Song of Time

Winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award and the John W Campbell Memorial Award A future world of unrelenting change, strangeness, and uncertainty, experienced through the passions and memories of one remarkable old womanRoushana Maitland has known great fame and great sorrow throughout her long life As a world renowned musician, she was the queen of the Paris bohemians eveWinner of the Arthur C Clarke Award and the John W Campbell Memorial Award A future world of unrelenting change, strangeness, and uncertainty, experienced through the passions and memories of one remarkable old womanRoushana Maitland has known great fame and great sorrow throughout her long life As a world renowned musician, she was the queen of the Paris bohemians even as nuclear war raged elsewhere around the globe She lost a beloved brother in a terrorist created biological nightmare She sometimes relished, sometimes endured her marriage to a brilliant and unpredictable conductor Now, she lives out her days on the rugged Cornish coast, remembering past glories and heartbreaks She struggles with the decision to let her life slip away, or choose a virtual existence for eternity, as so many of her friends and acquaintances have already done.Then, one day, she discovers a naked young man who has washed up on the beach She brings him home, dresses him in her husband s clothes, and calls him Adam As this strange arrival convalesces, Roushana shares her stories and her secrets, recounting the personal landmarks in a remarkable life lived in a world gone mad, even as his own past remains a mystery.
Song of Time Winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award and the John W Campbell Memorial Award A future world of unrelenting change strangeness and uncertainty experienced through the passions and memories of one rema

  • Title: Song of Time
  • Author: Ian R. MacLeod
  • ISBN: 9781906301217
  • Page: 313
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Song of Time”

    1. Don't read this book if you're not in the mood for re-evaluating your life. As Roushana Maitland looks back upon her hundred years on planet Earth, the reader can't help but do something very similar. It's a reflective, thoughtful and poetic book, but that doesn't stop it being upsetting and rather depressing!This didn't really need to be a science fiction novel, though the same could of course said for many works in the genre. The core of it - the very literary biography of a violinist - could [...]

    2. Thoughtful and full of ideas, this near-future literary science fiction book pleased me in several ways. Thematically, it examines how life is lived and how remembered; how memories form and are used; how death might be approached; and of course, what love is. The background to all of this is a world with wonderful riches and culture, terrible poverty and violence, and a restless and dangerous earth. Music is the device that links it all together, as Roushana, the aged and dying protagonist, is [...]

    3. “Life is a series of acts which we eventually grow tired of performing.” Thrilled and disappointed simultaneously. Subtle future technology juxtaposition with timeless issues of living and dying. Literary post-apocalyptic science fiction. Unfortunately, self-consciously literary. Brilliant imagery, clumsy storytelling. Occasional homonym or similar faulty word choice. Several epigrams could become catch phrases for the culture were they not so ineptly worded. As if it was dashed off, but not [...]

    4. A near future science fiction novel and a mainstream character piece that isn’t a Frankenstein creation of thrown together parts(like one of the creepier characters) but an organic combining of the two styles where they work in complete compatibility. Fun thing with near future is we get to see what Macleod will get right (he already got one wrong, an aside about the U.S never having a Black president, oops), will classical music have a resurgence or do we face food born plagues(what a stretch [...]

    5. Indie publishing hasn't done any favors for this aching tale of an elderly violinist looking back on her life. It was poorly copyedited, wrapped in a startlingly ugly cover, and released into the world in an edition of only 500 copies. But it's nonetheless a nice example of what seems to be a MacLeod specialty: a portrait of someone who, nearly alone among those of her vanished generation, has lived long enough to see technology triumph over death. It could be read as a sort of inversion of Neve [...]

    6. I haven't been posting much lately about books I've been reading, maybe because I haven't been all that impressed with them, which may say more about me and my choices (or my current glum mood) than it does about the books. But this novel is a gem, the life of a gifted woman written as if being narrated by an eloquent novelist or memoirist of the next century. Highly recommended.

    7. What an excellent book! Beautiful, lyrically and precisely told, this is a story of a dying old woman who wants to go on living by retaining her past. We are our memories and in the 22nd Century life goes on after death in the ultimate media recording of all we did and said and pretended. MacLoed explores this quite gently, almost incidentally using SF tropes. Yes, the story needs the transfer of personality into virtuality as the body dies. Yes, he manages to tell the story of a apocalyptic 21s [...]

    8. This is elegant & lovely. A woman looking back on her life as she prepares to die, in a world very like ours could become. Speculative fiction with a mystery, a twist and compelling characters. A lot about music and art. This book won many awards.

    9. Hmm.Ian MacLeod’s Song of Time begins as Roushana Maitland, an aged concert violinist, finds an angelically beautiful young man washed up on the shore near her Cornish home. He has no memory of himself or his past, so Roushana calls him Adam, which becomes, in effect, his real name. She tells the young man stories from her life — memories of her childhood in Birmingham, of travelling to India with her mother to aid the victims of nuclear fallout, of her musical career in Paris. But there’s [...]

    10. an MacLeod is yet another innovative Brit to break in at the start of the twenty-first century. This novel made a very good first impression on me. The prose is stunning; this is easily one of the best-written novels I’ve read for this project. I’m just not sure that the story lives up to MacLeod’s crisp and elegant language.The novel is narrated by a British woman of part-Indian descent named Roushana Maitland. Most of it is a sort of memoir of her life through the twenty-first century, w [...]

    11. This is a wrenching and beautiful work about a woman reaching the end of her life in near-future Scotland. We learn of the adventures and loves and losses that constitute who she is as she shares her life’s story. Her audience is a seeming shipwreck-victim whom she discovers on the rocky shore near her home. She is recording her memories for the "crystal" in her brain, creating a digital copy of herself that will carry on past her impending death. Her life, like many, is a series of tragedies [...]

    12. Song of Time tells the life story of an elderly violinist who has lived through a turbulent century, through the memories she recounts to an amnesiac man she has rescued. The story worked extremely well on the large-scale level of the world’s slow collapse as well as on the small-scale, personal, emotional level of Roushana’s life. The mystery of the rescued man, Adam, ties into the ideas about identity and mortality that Roushana is exploring as she considers the end of her life, and whethe [...]

    13. A very well executed piece set in the near future. At the end of her life a woman looks back on her life as a musician, having lived through many of the defining moments of the 21st century. Although this is SF it has strong literary leanings and the characterisation is excellent, rich, sympathetic and three-dimensional.In many ways this needn't be set in the future, and as such is not really science fiction, except for the one issue it deals with sparingly but clearly throughout the book, that [...]

    14. What a strange, science-fiction world view of the future! There were many elements in this book which I enjoyed: the main characters were intriguing and well developed; the unfolding story line of the memories shared; and the premise of needing to consider your past in order to move toward the future. However, there were many things that I found irritating: the multiple typos; the rambling quality of the book (it needed a really good editor!); and the very dark world-view and what it portends wi [...]

    15. This was a very emotional book. It takes place in the near future, which I guess is what makes it SciFi, but to me it's more of a piece of literature. The main character is forced to reevaluate her life because she needs to recall memories as she nears death. Read the book and that will make more sense. She helped by a stranger that washes up on the shore near her house. Classical music plays a major roll in the story, although you don't need to know anything about it. That aspect of the story i [...]

    16. Stopped at page 68. Overwrought prose, really odd typos (missing words include "to", for example: did anyone copy edit this?). The author was really trying way too hard to write in a "literary" style, and the story suffers for it. I don't usually comment on cover art, but as an artist, I have to say this is one of the ugliest covers I've seen. The figure's head is too small, for one thing. Angsty, emo, yech. Not for me.

    17. So I hadn't read Ian R. MacLeod before and I shall have to read some more. The great mystery of this book is why it jointly won the 2009 John W Campbell Memorial Award - because it's so much better than the other joint winner Little Brother.2009 is one of those rare years where I've read all of the Hugo nominees - and Song of Time is much better than three of them (Little Brother, Saturn's Children, Zoe's Tale) and definitely on a par with Anathem and The Graveyard Book.

    18. Why does the ebook version have such a slapdash cover? Why is it riddled with typos and why, why is this man's work not more widely available? Typos aside, it's an incredibly moving book about memory and loss and the general sense of intangibility that hangs over everything these days. Such a work deserves at least the solidity of a paperback edition.

    19. Beautifully written, beautifully read memoir of the 21st century. Insightful meditation on art and music, marriage, family and cultural mythology, and the end of life but more fun than this sounds. Not escapist fiction, however.I listened to the Audible version read by Rachel Atkins and strongly recommend this format.David - Dallas

    20. 3.5 stars. I listened to this novel and loved the narrator and much of the novel but he goes to big (environmental destruction, disaster, politics, culture, body farms) and then can't quite pull it together in the end. His narrative frame didn't work. Although the tone was really consistent and it was a great listen. I'd happily recommend it to others.

    21. This was much, much too long; the beginning was ok, and the end was actually a compelling read, but most of the middle was unnecessary. I feel a little conflicted; was annoyed until the end, where it improved.

    22. Poetic and sad, with probably the most real and frightening vision of future I've ever seen. I wasn't expecting that and this book took me totally by surprise. Wonderful, beautifully written (even if Polish translation is weird), sigh.

    23. Not normally the sort of thing I'd be drawn to, but given how much I've liked MacLeod's more Dickensian New-Weird stuff, I figure I owe it a look (not to mention all the great reviews and awards it has recieved).

    24. I loved this book. Like 1984 it succeeds because first and foremost it's a well written novel with good story, believable characters and well described location. It just happens to be set around 100 years in the future. Recommended.

    25. Story about life. Covers many aspects of it: births, deaths, love, etc. All within near future prospect. I found the twist at the end unnecessary, didn't add much to this beautifully crafted story. Also part about war was a bit slow. But the rest is pure, poetic MacLeod.

    26. Interesting if slow moving sci fi with a literary feel. The Song of Time depicts a woman's life over time as she is dying.

    27. Song of Time by Ian R. Macleod is a rare gem of a book that defies easy classification. Maybe its literary sci-fi? Fictional future memoir? However you'd classify it-- I really enjoyed it.

    28. Wow - why haven't I heard of MacLeod before? I had the joy of discovering a "new" master of the art - what a great read. I'm off to find more of his work.

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