This thought-provoking though derivative book by the author of Brain Rose revists familiar territory. In 21st-century America, genetic engineering makes it possible for those who can afford it to become parents of improved, custom-made babies. The controversial procedure has produced a new breed that can function without sleep. Leisha Camden, daughter of a wealthy industrialist, is one of "the sleepless," who are endowed with remarkable intelligence and other genetic enhancements. A generation of prodigies, Leisha and her peers are resented by the rest of the population, who begin to persecute them. To escape violence, the Sleepless retreat to an armed camp, the Sanctuary, where for decades they fight to legitimize their existence in an increasingly hostile society. Leisha, a brilliant, idealistic lawyer, finds herself ostracized by both Sleepers and Sleepless as she struggles to bridge the widening gulf between the two groups. Meanwhile, the Sleepless must learn to deal with the prodigies among them. Kress competently handles a well-worn science fiction concept and raises some intriguing scientific and sociological issues. Her dialogue sometimes lapses into stilted philosophical arguments, however, and many of her characters are thinly drawn.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the author of the splendid Brain Rose (1989), another telling near/medium-future sociological probe. This time: What if people no longer needed to sleep? Leisha Camden belongs to a new generation of genetically enhanced children: she's tall, slim, intelligent, beautiful--and she doesn't sleep. So, growing up, Leisha and her fellow-Sleepless rapidly outshine their Sleeper contemporaries. But later, after global economic changes, most Americans subsist mindlessly on the public dole while resenting the success of the Sleepless-- especially when it emerges that the Sleepless are also immortal. So the Sleepless, led by the paranoid elitist Jennifer Sharifi, establish Sanctuary, a secure enclave where their genetic research can continue unobserved. Lawyer Leisha, who holds to sharing-caring values within a pluralistic society, rejects Sanctuary, preferring to offer practical advancement to ambitious Sleepers and Sleepless alike. Eventually, the Sleepless move Sanctuary into an orbiting habitat, where, having bred a third generation of Sleepless with even more astonishing abilities, Sharifi orders the preparation of biological weapons for a showdown with Sleeper Earth. But those freakish new children, their talents amplified by the lucid dreams developed by one of Leisha's Sleepers, overthrow Sharifi and jubilantly reaffirm Leisha's egalitarian principles. Though didactic (without being preachy) and uneven in places: thrilling drama, compelling dialectic. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.