*10 Favorite Books of the Year (2015) —O, The Oprah Magazine
*Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2015 —The Washington Post
*One of the most anticipated books of 2015 —Dazed & Confused, BuzzFeed
Inez wanders a post-pandemic world, strangely immune to disease, making her living by volunteering as a test subject. She is hired to provide genetic material to a grief-stricken, affluent mother, who lost all four of her daughters within four short weeks. This experimental genetic work is policed by a hazy network of governmental Ethics committees, and threatened by the Knights of Life, religious zealots who raze the rural farms where much of this experimentation is done.
When the mother backs out at the last minute, Inez is left responsible for the product, which in this case is a baby girl, Ani. Inez must protect Ani, who is a scientific breakthrough, keeping her alive, dodging authorities and religious fanatics, and trying to provide Ani with the chilldhood tha Inez never had, which means a stable home and an education.
With a stylish voice, The Only Ones is a time-old story, tender and iconic, about how much we love our children, however they come, as well as a sly commentary on class, politics, and the complexities of reproductive technology.
"Breathtaking. [Dibbell has] delivered a debut novel on par with some of the best speculative fiction of the past 30 years; The Only Ones deserves to be shelved alongside Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring, and P. D. James' The Children of Men. It's that good, and that important, and that heartbreakingly beautiful." —NPR
Dibbell's debut novel chillingly imagines the world in the wake of a global pandemic in the latter part of the 21st century, when much of the population has been wiped out by a potent combination of viruses and bacterial infections that includes tuberculosis, polio, and Ebola. The reader views this apocalyptic abyss through the eyes of Inez Kissena Fardo, a young woman from Queens, N.Y., who has never known a normal existence she has never even seen a baby. Reproductive ability has been annihilated, and fetuses are made in a lab. Instead of parents there are "clients"; mothers have become "hosts," and fathers are now "male product." Inez, who is immune to infection, becomes part of Rauden Sach's team of baby makers for paying customers. When other methods fail, Rauden resorts to cloning her, and complications ensue. The futuristic trials of motherhood are eerily familiar; Inez spends her days rushing from one low-wage job to the next to pay for her daughter's schooling, clothes, and the things she needs to keep up with her friends. The book illuminates present-day paranoias, but it is further elevated by Dibbell's trenchant attention to the corrosive nature of social and economic inequality.