Nancy Kress is an excellent writer, and she seems to be particularly skilled at novella-length science fiction. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall was riveting, andYesterday’s Kin shares many of the same strengths. While the two stories are very different, they are both easy to become immersed in and difficult to put down with their simple but effective prose and wonderful storytelling. They’re both page-turners with interesting characters and situations, and like After the Fall, Before the Fall During the Fall, I enjoyed Yesterday’s Kin immensely.
Yesterday’s Kin is what I consider to be hard science fiction done right. Science is blended into the story well by being integral to the plot and adding to the story being told. Marianne’s perspective contains focus on the scientific research that takes place on the Embassy, and there is a lot of discussion of biological concepts in her storyline. Sometimes I struggle with this in hard science fiction and find it boring when there are paragraphs of infodumps and explanation, but this is seamlessly woven intoYesterday’s Kin. A substantial portion of the science is told through dialogue, but it’s also a natural part of the discussion instead of seeming as though the author is trying to jam explanation into the conversation for the sole benefit of readers.
Yesterday’s Kin is a wonderful science fiction book, and it’s impressive how full the story is despite its succinctness. It’s satisfying and intense from beginning to end, and it weaves science into the plot while thoughtfully examining what might happen if the world were faced with the arrival of aliens bringing bad news to humanity.
Read the rest of the review at Fantasy Cafe.
For more info on Yesterday’s Kin, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty.