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4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
Dear Reader, two whitsuns orbit the planet Uranus; one is called Puck, the other, Bottom. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars A far-futuristic symphony of ideas March 19 2002
Calling Robinson a stream-of-consciousness author may be unkind, thanks to the label's attachments... let's rather peg KSR as a stream-of-ideas craftsman.
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...
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4.0 out of 5 stars First class SF Jan. 30 2001
A fine example of thinking man's SF a la Clarke, Asimov or Le Guin, this early work by Kim Stanley Robinson compels readers to ponder the nature of space and time, and their relationship to music - the major theme of the story. These themes are skillfully tied together in a very well-written and suspenseful story that takes its characters from one end of the solar system (Pluto) to the other (in orbit around the sun). Incidentally, this latter aspect was particularly well-rendered; Robinson really did a good job of describing what it would be like flying in a spacecraft along the sun's surface and hanging around in a space station just above the its flare zone. The story moves along quickly, and despite the author's exploration of various scientific and philosophical aspects of the nature of existence, he makes no grand statements in the end, leaving readers to ponder these matters and draw their own conclusions. Except for the author's annoying way of addressing the "dear Reader" when speaking in the narrative voice, this is an almost perfect short sci-fi novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No need to be a music lover or a physicist. July 5 2000
By sysgen
I do not include music or physics among my interests, yet I enjoyed MOW. The book really makes you think about the way things are (or appear to be). Since this book is about a musician, and you do read it as opposed to listening to it, the author wonderfully conveys the essence and the power of music. For this alone this book is a must read. After reading of one of the concerts in the book, I was left absolutley floored as the narrative was that powerful. This was the first KSR book I have read. I was very impressed with the connection the author made with me. KSR uniquely addresses the reader at various points throughout the book and that added to my reading experience. Some of the physics theory really slowed me down as I struggled to understand as much as I could. All in all a very engaging and thought provoking work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hard science: Social, Physical, and Aural April 10 2000
By A Customer
I really adore Robinson's work in general, so am not surprised that I also enjoyed this book. It's definitely not his strongest work, but in a SF field filled with putrid tripe, this book is like a glorious orange blossom.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A surprising book of an obvious mix June 16 1999
Having read a lot of KSR it was very refreshing to read Memory of Whiteness. The reason for 4 stars is the beautiful description of the combination of music and 10 dimensional superstring theory. Once you read it, it becomes obvious that it must be so. What I miss is the realistic touch that KSR masters so well in both the Mars triology and the Orange County triology. You really belive those, but MOW is a bit more far fetched. All in all a very good Sci-fi which I enjoyed a lot.
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