July Books 12) Never Let Me Go
12) Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Prodded by Anne I read this, rather quickly, last night and today. I thought it was rather good. Of course, due to the massive amounts of discussion of the book, I thought I had been spoiled for the main plot point, that it centres around a group of children who are being bred as cloned organ donors, and was expecting a treatment like that of Lois McMaster Bujold in Mirror Dance where the practice is generally seen as unacceptable, and our heroes try to wipe it out. But in fact the shock comes at the end, when we discover that the cloned organ-ripping is in fact completely sanctioned by wider society (which appears in other respects to be identical to present-day England), and the situation is much closer to that of Barry Norman’s End Product (where Africans are routinely lobotomised at birth and farmed for food by Europeans) and that the guardians of the children whose stories are told in the novel are somewhat heroic in their own way. It’s done very well.
There is of course more here, in the exploration of friendship, growing up, death, wondering what life is like for people whose lives are very different from ours, and so on, but it is crazy to suggest (as Dave Langford ruthlessly records Ishiguro and his mainstream reviewers as doing) that this is not a work of science fiction. Definitely worth reading.
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