978-0-312-93467-5 / 9780312934675

The memory of whiteness: A scientific romance


Publisher:T. Doherty Associates



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About the book:

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 Langford

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