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Song of Time

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award: A future world of unrelenting change, strangeness, and uncertainty, experienced through the passions and memories of one remarkable old woman

Roushana Maitland has known great fame and great sorrow throughout her long life. As a world-renowned musician, she was the queen of the Paris bohemians eve
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published September 2008 by PS Publishing (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 561)
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Stephen Theaker
Don't read this book if you're not in the mood for re-evaluating your life. As Roushana Maitland looks back upon her hundred years on planet Earth, the reader can't help but do something very similar. It's a reflective, thoughtful and poetic book, but that doesn't stop it being upsetting and rather depressing!

This didn't really need to be a science fiction novel, though the same could of course said for many works in the genre. The core of it - the very literary biography of a violinist - could
A near future science fiction novel and a mainstream character piece that isn’t a Frankenstein creation of thrown together parts(like one of the creepier characters) but an organic combining of the two styles where they work in complete compatibility. Fun thing with near future is we get to see what Macleod will get right (he already got one wrong, an aside about the U.S never having a Black president, oops), will classical music have a resurgence or do we face food born plagues(what a stretch), ...more
I haven't been posting much lately about books I've been reading, maybe because I haven't been all that impressed with them, which may say more about me and my choices (or my current glum mood) than it does about the books. But this novel is a gem, the life of a gifted woman written as if being narrated by an eloquent novelist or memoirist of the next century. Highly recommended.
Song of Time tells the life story of an elderly violinist who has lived through a turbulent century, through the memories she recounts to an amnesiac man she has rescued. The story worked extremely well on the large-scale level of the world’s slow collapse as well as on the small-scale, personal, emotional level of Roushana’s life. The mystery of the rescued man, Adam, ties into the ideas about identity and mortality that Roushana is exploring as she considers the end of her life, and whether sh ...more
Song of Time caught me off guard. When I first started reading it I wasn't sure what to expect but I've enjoyed everything I've read by Ian R. MacLeod so I knew I'd likely enjoy this one as well.

Overall it's the story of a woman named Roushanna Maitland who lives a long and interesting life that intersects with a variety of people who deeply mark who she is and who she becomes. It's about family, friends, lovers, spouses, and children. As well, it's about the change we all see as we travel throu
David Hebblethwaite

Ian MacLeod’s Song of Time begins as Roushana Maitland, an aged concert violinist, finds an angelically beautiful young man washed up on the shore near her Cornish home. He has no memory of himself or his past, so Roushana calls him Adam, which becomes, in effect, his real name. She tells the young man stories from her life — memories of her childhood in Birmingham, of travelling to India with her mother to aid the victims of nuclear fallout, of her musical career in Paris. But there’s anoth
Christopher McKitterick
This is a wrenching and beautiful work about a woman reaching the end of her life in near-future Scotland. We learn of the adventures and loves and losses that constitute who she is as she shares her life’s story. Her audience is a seeming shipwreck-victim whom she discovers on the rocky shore near her home. She is recording her memories for the "crystal" in her brain, creating a digital copy of herself that will carry on past her impending death. Her life, like many, is a series of tragedies an ...more
Indie publishing hasn't done any favors for this aching tale of an elderly violinist looking back on her life. It was poorly copyedited, wrapped in a startlingly ugly cover, and released into the world in an edition of only 500 copies. But it's nonetheless a nice example of what seems to be a MacLeod specialty: a portrait of someone who, nearly alone among those of her vanished generation, has lived long enough to see technology triumph over death. It could be read as a sort of inversion of Neve ...more
Nick Sorvillo
This was a very emotional book. It takes place in the near future, which I guess is what makes it SciFi, but to me it's more of a piece of literature. The main character is forced to reevaluate her life because she needs to recall memories as she nears death. Read the book and that will make more sense. She helped by a stranger that washes up on the shore near her house. Classical music plays a major roll in the story, although you don't need to know anything about it. That aspect of the story i ...more
Mar 26, 2009 Doug rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
A very well executed piece set in the near future. At the end of her life a woman looks back on her life as a musician, having lived through many of the defining moments of the 21st century. Although this is SF it has strong literary leanings and the characterisation is excellent, rich, sympathetic and three-dimensional.

In many ways this needn't be set in the future, and as such is not really science fiction, except for the one issue it deals with sparingly but clearly throughout the book, that
I loved this book. Like 1984 it succeeds because first and foremost it's a well written novel with good story, believable characters and well described location. It just happens to be set around 100 years in the future. Recommended.
Alex Rogers
Wow - why haven't I heard of MacLeod before? I had the joy of discovering a "new" master of the art - what a great read. I'm off to find more of his work.
Story about life. Covers many aspects of it: births, deaths, love, etc. All within near future prospect. I found the twist at the end unnecessary, didn't add much to this beautifully crafted story. Also part about war was a bit slow. But the rest is pure, poetic MacLeod.
Interesting if slow moving sci fi with a literary feel. The Song of Time depicts a woman's life over time as she is dying.
Nov 10, 2012 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012

Why does the ebook version have such a slapdash cover? Why is it riddled with typos and why, why is this man's work not more widely available? Typos aside, it's an incredibly moving book about memory and loss and the general sense of intangibility that hangs over everything these days. Such a work deserves at least the solidity of a paperback edition.
3.5 stars. I listened to this novel and loved the narrator and much of the novel but he goes to big (environmental destruction, disaster, politics, culture, body farms) and then can't quite pull it together in the end. His narrative frame didn't work. Although the tone was really consistent and it was a great listen. I'd happily recommend it to others.
David Watkins

Beautifully written, beautifully read memoir of the 21st century. Insightful meditation on art and music, marriage, family and cultural mythology, and the end of life but more fun than this sounds. Not escapist fiction, however.

I listened to the Audible version read by Rachel Atkins and strongly recommend this format.

David - Dallas
Poetic and sad, with probably the most real and frightening vision of future I've ever seen. I wasn't expecting that and this book took me totally by surprise. Wonderful, beautifully written (even if Polish translation is... weird), sigh.
Ann Coughlan
This was much, much too long; the beginning was ok, and the end was actually a compelling read, but most of the middle was unnecessary. I feel a little conflicted; was annoyed until the end, where it improved.
Dec 05, 2009 Lane marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-buy
Not normally the sort of thing I'd be drawn to, but given how much I've liked MacLeod's more Dickensian New-Weird stuff, I figure I owe it a look (not to mention all the great reviews and awards it has recieved).
Devin Partlow
Impeccable story-telling!!
Had to ILL this, could not be found locally.. wow. Could NOT get into it.
Lala Hulse
Not an unqualified success, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Riccardo Camuzzi
Riccardo Camuzzi marked it as to-read
May 04, 2015
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Mike Donnelly marked it as to-read
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Ian R. MacLeod is the acclaimed writer of challenging and innovative speculative and fantastic fiction. His most recent novel, Wake Up and Dream, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, while his previous works have won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and the World Fantasy Award, and have been translated into many languages. His short story, “Snodgrass,” was ...more
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“isn’t the years that matter, Adam. Time doesn’t run that way. Life’s quick and then it’s slow and then there are grey spaces where it really doesn’t seem to run at all.” 0 likes
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