Tomorrow's Kin: Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1
by Nancy Kress
Edited by Beth Meacham
Cover Artist: Stephan Martiniere
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765390295
Date: 11 July 2017 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
There have been numerous events, living situations, and illnesses which have led to the evolution of modern humans. The arrival of an alien ship stirs the imaginations and fears of humans. There is a cosmic cloud about to hit earth and it may lead to the destruction of humanity. The race is on to save the earth.
Dr. Marianne Jenner is studying the human genome. When the aliens finally agree to speak with humans, Dr. Jenner is one of the people asked to join the first contact group. Her knowledge is important for understanding the coming plague.
A team is assembled to work with the Denebs. It becomes clear quickly that they are not as alien as expected. They were taken from the earth in the distant past and left on another world with a very different climate to affect their development. They are scientifically advanced in some ways and will be willing to share some of their knowledge. This knowledge will put earth in a quandary if it survives.
Additionally, Marianne has a family. Each of her children will play an important role in the coming action and in the future of human contact with those not of this earth. Their lives have set them upon a variety of paths leaving each with relative strengths and weaknesses that will affect their thoughts, actions, and futures. Some of her progeny have a bigger share of screen time.
This is the first novel in a new series and is a good entry point. Although told through multiple points of view, the main action stays mainly with Marianne and her family. There are three distinct parts and an epilogue that separate the action and challenges faced by humanity.
There is a lot of action which spans about ten years of real time with the arrival of the space spores being the point of reference. The effects of the spores leave a changed world but one which continues with divisions. The damage to the world creates additional perspectives on what the remaining humans should focus on going forward. There is a conclusion, but many questions remain.
Kress is well known for her attention to detail and ability to write biology adaptation and evolution into her stories. She is also very good at looking into the psyche of humans and how they react to challenges and the aftermath. Not everyone reacts the same way. The divisions of modern politics are added to the equation to bring the results. Kress does not disappoint in the first novel of her new series. Once people have the chance to read this story, I expect to see a boatload of award nominations and quite possibly awards.