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Nothing Human [Hardcover]

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Item description for Nothing Human by Nancy Kress...

Told from the perspective of several generations of teenagers, this science fiction novel involves an Earth ravaged by mankind, high-tech manipulative aliens, and advanced genetics. Early in the 21st century, global warming has caused sickness and death among plants, animals, and humans. Suddenly aliens contact and genetically modify a group of 14-year-olds, inviting them to visit their spacecraft. After several months of living among the aliens and studying genetics, the students discover that the aliens have been manipulating them and rebel. Upon their return to Earth, the girls in the group discover that they are pregnant and can only wonder what form their unborn children will take. Generations later, the offspring of these children seek to use their alien knowledge to change their genetic code, to allow them to live and prosper in an environment that is quickly becoming uninhabitable from the dual scourges of global warming and biowarfare. But after all the generations of change, will the genetically modified creatures resemble their ancestors, or will nothing human remain?

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Item Specifications...

Pages   300
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2003
Publisher   Golden Gryphon Press
ISBN  1930846185  
ISBN13  9781930846180  

Availability  0 units.

More About Nancy Kress

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! DAVID BRIN has written or contributed to a dozen works of fiction and science fiction, has a Ph.D in astrophysics, and has been a professor and a NASA consultant.NANCY KRESS is the author of fourteen books of fantasy and science fiction, including both novels and short-story collections.

Nancy Kress currently resides in Rochester, in the state of New York. Nancy Kress was born in 1948.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States
2Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Authors, A-Z > ( K ) > Kress, Nancy
3Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Nothing Human?

I thought this book was great!  Jul 16, 2006
I thought this book did everything a good sci-fi book did -- discuss issues and ideas that are important today. Maybe I'm just simple minded, but I thought this book was a lot better then the overall "acceptable" reviews that I've read here.

I also recommend another book (trilogy, actually) that deals with very similar issues in a very similar fashion by Octavia E Butler, the Xenogenesis series, "Dawn"Adulthood Rites," and "Imago".

In fact, the Butler series is so similar in many ways to "Nothing Human" that I can't help but wonder if it wasn't the inspiration for "Nothing Human".

Wahtever, "Nothing Human" was a great read.
Predictable  Apr 17, 2006
For the most part, anyone who already reads any noticeable amount of science fiction, or even genre fiction in general, will be able to predict where this plot is going, from the first few pages. There are no surprises, other than a few inconsistencies that leave one surprised when nothing happens to straighten them out.

Kress is a good writer even with a pedestrian plot, so the book is readable, and not a waste of time. It's just not worth saving to re-read or mull over the ideas.

The starting point is test-tube babies from a mysterious clinic who, surprise, turn out to have peculiar mutations. The particular mechanism that results from these mutations is a bit improbable; leaving the unlikelihood aside so that we can accept the notion that aliens can communicate with human children by smell alone, why aliens would choose to use barely-teenage children as their messengers rather than people who would command more respect and attention when speaking to other humans is a question Kress doesn't answer, other than an overall implication in the last third of the book that these particular aliens are rather incompetent. Incidentally, toward the end of the book, when the "new generation" of children is described, I recognized the adaptations that Kress describes as being taken pretty much exactly from an article that appeared in Scientific American a few years ago, on what humans should look like to be well-adapted for our terrestrial, bipedal way of life. Kress adds a couple of unique details, but her characters are nowhere near as original as people who don't read science magazines might think.

If I were going looking for a story about aliens who happen to bring bits of mutation/change to Earth, I'd re-read Larry Niven's "The Green Marauder," for preference. However, that's not to say that people won't like "Nothing Human" and in fact, I suspect that it could well be a read that juvenile humans about the age of our protagonists might enjoy.
Intriguing concepts wrapped in a sputtering plot  Jul 6, 2004
As she does in "An Alien Light", Kress explores humanity and what defines it via the lens of an alien microscope. Unfortunately, in this novel, the concepts become less weighty when bogged down in a sluggish plot and superficial characters. In 300 pages, Kress fails to provide the reader with enough background, depth, or empathy to understand the central characters' motives or rationalizations for the actions they take. And the conclusion leaves one unsatisfied and somewhat flat - rather than pondering her central question (what defines humanity), one is left uncaring.

To read about the same concepts in a better package, I recommend you read An Alien Light, or better yet, the Beggars series.

Negative pressure, not positive pressure  Nov 29, 2003
Ahem, just a brief comment. In the book, she refers to a bubble type environment, where someone is isolated, for fear that he might infect others. She says it is under positive pressure. Not so. It would actually be negative pressure, where the pressure inside would be less than in the entrance rooms. This is so that any particles would tend to be swept inside the room when the door is open.

Positive pressure is just the opposite, and is used mostly in semiconductor clean rooms and surgical theatres, where you don't care if stuff inside the room leaks out, but you do not want particulates from outside leaking in.

Strong first half meanders in second half 3  Sep 11, 2003
Nancy Kress' latest novel, despite its garish cover, deals with a topical issue; genetic manipulation of the unborn. Kress' novel would be little better than an average Michael Crichton thriller if not for her unusual twist; the genetic manipulation being done here is not by humanity but by an alien race called the Pribir.

The Pribir were once like humanity (or so they say)and are preparing humanity for life in an environment full of environmental toxics. Their primary means of communication appears to be through a series of complex smells. The resulting children from their experiment are something more than human but still have the same emotional flaws as their peers.

Kress deals with a lot of complex issues here: the environment and our place in it; the rights of those who have been genetically manipulated; the role of any outside culture in influencing another one--even for their own good. As usual Kress handles the plot, characters and themes deftly. What the novel lacks is any sense that it is building to a powerful conclusion.

Nothing Human isn't disappointing just anti-climatic. It's rare that a Kress novel disappoints and no one can write a classic every time. Kress' latest novel has much to admire but it just isn't in the same league as Beggar's in Spain or Probability Moon.


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