Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang trade cover

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976)
1977 Hugo Award Winner

Orb trade paperback - 254 pages (left)
cover art by Lauren Helpern & David Gallo

Pocket books - 207 pages (right)
1st edition paperback

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang 1970s

From the back cover of the trade paperback:
       Before becoming one of today's most intriguing and innovative mystery writers, Kate Wilhelm was celebrated as a writer of science fiction, acclaimed for classics like The Infinity Box and The Clewiston Test.
       Now one of her most famous novels returns to print, the spellbinding story of an isolated post holocaust community determined to preserve itself, and civilization, through a perilous experiment in cloning. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity, and rigorous in its science, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic and "hard" SF, and won SF's Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication. It is as compelling today as it was then.

From the back cover of the older paperback:
       When the first warm breeze of Doomsday came wafting over the Shenandoah Valley, the Sumners were ready.
       Using their enormous wealth, the family had forged an isolated post holocaust citadel. Their descendants would have everything they needed to raise food and do the scientific research necessary for survival.
       But the family was soon plagued by sterility, and the creation of clones offered the only answer. And that final pocket of human civilization lost the very human spirit it was meant to preserve as man and mannequin turned on one another!

Read for group discussion on January 8, 2003

(Note - Part One of this book first appeared in Orbit 15 edited by Damon Knight)

How we each rated this book

Dan 8 Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 8 Barb 8
Aaron - Cynthia -
Jackie 9 Ron 9
Sara 8 Christine 8
Mitch 8

Kate Wilhelm (1928-    ) (Katie Gertrude Meredeth Wilhelm Knight) is a US writer of science fiction, mystery, short fiction, thrillers, and fantasy.

1968 Nebula Award for Best Short Story "The Planners"
1977 Hugo Award for novel Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
1986 Nebula Award for Best Novelette "The Girl Who Fell into the Sky"
1987 Nebula Award for Best Short Story "Forever Yours, Anna"

Novels by Kate Wilhelm, that are not part of series are: More Bitter than Death (1963, mystery); The Clone (1965, SF, with Theodore L. Thomas); The Nevermore Affair (1966); The Killer Thing (1967, SF, also titled The Killing Thing UK); Let the Fire Fall (1969); The Year of the Cloud (1970, with Theodore L. Thomas); Margaret and I (1971); City of Cain (1974, thriller); The Clewiston Test (1976, biological SF); Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976, SF, fixup); Fault Lines (1977, not SF); Juniper Time (1979); A Sense of Shadow (1981); Oh, Susannah! (1982, adventure); Welcome, Chaos (1983, SF); Huysman’s Pets (1986, SF thriller); Crazy Time (1988, humorous SF thriller); Cambio Bay (1990, fantasy); Naming the Flowers (1992, fantasy novella); Justice for Some (1993, thriller); and The Good Children (1998, physiological not SF), Deepest Water (2000, psychological thriller), and Skeletons (2002, physiological suspense).

Story collections by Kate Wilhelm are: The Mile-Long Spaceship (1963, also titled Andover and the Android 1966 UK); The Downstairs Room, and Other Speculative Fiction (1968, which includes "The Planners"); Abyss: Two Novellas (1971); The Infinity Box: a Collection of Speculative Fiction (1975); Somerset Dreams and other fictions (1978); Better than One (1980, with her husband Damon Knight); Listen, Listen (1981); Children of the Wind: Five Novellas (1989, which includes "The Girl Who Fell into the Sky"); State of Grace (1991); And the Angels Sing (1992, which includes "Forever Yours, Anna"); and A Flush of Shadows (1995, mystery and fantasy).

The "Barbara Holloway” courtroom mystery / thrillers
-- Death Qualified: A Mystery of Chaos (1991)
-- The Best Defense (1994)
-- For the Defense (1996, original title Malice Prepense)
-- Defense for the Devil (1999)
-- No Defense (2000)
-- Desperate Measures (2001)
-- Clear and Convincing Proof (2003)
-- The Unbidden Truth (2004)
-- Sleight Of Hand (2006)
-- A Wrongful Death (2007)

The Charlie Meikeljohn and Constance Liddell SF / horror / fantasy / detective books:
-- The Hamlet Trap (1987)
-- The Dark Door (1988)
-- Smart House (1989)
-- Sweet, Sweet Poison (1990)
-- Seven Kinds of Death (1992)
Omnibus edition The Casebook of Constance and Charlie, Volume 1 (1999) contains The Hamlet Trap, Smart House, and Seven Kinds of Death. The Casebook of Constance and Charlie, Volume 2 (2000) contains The Dark Door and Sweet, Sweet Poison.

The Hills Are Dancing (1986, with her son Richard Wilhelm) is a nonfiction book on Oregon wilderness areas.

Wilhelm edited the anthology Clarion SF (1977).
Kate Wilhelm - Wikipedia
Science Fiction Book Reviews: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
Steven Wu's Book Reviews: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
CNN - Review: 'Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang'

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This page was last updated October 29, 2008