Do you consider Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro to be science fiction?


New Member
Jul 20, 2021
Never Let Me Go is a love story about clones but it doesn't feel like science fiction to me.
Nor me. A scathing condemnation of cloning sentient beings for body parts, but sadly the possibility is all too real to be science fiction.
I see your point, Farn, but there had been discussions of doing just that in the past. Perhaps not sentient beings but non sentient animals. That is the top of a very slippery slope. Remember the number of issues that sf has discussed that actually happened. Yeah, in a very broad sense it could be looked at in a sf way, but from information I read it had left the realm of sf and was considered as a viable course of action to follow. Brrrrr.
It's about clones, so yes.
There's enough of an SF element for the SF label to be justified, to be sure.

The same goes for Ishiguro's latest, Klara And The Sun, which (plug alert!) Jo talks about on the latest episode of Chronscast. That serves as a kind of counterpoint to NLMG and, as Jo and we concluded on the poddy, despite the sense of foreboding around the technology, ended up being too hopeful and generous towards humanity for it to be labelled dystopian (which it was by the bookshops).

It can't be called science fiction because it's describing something that is happening in real life?
NO! There's nothing wrong with that still being a subject of science fiction.

That certain Star Trek episodes point to things like Naziism, colour prejudice or many other wrongs doesn't stop them being SF, it just means they are also relevant to today's problems.

But in the case of Never Let Me Go, I don't think they even were clones. They were simply kids who had been chosen by the society to be suppliers of replacement organs to the more powerful, and kept alive simply for that purpose.
Eventually they became proud of the service they provided in a sort of Stockholm syndrome.
I'd say under a general or academic definition it would classify as science fiction, based on the content. But from a marketing perspective it's not SF because Ishiguro is a literary author so his books don't get the genre tag.

Just my $0.02.