Second paragraph of third chapter:
Does it represent a failure of will that I’ve brought him here? Certainly, it would be nice, to leave a little mystery, and possibly even a small scandal, behind me. Famous violinist found dead with anonymous male—as if people still cared about such things. I should report him now—alert the waymarks. Perhaps he’s dangerous. He could be a compendium of every worst fear, the bearer of some deadly new virus far worse than the antique plagues which afflicted my childhood, or the human bomb, the patient torturer, the rapist, the robber, the hostage-taker, the madman. But he looks so vulnerable—so deliciously helpless…
This is the next book in my sequence of winners of the Tiptree/Otherwise, BSFA and Clarke Awards; I’m going back to blogging the award winners individually for two reasons – I think the all-in-one posts were too long, and my memory of the books was fading after reading them.
The only other book I’ve read by this author is his best known work, The Light Ages, which I felt ambivalent about. But I really enjoyed this, and it has incentivised me to look out for his other books. It’s a story in two timelines: the very near future collapse of western civilisation due to plague and unrest, and the slightly further future timeline putting it all back together again. The narrator is a world-famous violinist from Birmingham with Irish and Indian heritage; her marriage to a world-famous conductor reflects the integration and disintegration of their world, as she retells the story years later to a mysterious visitor to her Cornwall cottage. Really good, and you can get it here.
Song of Time won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2009, beating Anathem by Neal Stephenson, House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper, Martin Martin’s on the Other Side by Mark Wernham and The Quiet War by Paul McAuley. I’ve only read one of those, and I prefer Song of Time. It also won the “other” Campbell Award, jointly with Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, again beating Anathem.
The Hugo that year went to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, the Nebula to Powers by Ursula Le Guin, the BSFA Award to The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod, and the Tiptree Award went jointly to Filter House by Nisi Shawl and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Filter House is up next.