Wilhelm (World 26)
Kate Wilhelm (1928 – ; first SF publication, 1956) can take a perfectly normal situation and twist it into a totally novel exploration of humanity. What if we can record not just audio and video, but emotion (“Baby, You Were Great”)? Who would our leading actors and actresses be? What would their scenes include? What if immortality were discovered, but only a fraction of all people can survive the process (“April Fool’s Day Forever”)? What if you could inhabit someone else’s mind, share experiences, even trigger actions (“The Infinity Box”)? Could you resist the temptation? And what if you were discovered?
Wilhelm’s stories don’t contain much in the way of commodities — they deal more with getting inside her characters’ minds (and her readers’ heads). In Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, global warfare renders all creatures, including humanity, unable to reproduce normally; only cloning can produce new life. One community in the northeast U.S. (perhaps alone in the world) recognizes the problem and prepares to deal with it, and soon multiple clones are thriving, thanks to the Genetics Tech that they have developed. But there’s a kicker, and the community finds itself at a crossroads …