialogues that it will hopefully inspire. Goodreads Blurb: "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 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." Based upon an interesting premise, this book explores a robust range of human reactions to the suggestion of radical change. Using the main human characters, the Jenner family, a variety of personality types and responses are explored. While many characters are introduced, I felt Marianne to be the focal point around which everyone else revolves. Likely because much of the story is told through her point of view, though we do get bits and pieces from her three children: Elizabeth, Ryan, and Noah. Each of her children are very different from each other, but Noah, the youngest, is clearly the most different. It's not just that he hasn't been able to settle on a career, or even settle on an opinion of who he is, but his responses to normal family behavior is also different. While the rest of the family are career driven, Noah is adrift and trying to find where he fits in. When the family communicates with one another it is always very loudly, and could be viewed as aggressively by an outsider. Noah, already feeling like an outsider in his own family, is put off even more by the assertive methods of communication his family relies upon. Marianne views him as her lost child, and is herself at a loss for ways to give him the help she feels he needs. The other two children are excellent representatives for gross generalizations of stereotypes in our society. Each in their own very different way desires closed borders, which doesn't mesh well with having aliens land in their backyard - aliens whose technology is far superior to anything on Earth. At least technology that involves space travel, etc. However these aliens, dubbed the Denebs, claim that their medical technology is only on par, if that, with our own. Where they lived there wasn't as much need for the sciences to develop in that direction, or so they say. Many on Earth simply don't believe them, not even the scientific teams selected to work with the Denebs on finding a cure for this disease. Marianne is one of those scientists, in fact she was specifically requested by the Denebs, which confuses her to no end. Her field is a branch of genetics, and they quite recently discovered a new haplogroup, which wasn't all that large a discovery in the face of aliens and deadly spore. The only unusual thing about it was that it was a very old line, one of the first divergences from Mitochondrial Eve. As such, it had mostly died out and was therefore only a relatively small portion of the global population. Marianne's discovery is fascinating if you are into genealogy, otherwise it is just used to move the story forward. But it is certainly a creative method, and is heavily tied in to the premise of the story. The pacing of the story is fairly smooth, with some very normal human moments in the face of looming extinction. While the top scientists in the world scramble to find a cure for this disease that will hit Earth in less than ten months, they also have moments where their minds wander, reflecting on their families, things they could have done better, or done at all, etc.  Yet the book isn't all frantic doom and gloom. There are major discoveries, and literally life altering decisions to be made. Some of these decisions are full of joy, some are full of desperation. Others are made by human error, removing the option of choice altogether. And all of these have some sort of direct impact on the Jenner family, sometimes upon more than one member at a time. The ending was a bit anticlimactic for me in some ways, but spot on in others. And I truly enjoyed Marianne's final thoughts as the book ended.
IAmy More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review. This is an interesting thought provoking sci-fi short story that I really enjoyed, once I got around to reading it… The synopsis drew me in, but the cover almost chased me away. I know-don’t judge a book by its cove-I know, but this one while beautiful, once you look at it long enough and read the story, is not exciting. It is overcrowded and too busy, I just don’t think it does this story justice. This is the main complaint I have about the story. I put off reading it cause quite frankly didn’t think it was going to hold my attention, I wondered why I had requested it in the first place. Had I decided to skip this story, which I read in a matter of hours, I would have missed out on a very creative piece by an award winning author. This is a smart science fiction story, and all the science sounds plausible and most of the time wasn’t too much over my head. Near the end there was a few parts where my eyes glazed over and I had no clue what what being mentioned, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. Science was never my strong point in school, despite the fact that I do enjoy science fiction stories tremendously. I also enjoyed the story as a study of human nature and the author’s perception to how we would react to an ‘alien invasion’. Unfortunately I don’t think she was very far off. I also liked the twist she threw in for the aliens, and I can’t say anymore and remain spoiler free… The story is told from two different perspective; Marianne and Noah, mother and son who play interesting roles in how this drama unfolds. I liked the dynamics of their relationship and was sorry for how it ended up, one of the characters needed more closure. The story reminded me of several movies; The Day the Earth Stood Still, Avatar, Contact, and Red Planet. If you enjoyed these movies and sci-fi/alien related genre books I highly suggest you add this short story to your to-read list. It will an enjoyable read for some rainy afternoon or even a short flight.
Anonymous 3 months ago
A great read.
plappen More than 1 year ago
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.
catburglar More than 1 year ago
Superb writing style; captivating; page turner; alternates between two characters’ viewpoints.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago