On Context, Clones, and the Unknown: Tade Thompson’s The Murders of Molly Southbourne

Let’s talk about clones and narratives. As anyone who’s read or watched a story dealing with clones can attest, introducing cloning into a narrative allows storytellers to explore a host of themes: nature versus nurture, the notion of what makes a person unique, the question of what happens when human rights and rampant corporatism collide. In a myriad number of books, stories, televisions shows, and films, cloning has been used to illustrate a wide array of themes and questions—ultimately getting to some genuinely primal ones. What makes us human? What does having the power to replicate a person imply for humanity? And what would it be like to discover that you yourself are not unique?

These themes have been explored in a host of acclaimed books, including a few classics of the genre. Kate Wilhelm’s award-winning 1976 novel Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is one example. In its opening ...