Beggars in Spain

Beggars in Spain - Nancy Kress

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress is a classic sci-fi story about a world were humans can be gene-modified to no longer require sleep, making a new class of highly productive people, who become completely ostracized from a jealous non-modified majority; very compelling writing, story and characters, a wonderful read for everyone

I spotted this recommendation from Fantasy Cafe during the women in SFF month and am sooo glad I decided to give it a try. Nancy Kress is a new favorite author of mine, I just picked up the second book in the Sleepless trilogy and am going to need to start reading as soon as I finish this review ;-).


 Beggars in Spain
Authors: Nancy Kress
Pages: 400 (paperback)
Genre-ish: Classic Sci-Fi
Rating: ★★★★ - Awesome story, writing, everything!!
Setting: Near-ish future where gene-modifying fetuses has progressed to removing the need to sleep, increasing intelligence and disposition in addition to physical features. It is still very expensive however, creating a new class of humans both more productive and more despised.
Premise: Leisha and Alice are accidental twins, Leisha having been modified and implanted at the same time that their mother became naturally pregnant. Leisha’s life continues to be dedicated to the intersection between gene-modified Sleepless and non-modified Sleepers and their numerous conflicts.


  • Amazing writing, simply amazing, compelling, a completely page-turner!
  • Humbly-strong female lead character who we follow from earliest childhood and is refreshingly level-headed
  • Jumps to other character’s perspectives a bit, which helps gives a lot of breadth to the story
  • Such an interesting premise for any one with interest in genetics!!


  • The action drags a bit here and there as the more classic sci-fi tend to do for the sake of story development
  • As classic sci-fi also tends to do, Beggars in Spain asks some tough moral questions that don’t really have any perfect answers, which can be frustrating if you aren’t in the mood for thinking too much.
  • While there isn’t really any super clear villains, one of the more misguided characters REALLY annoyed me….

I have gotten the impression that Nancy Kress is a very well-known and renowned author that I just completely missed! Sometimes I feel like I live under a rock, because if this book says anything, Kress deserves all the acclaim. This is a must read for anyone who likes sci-fi at all, or has even though about trying out some sci-fi, or has any interest in genetics. Even if the premise isn’t super compelling to you, the writing is completely awesome and you’ll probably like it anyway!