NANCY KRESS'S BEGGARS IN SPAIN
Published in 1993, this one’s another sci-fi novel and I need to say that for me, Beggars in Spain is purely literary candy. On the one hand, the book seems somewhat plausible and almost potentially scary, but on the other hand, it is so far-fetched as to be totally unbelievable. It’s the future and scientists have discovered a way for couples to choose how their children will turn out. For example, if you wanted your child to have blue hair and blonde eyes (yes, I did that on purpose) you could give them the genetic predisposition for those attributes. If you wanted your child to be musical, or athletic, predispositions could be genetically coded. But those who would choose to augment their unborn children in such a way also had the ability to choose another option: sleeplessness. To never require sleep. Ever. The book follows one such genetically modified person (and her non-modified “normal” twin sister) and cycles through society’s thoughts on the matter: hate, fear, protest, retaliation, segregation and acceptance. Not necessarily in that order. Spaceships are involved (and holograms) which is just cool - but more than that, it’s a study in science-fictional sociology.