This picture, which is of some of the failed Ripley-clones from Alien Resurrection (if you haven't seen it, it is much more awesome than you would expect it to be. I love the Alien movies, and if I don't stop myself I will get carried away in describing my love for them. Probably best to save that for another post), doesn't have very much at all to do with Ursula K. Le Guin's collection of short stories entitled The Wind's Twelve Quarters (there is a bit of a connection though, just stay with me). This collection of stories spans the first ten years of Le Guin's career (1962-1974). Its the first of her books I've read (I also have The Left Hand of Darkness), and it made me want to read more, although some of the stories can get a little too fantasy-myth-like and not enough science-fictiony-like.
One of the stories that had no dragons or magic and took place in outer-space (all good story elements), and which also happened to be one of my favorite in the book, was "Nine Lives." Its the story of an exploratory mining crew that is sent out to super distant worlds (so distant that by the time they go there and get back to earth, pretty much everyone they know back home will be dead). Two guys are on this volcanic mineral planet, getting kind of sick of each other and figuring out where the uranium is. The ship with their support crew arrives, and ten people climb out -- ten copies of the same person that is (that's right! clones! now the picture makes sense!). There are five women and five men, all made from the DNA of one super smart guy (they just took the boy chromosomes off for the girls). They all act independently and (sort of) have their own personalities. They generally wake up at the same time, go to bed at the same time, have sex with each other (masturbation or incest? Its an interesting question). But what happens to the one clone left behind when the other nine die in a mining accident?
I won't tell you. I will loan you the book if you want, though.