Cover image for Nothing human
Nothing human
Kress, Nancy.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Urbana, Ill. : Golden Gryphon Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
300 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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?

Author Notes

Nancy Kress is an author who won Best Novella at the Nebula Awards 2014 for her title Yesterday's Kin.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Nebula and Hugo winner Kress explores the personal and social repercussions of a hard-science idea-manipulating genetics to try to compensate for ecological catastrophe-while delivering some refreshingly unlikable aliens out to save humanity. Lillie, conceived via in vitro fertilization, falls into an inexplicable coma when she reaches puberty. Other children suffer similar symptoms. Relief is tempered with fear when the children wake up and announce that they bear a welcome message from aliens called the pribir. In the resulting hysteria, Lillie and other pribir-altered children are brought to a secure military compound, where the pribir step up their messages. Lillie volunteers to go aboard the pribir ship for more schooling, where she discovers that the pribir are masters of genetics but little else. When the children return, although only seven months have passed for them, 40 years have passed on Earth. A lack of focus due to the many points of view, a lengthy time span (three generations of children, two described in detail) and the children's failure to use any of the genetic info they've learned on the alien ship will annoy some readers, but others will appreciate the central question raised by this thought-provoking novel: When humanity has destroyed itself and must be remade in a new image, does that mean we're not human any more? (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved