A timely reissue of one of Robinson’s most lyrical sf works.
In the 33rd century humanity is scattered among the planets of the Solar System. Millions of lives depend on the revolutionary physics of Arthur Holywelkin; millions of hearts are moved by the music created by the strange, eerie instrument he built in the last years of his life: the Orchestra.
Johannes Wright is the Ninth – and youngest – Master of the Orchestra. But as he sets out on his first Grand Tour of the Solar System, unseen foes are at his heels, ready to reveal all but the meaning of their enmity. In confronting them, Wright must redefine the Universe – for himself and all humanity.
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Though now best known for his massive 1990s Mars trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson has been publishing fine, intelligent SF novels since 1984. The Memory of Whiteness (1985) describes a grand musical tour of the 33rd-century solar system, beginning on Pluto at the bleak outer edge, visiting various moons, asteroids and planets, and climaxing in the blinding light and heat of a futuristic power station orbiting close to the Sun's solar-flare zone. All these places are habitable thanks to technologies spawned by the Unified Field Theory of physicist Holywelkin, whose other gift to posterity was his mysterious Orchestra--a fantastic amalgam of over 150 instruments controllable by a single player. Past Orchestra Masters simply played classical music, but the new master is a visionary who thinks he sees Holywelkin's original purpose: to explore his revolutionary Ten Forms of Change equations through music, and reach a devastating insight about the universe. The interplay of music and mathematics (as in Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach) is persuasive and resonant. Meanwhile, plots, deceptions, conspirators, cultists, and sabotage attempts dog the Grand Tour as it spirals inward through the system.... Gripping thriller elements alternate with elegant philosophical speculation and slightly cutesy asides to the "dear Reader". Strange and fascinating. -- David LangfordReview:
‘An elegance that manages to contain a what-happens-next vigour… It makes astonishing connections’
‘A symphony of ideas’
‘Rich and compelling’
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Book Description VOYAGER, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 6482562