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Muse of Fire Hardcover – Dec 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 105 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean (December 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596061812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596061811
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,597,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Do you want to read this book for much less than this price? Jan. 29 2009
By Bornintime - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First off it's not a book really. Well, this edition is a book. But in normal type it's about 60 pages only. Not even a novella, only a mere story that would normally appear with another 10 or 12 stories. If you are like me and want to read all of Dan Simmons' work but don't want to pay big bucks for a collectible edition you are in luck. The exact same story appears in the SF Anthology NEW SPACE OPERA edited by Gardner Dozois. You can get it new for about 8 dollars, used for less, or maybe, like myself, free from your public library. The story itself is very good, everything we have come to expect from a Simmons SF story.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Purpose of Creation Jan. 12 2009
By J. Brian Watkins - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To those who bemoan word counts, I say that Mr. Simmons' writing is a bargain at twice the price. In this novella, Mr. Simmons successfully channels both Ray Bradbury and Gnostic mythology to bring us a story about creation and the meaning of life. It brings to mind the comment made by Lewis Thomas to Carl Sagan that if mankind were to broadcast Bach to the stars it would constitute bragging but it would be wise to put the best possible face on such an acquaintance. In Muse of Fire, Mr. Simmons posits that the creations of Shakespeare justify our creators' efforts entirely. Perhaps taking a page from Mr. Bloom, Mr. Simmons argues that Shakespeare, properly understood, transcends mere art and constitutes mankind's most valuable contribution to creation.

Mr. Simmons' love and admiration for Shakespeare pervades this story, which is worthwhile not only for its especially novel and creative take on our universe, but also because it encourages its reader to seek out and rediscover Shakespeare's infinitely rewarding art.

Worth every penny.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Creative and Literate SciFi Short Sept. 20 2012
By Jason Golomb - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
"They can see and hear and maybe translate the words, but how can you translate Shakespeare to alien minds?" -Wilbr, "Muse of Fire"

This digital version of this short book has been on sale and is well worth the price. In the far future, in a far part of the universe, a space-travelling group of actors wander worlds inhabited by human slaves, performing the works of Shakespeare. Narrated through the voice of a secondary player, Wilbr, Simmons builds a world of creatively crafted aliens, religions and gods.

The title refers to the name of the troubadour's ship. The Muse her/it-self is a being that runs the spacecraft, reminiscent, but in a much less dark way, of John Scalzi's god-driven starships in his short "God Engines'.

Simmons builds his plot around a series of these Shakespearian performances on grand-universal stages to a variety of beings. Even at fewer than 100 pages, Simmons crafts realistic and believable characters and the framework of a fascinating and detailed universe.

In "Muse", Simmons emotes a passion for The Bard and I couldn't help but think that he'd not yet gotten Shakespeare completely out of his system after writing his duology "Olypos" and "Illium", which relies heavily on Shakespeare-driven themes. While not giving the ending away, Simmons may acknowledge that he finally found some creative Shakespearian closure with "Muse of Fire", when an alien suggests to Wilbr, "You people need to learn some new poets."

Simmons continues to prove that his creative abilities go well beyond a narrowly defined genre such as science fiction. He writes so sharply and with an imbued sense of intelligence that his literate capabilities lift the literary sense and pleasure of his readers.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good, but available elsewhere March 7 2009
By ML - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First, this novella is available in the collection THE NEW SPACE OPERA edited by Dozois and Strahan. It's a decent collection and cheaper by far than this volume.

Second, it's a well-written novella with good atmospherics -- a lot of tension, and a lot of wonder. On the other hand, the final punch line is probably going to be hard to buy for people who are not hardcore Shakespeare fans. I felt a little cheated, but obviously not so much that I felt like giving it a bad rating (although if given a finer-grained rating system, I'd give it a 3.6/5.0 rather than 4.0/5.0).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hidden gem Dec 14 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dan Simmons is the great American secret. Stephen King and James Patterson may sell more books, but when those two kings of pop lit are long forgotten, people will still be reading Simmons. Do yourself a favor, and read his incredibly literate and fluid prose. Muse of Fire is as good a place to start as any, but be warned: once you start reading Simmons, you won't be able to stop. That's the kind of "problem" all true readers crave.

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