Yesterday’s Kin • 2014 • First encounter SF novella by Nancy Kress


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.

Meta: isfdb. This first alien encounter SF was published September 2014 @ Tachyon. It won the 2014 Nebula Award.


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