Twin-Bred by Karen A. Wyle

Review: Quoting myself from a previous review, “Human and alien interaction in sci-fi is one of my favorite themes when it’s done in an intelligent manner, such as in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner Universe and many others by her, or with humor, such as in the League of Peoples series by James Alan Gardner’s, which began with Expendable.”

In Cherryh’s Foreigner Universe, human and alien contact began eagerly on both sides, as they seemed similar superficially similar, yet the situation precipituously dipped into danger resulting in violence and aggression but eventually ended in a wise stalemate and limited contact between the two groups only through a translator/diplomat. In Wyle’s Twin-Bred, the situation is more ambiguous and the solution far, far more difficult.

My question was, since the two groups couldn’t readily communicate and understand each other, how did they come to the conclusion something as intimate as shared fetus pregnancies would be a possible solution? How could the aliens agree? Yet it takes place, which of course, is the theme of the book, clearly though out by the author and intelligently presented.

There were times when the reflection between Mara and her deceased though “present” twin Levi might have been lessened, as I understood the concept through the description of Twin-Bred in the first place, yet I could understand how this relationship was explanatory for other knowledge and emotions experienced throughout, and the scientist’s driving force behind the experiment.

There was believable complexity and conflict in this moderately paced, lengthy novel, and a mature feel to the characters and writing style.  None of the truncated or abbreviated feel some books have these days, Twin-Bred is in classic mode, which might certainly be appreciated by those searching for immersive science fiction.

Description: “Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? Humans have lived on Tofarn, planet of creeks and rivers, for seventy years, but they still don’t understand the Tofa. The Tofa are an enigma, from their featureless faces to the four arms that sometimes seem to be five. They take arbitrary umbrage at the simplest human activities, while annoying their human neighbors in seemingly pointless ways. The next infuriating, inexplicable incident may explode into war.

Scientist Mara Cadell has a radical proposal: that host mothers carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, who might understand each other better. Mara knows about the bond between twins: her own twin Levi died in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.

The human Council approves the project. The Tofa agree to cooperate, although no one is sure they understand the project’s purpose. In fact, the Tofa have their own agenda. And so does one member of the Council, who believes the human colonists should have wiped out the Tofa before setting foot on Tofarn. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred project through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?”

  • Published: October 11, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-1463578916 (paperback)
  • ISBN-13: 9781466174566 (e-book)
  • ASIN: B005VDVHQ2
  • Available at Smashwords, Amazon & other online distributors
  • Source: Author

Author Profile:

Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University.  She now considers herself a Hoosier. Wyle’s childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist.  While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9. 

Wyle is an appellate attorney, photographer, political junkie, and mother of two daughters. Her voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction.  It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice.  Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.


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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction, Writers and Writing

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