Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Yest KinThe aliens are coming! a-l-i-e-n-s.  And they came with a message of peace, because to warn about a space-born virus that will decimate humanity. But because this is Nancy Kress, the real story, and the real danger, comes in how the human-on-the-street reacts.

We follow 2 narrators, the scientist who wants to get out of the boring party celebrating her award, and her loser of a son. The scientist and the older two children are high achievers, the ‘loser’ can’t keep up and takes drugs that make him feel like someone else. Anyone else.  But, we don’t see that the high-achievers are actually happier than the youngest. The sister is a bitter Homeland Security agent who can’t deal with aliens, and the son is happily married, about to become a father, and worried abut invasive species of weeds. As if, his sister rants, there is nothing more worrying than weeds to worry about.

homelnad discWorry not about the aliens and the virus. Worry about the home-grown bombers, and the riots. Worry about people who think they’re going to die in 6 months and are rioting while they can. Worry about a child leaving home forever, and a child who does worse than leave.

This book was written in 2014. Does it have anything to do with America’s increasingly xenophobic attitude? Does BLOW UP THE ALIENS IN OUR MIDST refer only to extra terrestrials or to people of the wrong ethnic makeup?  Kress always writes to our fears…  of course its related, but safely made so different that we can discuss it without worrying about, you know, home.

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