THE MEMORY OF WHITENESS Paperback – 1999
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Those that made their way thru the Mars trilogy and called the journey pleasant will testify that what kept them entranced was not any certain traditional literary technique, but instead a technique possibly unique to KSR himself. KSR builds rich gardens of thought and ideas, very realistic and utterly fascinating, and then translates them into the next scene for his characters to enter. We never are fully guided through any of these idea gardens, but as we close the book, we realize that he has left a meta-map of 5 or 6 of these for our minds to explore later. KSR may be the quintesential adept of paradigm construction. If you are a scientist, thinker, writer, or inventor, KSR will certainly open up, nay -blow open- doors to new realms of thought. He's done it in every one of his books thus far, and I will continue to be first in line to buy his new hardcovers as they emerge, so that I won't have to live a day without seeing all the potentialities that KSR sees. Asimov may have created 1 or 2 of these idea gardens (psychohistory, as one), but KSR does it repeatedly. It is a totally unique experience in literature.
Speaking to The Memory of Whiteness itself, it is set in the year 3229... that alone speaks volumes, and KSR builds the finest 4th milennium stage I've ever read. You will be guided on a tour of worlds and cultures (KSR also being a master of 'culture creation', another of his distinct footprints), and the entire idea of 'music' will transform before your eyes. The story moves along with good pace, with enough complexity to entice you to read it again, and builds to an ending that will haunt your waking days. So this one certainly deserves an A+.
I sit here still enraptured. I raise a toast to Kim Stanley Robinson! May your days of formation remain prosperous...
It does tend toward the science more than the characters, which seems unusual in comparison to Robinson's other work, but the science is engaging, and the sociological facets of the book (always Robinson's strong suit) are riveting (the wide variety of cultures represented throughout the Solar System ring incredibly true).
One caveat: As a caucasian male with a shaved head, it's rather uncomfortable to read a book entitled "The Memory of Whiteness" in public; I often felt as if others were pegging me as a neo-Nazi due to the ambiguous title. But maybe I'm just being overly PC.
Most recent customer reviews
I really enjoyed the entire Mars trilogy and so I came to this book with very high expectations. They were disappointed. Read morePublished on Aug. 24 1999
I felt that this book was very impressive and the richness of it's concepts is extraordinary. The first part of the book is the best, but the second half of the book becomes... Read morePublished on March 11 1999
Robinson is the only human who could possibly write a novel about a recovering drug addict on a mission from God to accurately represent 10th dimensional physics through music. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 1999
The concept of creating different mini-worlds around the solar system was ingenious. There were recreations of the Serengeti, the Zagros mountains, among others. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 1998