6 thoughts on “Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang

  1. I am glad you enjoyed it! Kate Wilhelm is definitely best at the short form — and SF might be the only genre where the “fix-up” novel was a thing. Sometimes they work — like this one.

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  2. Great point about the gender norms in the Sumner clan and too true about the need for SF writers to relocate the epicenters of their disasters. I also enjoyed the novel and found the atmosphere (of both the original clan AND their clones) sufficiently oppressive and creepy. This is definitely a book I would like to look at again.

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  3. I interpreted the Sumners limitations as being theirs and not Wilhelm’s, and the evolution of the story as a critique of their mindset. They are patriarchal, and look only to the survival of their own lineage. They create in their own image, and assume that they can engineer the outcomes both biologically and socially. The novel elaborates the many ways in which they are proven wrong.

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    1. I think that if Wilhelm had wanted to ‘expose’ the Sumners’ views as patriarchal, they would have been compared to the ‘normal’, or at least some facet or it. This may be represented by the girl in the first part, with whom the lead male character is in love, who goes off to South America to work in medicine or biology. When she comes home she is absorbed into the patriarchy again, and her apparent professional / intellectual authority is reduced to her suitability for marriage. So you could be right!

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