Fiction Friday: Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Told from the perspectives of mother and son, Marianne and Noah, we get the story of the arrival of aliens in New York. Landing in the water and setting up what gets called the Embassy, the aliens only (initially) talk to the UN. After months, they call a small group of humans to the Embassy. The humans are experts in genetics, virology and parasitology. Marianne has recently discovered a new haplogroup of mitachondrial DNA and uses this expertise to help with identification of carriers. Noah, her son, has felt lost, distant and isolated for his life. He retreats into drug use to feel something, anything. The arrival of the aliens, while at first is of no interest to Noah, starts to create in him some seed of belonging.

 

While the title gives a clue as to the reason behind the aliens’ visit, I won’t say anything more about it, because I found that to be a nice reveal.

 

 

In such a short novel, it was hard to develop strong characters, but Marianne and Noah are interesting in representing different aspects of the situation. There is a lot of scientific genetic and viral discussions, but I didn’t find it too hard to understand. The twists and the ending, while logical, felt a little like an easy way out. That said, was still a well written and solid story and I read it in one sitting.

I really enjoyed Yesterday’s Kin. I do love me some alien “invasion” stories, and this one was well constructed and written and I would be looking at reading some more of Kress’s work.

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