I am looking for a story which I read probably two decades ago, in the 90s, but which was probably already old at that point. I think I read it in some kind of anthology, in English, and in the USA.

A substantial number of children, all across the world, are the result of some kind of virus which caused infected women to become pregnant. The resulting children are either clones of the virus's creator, or else his DNA acts as the father's and mixes with the mother's in the normal way—I don't remember which.

The children who resulted are identifiable by their appearance. The story follows one such child in school (middle or high school, I'd say). Being one of these children is an embarrassment and makes him an outcast from the normal children.

I believe a band of these "siblings" comes together and end up finding the creator of the virus.

  • I know this one... I'll locate it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 3:54
  • 2
    One of the children was of below-average IQ. It turned out that his parents had started to suffocate him, but had only given him brain damage. Their teacher was the originator of the virus, and revealed as much to them during field trip. I think he was dead by the end of it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 4:02
  • Don't people vote to close it? No access to review yet so I'm not sure
    – Lampham
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 4:07
  • @Lampham "Community" voted to close it, which means likely a moderator swooped in. :) I'm a Gold-Badge, myself, so I have to be careful because my vote is instant.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 4:10
  • 2
    @FuzzyBoots: The "Community" thing showed up after I was prompted to mark my own question as a duplicate, and agreed to do so. I don't know how that prompt to me was triggered. Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 4:11

1 Answer 1


This is almost certainly The Cuckoo's Boys by Robert Reed first published in 1998. As per this answer:

In the near-future title story, a lonely genius clones himself -- not once, but millions of times -- by creating a virus that affects pregnant women. Throughout the world, women give birth to baby boys with the genetics of Phillip Stevens. Then a few years later, a man with a mysterious past becomes a mentor to three of these clones -- and as their teacher, he tests and challenges them. Are these boys little more than genetic copies of Stevens? Or are they distinct individuals, with unique personalities and coming-of-age problems?

Book cover

  • Yes, that's gotta be it. Thanks! I must have read in the Year's Best Science Fiction 16 (1999), which I see it was in from ISFDB. I am surprised to see that it was originally published in 1998—I had the impression that it was collected from longer ago than that. Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 4:08
  • I read the story myself a year or so back and quite enjoyed it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 4:11

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