I recently discovered the BBC America series Orphan Black, somewhat by accident. In my job as Social Media Coordinator at Cheshire Library, I spend a lot of time on various social media networks, where I’d see Orphan Black referenced regularly. The show has a very vocal online fandom, particularly on Twitter and Tumblr, and I guess this is a good example of social media effectively surpassing traditional advertising in getting the word out about something. After the fandom’s outpouring of joy when the show’s lead, Tatiana Maslany, was nominated (finally! they exclaimed) for an Emmy, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Luckily we own Seasons One, Two, and Three here at CPL, which allowed me to binge-watch my heart out, and guess what? They got me! It’s a really riveting show that, not being a huge sci-fi fan, I normally wouldn’t have thought to watch. I have joined the masses in my awe of Tatiana Maslany’s “heavy lifting” as an actress, playing multiple clones in each episode and making them all identifiable and unique.
Season Four won’t premiere until sometime in 2016; where to get our clone fix in the meantime? Fear not, Clone Club, I’ve found a few books to fill the genetically-engineered void until then. Surprisingly, to me anyway, most of these are considered YA (young adult) books, but they stand up to adult reading. So if you like fiction with a clone-y twist, might I suggest:
False Sight by Dan Krokos. Resolving to move past the disturbing truths of her clone origins to enjoy time with Peter and her other friends, Miranda is compelled to follow her genetically programmed instincts when a member of her team turns rogue and triggers a humanity-threatening war.
Project Cain by Geoffrey Girard. Jeff Jacobson learns that not only was he cloned from infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s blood as part of a top-secret government experiment, but there are other clones like him and he is the only one who can track them down before it is too late.
Partials by Dan Wells. In a post-apocalyptic eastern seaboard ravaged by disease and war with a man made race of people called Partials, the chance at a future rests in the hands of Kira Walker, a sixteen-year-old medic in training
Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither. When her sister Violet dies, Cate’s wealthy family brings home Violet’s clone who fits in perfectly until Cate uncovers something sinister about the cloning movement. Murder, morality, and a slow-burning romance fill the pages of this futuristic thriller.
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. This modern classic takes on an iron-fisted drug lord, clones bred for their organs, and what it means to be human. Winner of the National Book Award as well as Newbery and Printz Honors.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Kathy grows up at a peculiar English boarding school called Hailsham, knowing that she and her classmates are “donors,” clones raised for organ harvesting. Kathy has deferred her fate by becoming a caregiver for dying clones, including her close childhood friends Ruth and Tommy. This award-winning novel straddles the YA and Adult Fiction genres, and takes the reader on a real emotional journey.