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A man lies half-drowned on a Cornish beach at dawn in the furthest days of this century. The old woman who discovers him, once a famous concert violinist, is close to death herself…or a new kind of life she can barely contemplate. Does death still exist at all, or has it finally been obliterated? And who is this strange man she’s found? Is he a figure returned from her past, a new messiah, or an empty vessel? Is he God, or the Devil?
Filled with love and music, death and life, mind-stretching ideas and sheer, simple humanity, spanning the world from the suburbs of Birmingham to the streets of a new-Renaissance Paris via the ruins of post-apocalyptic India, is Song of Time.
Multi-award winning author Ian R MacLeod here creates some of his most powerful scenes, and his most extraordinary, and yet most believable, characters. If you care about the future, if you care about good story-telling, Song of Time is a must-read.
In this fine work of fiction by award-winning author Ian R. MacLeod, a chilling alternate history unfolds…An elderly English historian sways between memories of his life’s true love and his efforts to change his nation’s course. Britain has lost the first world war and turned to fascism, and as a homosexual the narrator suffers both fear and the loss of his lover to the government, while the ordinary populace enjoys shiny modernity and with it the envy of other nations. MacLeod’s tale shows convincingly that no individual or nation is immune from totalitarianism, and the identity of his British dictator forms a twist that, both beguilingly and deceptively, never stops turning.
This is theoriginal novel version of the novella also entitled The Summer Isles. The novella went on to be nominated for the 1999 Hugo Award and won both the 1999 World Fantasy Award and 1999 Sidewise Award for Alternate History, but until now the novel has not been published in its original form. In the introduction, the author writes, “It is, I still think, my most rounded and complete work, and deals with an important, if not vital, subject.”
This collection of literary short fiction combines fantasy, science fiction, and horror in vivid settings, peopled with ordinary humans with normal relationships, and the interaction of the mundane with the fantastic. In “Breathmoss,” a young girl must cope with the relationship with her family, love, and a community set in rigid custom, where males are a rarity. In “Verglas,” a man must decide to leave his humanity by going native on an ice world or abandon his family. The events leading to the formation of the current government, the repression of Jews and homosexuals, and the horrors of being a closet homosexual in such a regime are examined in “The Summer Isles.” Other stories encompass a scientist who searches for extraterrestrial intelligence; a rigid, aged man finding magic by a pool; and an 18-year-old girl who gains the reputation of being a death flower during WWII.
The northern town of Bracebridge is dominated by the never-ending sound of it’s aether mines. Toiling men work the earth, extracting the magical and dangerous substance—the source of all power—from the ground. Even at eight, Robert Borrows knows that this is what his future holds.
Meanwhile, in an isolated and dilapidated manor known as Redhouse, the precocious Annalise grows up under the care of her guardian. Brought to Redhouse on a mysterious trip by his distraught mother, Robert becomes fascinated with Annalise, for unlike him, she is rich in magic that she keeps carefully hidden, and not quite of this world.
But after that same magic claims his mother, Robert flees to London. It is here that he feels most keenly the difference between those hired by the guilds to extract the aether and those who profit from their labors. It is also in London that he runs…[more]