There was a SF novel in my high-school library (sometime between 1985 and 1990), that I had intended to read, but for some reason I never got to it, or maybe it disappeared from the library. English language. I can't remember the author or title, or the name of the main character, but the gist of the back-cover blurb described the story a something very roughly like this:

[So-and-so] is a clone. A clone's personality is unstable, and degrades over time... but [so-and-so]'s personality seems, unusually, to be "rock solid". So she goes on a quest (or something) to discover just why that is.

That's just my paraphrasing of what I can remember (obviously). They key point is that the protagonist is this cloned woman whose mind ought to be degrading somehow, but for some reason it isn't. Does this ring a bell for anyone here? It's bugging me that I can't remember it, and I still think it sounds like it might be an interesting read.

I'm pretty fuzzy about the cover art, but I think there might have been a double helix on there, and a female silhouette? I don't trust that, though - I think I'm too likely to be mixing it up with other books I've read or seen, so don't take that as a reliable clue.

C. J. Cherryh's Cyteen has occurred to me as a prominent SF novel with a story based around cloning from around that time, and I suppose it might have been that, but I don't think it's really all that good a fit for the blurb as I seem to remember it.

1 Answer 1


This may be the cyberpunk novel Vacuum Flowers, from 1987, by Michael Swanwick. The original cover looked like this:

Cover Image

The main character, Rebel Elizabeth Mudlark, is not a biological clone, but a mental one. Her personality has been copied from her original dying body and duplicated in somebody else's brain. Everything known from past experience indicates that the cloned personality ought to decay, and the body's original mind should re-assert itself. Except that doesn't happen, and the characters set out to figure out why not, and what the non-decaying personality means.

  • Given the vagueness of my recollections, I can't be 100% sure if this is the book I had intended to read or not... but certainly it ticks all the boxes, so I'll accept this answer. I think it's probably the book I was looking for. However, if anyone can come up with any other book matching the description I gave, please post that as well!
    – Doin
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 9:16

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