Rated 4.14/5 based on 7 reviews
Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb?
After seventy years on Tofarn, the human colonists still know almost nothing about the native Tofa. Misunderstandings breed conflict, and the conflicts are escalating. Scientist Mara Cadell’s radical proposal: that host mothers carry fraternal twins, one human and one Tofa, who might understand each other better. (The sequel, REACH, now available!) More
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About Karen A. Wyle

Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but moved every few years throughout her childhood and adolescence. After college in California, law school in Massachusetts, and a mercifully short stint in a large San Francisco law firm, she moved to Los Angeles. There she met her husband, who hates L.A. They eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University.

Wyle has been a voracious and compulsive reader as long as she can remember. She majored in English and American Literature major at Stanford University, which suited her, although she has in recent years developed some doubts about whether studying literature is, for most people, a good preparation for enjoying it. She has been reading science fiction for several decades, but also gobbles up character-driven mysteries and historical fiction, with the occasional foray into anything from chick lit to military history.

Wyle's voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction. It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of practicing appellate law. Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.

Wyle and her husband have two essentially-grown and wildly creative daughters, as well as a sweet but neurotic dog.

Read Karen A. Wyle's Smashwords Interview
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About the Series: Twin-Bred
Humans have lived on Tofarn, planet of creeks and rivers, for seventy years, but they still don't understand the Tofa. The Tofa are an enigma, from their featureless faces to the four arms that sometimes seem to be five. They take arbitrary umbrage at the simplest human activities, while annoying their human neighbors in seemingly pointless ways. The next infuriating, inexplicable incident may explode into war.

Scientist Mara Cadell's radical proposal: that host mothers carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Mara knows about the bond between twins: her own twin, Levi, died in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.

Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?

Also in Series: Twin-Bred

Also by This Author


Danielle Tara Evans reviewed on March 11, 2013

Karen A. Wyle has created a whole new world in Twin-Bred. In this futuristic novel, humans are now living on a planet called Tofarn where they must co-exist with the Tofa species that was already there. Of course this is never an easy thing to do, particularly when there are communication issues and huge biological and sociological differences. The main character, Mara, is a human who comes up with a plan to try to get humans and Tofa to understand each other better. The Project is then born, where both human and Tofa host mothers carry twins in utero—one human and one Tofa.

While I found the story to be very creative and unusual, I honestly had some trouble getting into it at first. The book spans a long period of time starting at the beginning of the Project and then showing the twins as they grow up into adolescence. There are so many characters presented that it was hard for me to really get to know any of them. However, Mara was definitely an interesting character, being that she still talked to her twin who died in utero. There were some characters that I wanted to see more of, such as Laura and Veda, and I also found it was hard to distinguish the personality of one Tofa from another. Just as they looked like each other, they all seemed to act the same as well. Each scene was so short that it felt like it was over almost as soon as it had begun so it was difficult to invest in what was going on.

That being said, I still believe that Karen A. Wyle is a very talented writer. Her descriptions of the world and of the bizarre characteristics of the Tofa were nicely done. It was a mainly dialogue driven novel that did not have an overabundance of detail, which I enjoyed since dialogue is usually my favorite aspect of reading.

While it took awhile for anything of major significance to happen (after the Twin-Bred were born), there were some intense moments later on in the story. Prior to that, I was just waiting for something to go wrong. How could anyone possibly think this Project would work out as planned?

If you are looking for a fast-paced sci-fi novel with lots of action, then this not the book for you. But if you are interested in reading an imaginative story that shows how difficult it is for anyone different to live peacefully among others, then this might be one you’ll want to pick up (or download)!
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)
Charles Kravetz reviewed on Feb. 26, 2013

This review is for the Kindle edition ebook.

Disclosure: I was offered a copy of this book by the author as a review copy.

Fraternal twins, born together, sharing a bond, diplomats between species.

This book is about the ability of twins to communicate with each other. It is also about the inability of humans to get along with anyone different from ourselves. This book is very much about the struggle to understand and communicate with others who may be so radically different speech is impossible.

I enjoyed the interaction of the twins in this book. I found the theory presented very plausible. It seems to represent the current struggle of mankind to get along, while maintaining separate identities of each country. The possibilities of earthlings to travel to another planet and learn to interact with another species is always fascinating to read about. Unfortunately, the sometimes difficult to follow time periods in the book made the early reading more difficult than it should have been. Possibly adding date and time slots to the paragraph heading would help with that.

Karen A. Wyle presents us with a fascinating journey to the possibilities of twins becoming diplomats to solve a communication issue. Having read enough science to know it is believed there is an incredible bond between twins, this is a story that I got swallowed up by. Like all great science fiction, it leaves the mind wandering in the story, and even allows room for the reader to decide how plausible the theory is.

I can easily recommend this book to science fiction readers looking for something besides the usual “lost in space” book. I also think twins would enjoy reading this, because to me it represents much of what a twin should be. I look forward to more by this author and have picked up another of her books.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
Michael Alexander reviewed on Nov. 13, 2012

Twin-Bred is a science fiction novel by author Karen A. Wyle. However, Twin-Bred is hardly a Star Wars-esque space adventure with flagship battles and heat-seeking lasers. Twin-Bred instead focuses on the characters and the relationships between two different species trying to cohabit the same planet and the attempt to create inbred communication between the species from birth.

To see my full review click here:
(reviewed 58 days after purchase)
Jessica Buike reviewed on Nov. 15, 2011

This book is an interesting new concept all revolving around the idea of twins and the unique connection that they seem to share. A science experiment involving the lives of both human and Tofa weaves a story of hope and determination in the face of severe discrimination. The story jumps around a bit at first so it's hard to keep everything straight. I wished that there were lines or symbols that distinguished between scenes - but that could have been because I was reading an electronic copy rather than a hard copy. There are a lot of names to keep track of, but there is a helpful names list at the end of the book if you need it and you're reading a hard copy rather than the electronic copy (because on eBook readers, jumping around like that is a bit too much work, you can't just "flip to the back" like with a "real" book). This was a wonderful read that encourages the reader to explore what the definition of humanity really is.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
S J MacDonald reviewed on Nov. 5, 2011

The idea that twins have such a strong bond that it would transcend even difference of species is an interesting one. People of strong anti-abortion or religious views might find some aspects of The Project controversial. There is also a moral question as to whether it is justifiable to create “abnormal” babies either for scientific or social purposes. Those issues make this a powerful, thought provoking book.

The story covers a broad range of time, alternating narrative with excerpts from scientific reports. This works well, giving both an overview of the experiment and an intimate view of individuals involved in it. The pacing is good and I liked (no spoilers!) that things did not work out as expected.

It’s difficult to create really believable aliens but Karen Wyle achieves it with the Tofa. They are incomprehensible despite every effort of humans to communicate with them. I liked that some mysteries remained unsolved. Mara, the scientist carrying out the experiment, was complex. I too wondered at times whether she was disturbed. She’s certainly obsessive and driven. There were a lot of minor characters – I felt at times that some of them could have been condensed and I’d have liked more focus on perhaps just one family.

The cover is eye-catching and shows you immediately what the book is going to be about. Spelling, grammar and formatting are all to a professional standard.

This book is intriguing, scary, funny and sad. I found myself reading parts of it with detachment, considering the scientific and moral issues raised. At other times I was laughing out loud, then shocked and upset. This is definitely a book that you will remember reading.
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
Sandra Keys reviewed on Oct. 19, 2011
(no rating)
Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? Could the Twin-Bred be the answer to all the issues the Humans and Tofa have with each other?
In Twin-Bred, the human colony on Tofarn and the indigenous Tofa have great difficulty communicating with and basically comprehending each other. Scientist Mara Cadell, who lost a fraternal twin in utero, proposes that host mothers of either or both species carry twins, one human and one Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Mara has secretly kept her own twin, Levi, alive in her mind as a companion and collaborator.
Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?...

Initially I found the book a bit hard going as the concept is quite complicated, but as you get further into the book and more is explained about "The Project" things become much clearer and you soon become attached to the main character Mara and of course the twin-bred themselves. Mara is a complicated character and at times you wonder if she has made up an imaginary friend whom she talks to and then you learn her true tragic story. You learn about the Tofa, the race that the planet really belongs there, then you learn about the humans who landed on the planet and are trying to take over. The story is of "The Project" and how both Tofa and Humans have their own agendas for this project. There are brilliant and poignant life stories within the actual main story. There are tragic deaths in the book too both Human and Tofa and how those affect the Twin-Breds who seem to belong no where. They are literally treat as out casts as they are neither Human nor Tofa in the eyes of those races. The story shows the issues of trust and different races learning to live together in peace. I could go on more and more about this book but do not wish to include spoilers, but I would compare this book to Across the Universe by Beth Revis. I hope that ther is a book two as I know i would read it and want to know what happens to the Twin-Bred and Mara and the other Humans. It is definitely worth reading!
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)
Sullivan McPig reviewed on Oct. 13, 2011

An original and beautifully written SciFi story.

Twin-Bred is written in a calm, narritive, almost detached tone of voice which fits this story about a scientific experiment really well. The story is really intriguing and I couldn't stop reading as I wanted to find out where this experiment would lead and what would happen to the human and Tofa children who were brought in to the world. Would they really be able to make a difference?

The Tofa are interesting and well worked out aliens. Wyle really succeeded in making them likeable, but at the same time mysterious and a bit creepy. As the story focuses on the humans and the Twin-Bred children, the 'real' Tofa stay mysterious, their actions strange and seemingly dual in nature and they act as a possible threat throughout the experiment.

In a way this story reminded me of Čapek's 'War with the Newts', not surprising as both stories shine a light on how humans treat each other and where we go wrong. But where Čapek's view is a grim one, Wyle still leaves some hope that we as a species might one day see the light.

All in all a beautiful, thought provoking tale.
I will keep an eye out for Wyle's next book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Rob Skelton reviewed on Oct. 13, 2011

Twin-Bred by Karen A. Wyle.

Escaping from an over-crowded Earth, humans search for somewhere to live; somewhere clean and fresh – a good place to put down roots and raise children.

They settle on Tofarn, which seems to fit all of their requirements – even the indigenous aliens appear happy to accept them.
Trouble inevitably flares between the native Tofa and the human newcomers, mostly because of mutual ignorance. What is needed is a means of bringing the two communities closer, the forging of some permanent bond, which in itself will draw everyone together and make for a peaceful and mutually tolerant society.

What follows is the story of a scientific attempt to produce that perfect solution; the setbacks and the successes, the joys and the unforeseen disasters.

A happy ending? A hopeful one, definitely! I would love a sequel to this beautifully written, captivating novel. More please!
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)

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