I'm looking for a story I read in the 90s - I'd guess it's 20-30 pages long.

Two men are posted as scientific observers on an isolated planet for many years. Despite their differences, they learn to get along and survive the solitude. One day, a team of 12 identical clones arrives. There are 6 males and 6 females who were cloned from a brilliant male biologist (by adding X chromosomes, etc.). They are super close to each other; each one specializes in a different field of science, they all sleep together, and they don't really communicate well with outsiders.

The point of the story is the contrast between the original pair's way of dealing with differences and the clone's identical, in-built similarity which makes those skills unnecessary.

A disaster on the planet results in the death of some of the clones & explores the psychological aftermath of the breakup of their unit.

1 Answer 1


This is Nine Lives by Ursula K. LeGuin. Posted in its entirety here. And ISFDB info here. First published in Playboy magazine! (I only looked at it for the sf stories).

"It's a clone," Kaph said. "The other Exploit Team they're bringing with them." "Is it then?" "A twelveclone. They came out with us on the Passerine."


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