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Beggars and Choosers

Series: Sleepless, Book 2
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

In a future America strangely altered by genetic modifications, millions of ordinary people are supported by the efforts of handsome and intellectually-superior gene-modified humans. These, in turn, are running scared in the face of the near-superhuman powers of the Sleepless, radically altered humans who have their own agenda for humanity. The Sleepless have withdrawn from the rest of the race to an island retreat, from which they periodically release dazzling scientific advances. Most of the world is on the verge of collapse, overburdened by a population of jobless drones and racked by the results of irresponsible genetic research and nanotechnology. Will the world be saved? And for whom?
©1994 Nancy Kress (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"An excellent and thoughtful work of science." (Publishers Weekly)
"Beggars and Choosers will terrify, delight, enrage, and engage." (School Library Journal)
"Fearlessly addresses a host of ethical quandaries while simultaneously relating a vivid tale of people trapped by their biological destinies." (Library Journal)

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Profile Image for Michael G Kurilla
  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 07-09-2020

Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Nancy Kress' Beggars and Choosers is the middle offering in her Beggars trilogy. This story take place in the early 22nd century. The US has evolved to a deprecating state with 80% of the population as 'Livers' who are basically on the government dole. The 'donkeys' are the gene-mod'd group that maintains the crumbling conditions. While the original Sleepless are in the background developing technology, the select 'Supers' continue to play the disruptive angle. The tale is relayed from the perspectives of three characters, a Liver named Billy, a donkey (Diana) who is on the trail of Miranda Scharifi who is believed to be up to no good, and the Lucid Dreamer, Drew Arlene. Billy provides a view into Liver life. Diana experiences the tension and resentment of the Livers as she goes undercover to find Miranda. Drew has a falling out with the Supers and ends up a prisoner of a Liver insurgency group that opposes any and all gene-mods. Miranda and her Supers have cooked up a big surprise for everyone.

Kress captures the essence of a hyperpolarized society of the haves and have-nots as well as the Rube Goldberg accommodations in an attempt to preserve the appearance of 'democracy' and 'equitable' distribution of goods and services. Ironically, while she has crafted a well organized timeline for this development, her vision is coming into view about 100 years sooner and without the need for genetic engineering. The philosophical discussions of being human relative to genetic heritage make for riveting listening.

The choice of multiple narrators was wide given the unique and distinct perspectives offered. Pacing is brisk and while there is little in the way of real action scenes, the listening is quick.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-04-2019

Not that great again but still good

Yet not that outstanding as Beggars In Spain which ideas and storytelling perspective I really enjoyed, this book could still be considered a good read worth it, in general.

I find it quite difficult to get accustomed to Drew's voice but other's performance is roughly how I imagined.

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  • Simone Jester
  • 16-08-2017

Pretty good

Excellent except for Drew's voice actor. I found his voice grating. I hope Lizzie is in the next book.

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  • Kevin Famighetti
  • 17-05-2015

Great Suff

This wasn't as good as Beggars in Spain. ..but only because Spain was my glimps of this alternate "Gene Mod" reality. Future really. Chooser's is an excellent stand alone. Highly recommended.

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  • Ken
  • 21-06-2011

Begins to beg some of its own questions

This is a solid sequel to Beggars in Spain, but it simply does not live up to the original. There is excellent further development of some of the key characters from book one, but some of the very clever and thought-provoking questions raised in the original are begged here, and the story line, rather than becoming tighter, is starting to unravel. Kress is still one of the best in the genre and the multi-reader narration brings the book to life in a remarkable way. Definitely worth a listen.