Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Five SFF books that showcase siblings at their core

Sarah Pinsker is the author of over fifty works of short fiction, including the novelette "Our Lady of the Open Road," winner of the Nebula Award in 2016. Her novelette "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind," was the Sturgeon Award winner in 2014. Her fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Uncanny and in numerous anthologies and year's bests. Her stories have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, French, and Italian, among other languages, and have been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, Eugie, and World Fantasy Awards.

Pinsker's first collection, the Philip K Dick Award winning Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea: Stories, was published in March 2019, and her first novel, A Song For A New Day, was published in September 2019. Her latest book is We Are Satellites.

[The Page 69 Test: A Song for a New Day]

At Pinsker tagged five "adult SFF books built around a rich, gooey, sibling core," including:
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress

Alice and Leisha are fraternal twins with one huge difference: Leisha has been genetically modified to be one of a growing number of Sleepless children, and her sister has not. Leisha has all that the Sleepless modification confers, including longevity, productivity, intelligence, and good health, and is doted on by their father as the child he designed, while Alice is in every way the ordinary daughter their mother had hoped to have. From the start, they are each other’s playmates, but they know the differences: Alice gets cranky and has to go to bed, and that’s when Leisha’s tutors come in for the night. As they get older, their relationship gets complicated. Leisha craves connection with her sister, but Alice just wants to be normal, and is embarrassed by the attention Leisha gets. Leisha even saying the word “twin” to describe them upsets Alice. Leisha seeks out her Sleepless peers, while Alice deliberately gets pregnant, rejects their longstanding plans, and leaves to make her own way in life. The book takes place over most of a century and moves on to other protagonists and the larger societal repercussions of the Sleeper/Sleepless divide, but it’s the fierce, contentious sibling relationship that has stayed with me in the years since I read the book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue