Tomorrow's Kin by Nancy Kress
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!
I've read a lot of Nancy Kress, going way back to the Eighties and Nineties when she was a regular in Asimov. I'll be honest and say that I was amazed by her debut novels. Some of the later ones, though? Not so much. I know that this novel isn't going to get a super-glowing review, but I can tell you that it's solid novel. Very solid.
As with a lot of Kress, we get a lot of single or at most dual high-science concepts taken all the way as the grand arc for a novel, and this one is no different. In this case, were talking about the global effects of an invasive species in an ecological System, only we see it from the actions of an alien first-contact scenario and focus more on the subtle effects rather than an in-your-face action sequence that dominates most stories.
I appreciate that a lot.
It's thoughtful, personal, and because of the nature of the theme, usually only obvious long after the initial contact is done and done. That's not to say the effects aren't long lasting... because they are. And in a very real way, it's very dangerous and even possibly catastrophic.
This is just assuming that all parties involved, I.E., both humans and aliens, enter into some sort of dialog or transaction with the highest possible motives!
I think that's Kress's main strength. People are generally rational and even when everyone is doing their best on either side of a huge (or small) genetic gap, unintended consequences always can ruin your day. :)
For everyone else just wanting to know what they can expect, science-wise? Genetics, a bit of cool physics, Systems Theory, and a lot more than a hint of species-change. :) And there are a few cool surprises and scary points, too, with action and explosions, but this is NOT the coolest part of the novel. The coolest part is how down-to-earth it is and how much good science is explored in a really fascinating way. :)
I'm looking forward to any sequels to this. It's so nice to see rational people struggle and eventually succeed in good stories. We all know how often the other sort tends to dominate the hero business.
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