Clans are unity. No variation. No deviation.
On Clades, to be a Clan is to be an exact copy. A perfect society cloning themselves to survive, even as the zombielike Frags threaten to overrun them on an unforgiving planet.
Clan 1672 (privately known as Twain) was never supposed to survive the Incubation Tank. But he did. Illegally. He is different from the other Clans.
He has a secret that could destroy him.
"Highly enjoyable, thought-provoking sci-fi by an author with considerable talent and promise." (Kirkus Reviews)
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"But you, you could be anybody."
A lone human man has become Father to a whole society. With no other humans on his planet, he has used his own body to clone copies of himself, growing babies in vats, all identical in appearance. And, necessarily, all male. The occasional mutation is destroyed. The members of this new society are known by a number, sewn onto the individual's clothing, and a verifiable inserted chip. Like "peas in a pod", each successive generation is trained to fit in, to never stand out as different, conforming to a unity within the highly structured organisation.
But one clone is visibly different from the others, a mutation who has been hidden by his sponsor since childhood but who yearns to leave his father's home and enter the world he sees outside of the window. 1672, also known as Twain, is about to enter a mostly hostile world at an especially dangerous time: they are about to be invaded by the infamous Frag virus.
As well as being an exciting action adventure, Clan has the classic science fiction quality of building a new world by which our own with it's faults and growing trends can be reflected back to us writ large, as in Brave New World, or 1984. The nature of personality, emotion and corruption is well covered, as is discrimination, but some good ideas, although introduced, are not followed through, such as that of how can someone really be identified when everyone looks identical? And also the very interesting possibilities. offered by the nature of Twain's differentness. Perhaps these are being saved for a future story.
Jeff Hays is an excellent narrator, with a very pleasant reading voice which imbues the written word with even greater tension and excitement and his protagonists are always very distinctive and fitting in character. The dramatisation is further enhanced by subtle (or occasionally explosive) sound effects - I especially enjoyed the very gentle echo on speech which is internal thought, thus differentiating it clearly from that spoken aloud. The whole is a pleasure to hear.
My thanks to the rights holder who freely gifted me a copy of Clan, via Audiobook Boom. It has very interesting and thought provoking ideas bound together in an enjoyable story. Whilst not meeting it's full potential and being a bit ragged in parts, it is still one I would happily recommend, especially in this audio format.
- Norma Miles