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Queen City Jazz (Nanotech #1)

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  578 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
In Verity's world, nanotech plagues decimated the population after an initial renaissance of utopian nanotech cities. Growing up on an isolated farm, she finds her happy life changing course when Blaze, the only young man in the community and Verity's best friend, is shot. With Blaze's body wrapped in a nanotech cocoon, Verity sets off on a quest to the Enlivened City of C
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 30th 2003 by Orb Books (first published 1994)
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Apr 14, 2011 Lorelei rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
This was highly recommended as an important SF read so I think I persevered with it where I might otherwise have put it aside. It was an interesting and engaging read that started well, though in need of some tight editing. The Alice in Wonderland/coming of age theme is very strong and has some charm but is played out for far too long.

The jazz conceit is just irritating. I really don't see the point of the slavish binding of every aspect of the story to the Jazz metaphor. But then I don't see th
Oct 12, 2007 Jerico rated it really liked it
This is one of the first good nano-novels in sf history. It was written before nanotech was even cool, back when Drexler was someone no one had heard of and Neal Stevenson was still working on Snow Crash (which is a great book, by the way). Its also strange, scary and occasionally incomprehensible- some of the stylistic choice are a little suspect (I don't share Ms. Goonan's jazz obsession) but the book is well written, compelling and fascinating.

Its a damn good first novel, too.
Victoria Gaile
Feb 24, 2015 Victoria Gaile rated it really liked it
Recommended to Victoria by: Marilyn
This is the book that redeems all the books I've slogged through just because my book group was reading them. Because I slogged through this one, too, but it was worth it.

For the most part, I did not enjoy reading it. The beginning, with the neo-Shakers, was interesting and caught my attention; but our heroine leaves home relatively early, and there's a long section in the middle there where things get weird -- like, drug-trippy weird; and even though it's not drugs and there is a science fictio
Linda Robinson
Jan 25, 2015 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing
Fascinating take on nanotechnology, what can happen with personal agendas and the development thereof, and a good character study of a woman on a Hero's Journey to find out who she is. And Cincinnati, Queen City. Winston Churchill said that Cincinnati is the most beautiful inland city in America. I think it was just America and I think it was Winston Churchill, but whose memories am I housing? The big plot chunks are excellent. Start with nan. Then nan on walkabout. Then all the people who respo ...more
May 10, 2013 Alexa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fab-13
Reading this is like assembling a rich, multi-layered jigsaw puzzle. Slowly the pieces emerge, and you think you might have a sense of the big picture, but nothing is really clear until the final piece falls into place. Delightful riffs on American literature and music along the way. She drew me in completely and kept me fascinated, although I can see how the extensive details on DNA and nanotechnology architecture might be too much for some. Hard science fiction with a true puzzle to solve whil ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
This book is simply beautiful. If you could combine The Great Gatsby with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn then turn them into a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic story, I'm pretty sure this is what you would get.
Dec 22, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Queen City Jazz was actually a re-read for me--because I recently picked up a copy of her sequel to this, Mississippi Blues, and I wanted to refresh my memory about the events in the first one before I started working my way through the rest of the series.

My original impression of this book still stands: a damn fine novel, and I am still very impressed with Ms. Goonan's way with a word. The bit of this book that always resonated as a free-floating phrase in my head, "as if the very air was imbue
Jul 07, 2014 Michèle rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A young girl set on a travel towards the Cicinnati, a nano city, in order ot save her friend. The novel is maybe a hundred pages too long, but it offers an original and poetic version of a nanotech world.


Un nan passe... et vos pensées et souvenirs changent du tout au tout!

Une jeune fille élevée dans une communauté religieuse isolée découvre qu'elle porte en elle les germes pour guérir une "ville-fleur" car le concepteur a laissé des erreurs.

Un monde sans radio des cités nano. Dominé par des
Mar 05, 2012 heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: wiscon
Every once in a while, I read artful books, because it's good for me to think about what I do and don't like in stories. This one had many things I liked, like a relatively clear plot and a relatable main character. Verity is, through all her adventures, a person I would like to know. Her life as we come to know her is quiet and peaceful and pretty. Her journey from that to a ruined beautiful city is logical but scary. Her internal journey is even scarier, as she has her mind invaded by other im ...more
Jon Swanson
Aug 17, 2011 Jon Swanson rated it liked it
Shelves: scif
I'm kind of conflicted about this book. Queen City Jazz has some incredible, beautiful ideas, and many incredibly crafted scenes. At times though the narrative is fragmented and esoteric, seeming to trickle and meander through the story and advancing only by accident.

Technology in Jazz is well handled. The world is post-apocalyptic, a quasar has shut down traditional means of communication and nano tech plagues have run amok, killing off most of the population and ending normal civilization. Enl
Dec 07, 2011 Christine rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
It took me a long time to figure out what I thought about this book. Even after finishing it, I can't be quite sure what I just read. It was all very surreal and dreamlike, and main character Verity seemed more like a reporter than an actor. In the end, I'd say this book was about a world, and that the world was the only real character in it.

If you're really into weird and creative science fiction, this might be for you. I cannot fault the author's imagination, nor her descriptive ability. She
Apr 10, 2013 Josh rated it it was ok
Ambitious is concept, Queen City Jazz falls remarkably short in execution. Goonan has a great idea: a world where nanotech dominates everything and where people can be anyone they choose. It goes wrong, a savior enters the picture, and things are resolved without any real conflict. The conflict appears to be there, but we know Verity is different from the beginning and everything about her actions seem pre-ordained. She finds everything without trying, the solutions just pop into her head, and n ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Senzanom rated it it was ok
The setting was interesting but the plotting slow. The characterization was excellent, and the overall progress of the story flowed well, but seemed hindered by wanting to continue in future books. At points it was difficult to tell what was happening, partly because this was the point of view the author wanted you to have, but also because the overarching setting was complex and not always explained well. Sometimes this feels like a failure of using nanotech in stories, as it's effectively a ma ...more
Jan 15, 2015 Lewis rated it liked it
The vision is amazing and interesting. I kept reading, because I wanted to know as much as possible about the world in this book. Unfortunately, it often felt like more work than pleasure. There were times where I frankly had no idea what she was talking about. Sentences appeared that seemed completely without context. Explanations that didn't explain a damned thing! As I thought about it, perhaps the author was trying to get the reader to feel as confused and off-balance as the main character. ...more
Sep 01, 2011 dani rated it liked it
It's not that I didn't like this book, but there was just too much "off topic". The thing I love about reading is the world building and this book just didn't have enough of the how of the world and way too much of odd character vignettes that really could have been left out of the book. The characters' motivations never made much sense just to the lack of information and backstory that should have been there to fill in the gaps. I do plan on continuing the series to see if there is an improveme ...more
Jul 30, 2008 Nicky rated it really liked it
Verity is safe from the nanotech plagues that has swept North America. She's a little bit different but she and her friend Blaze live with the Shakers, an unenlivened life, and don't change. Until that is plaguers come too close and Blaze gets shot. Then Verity knows that she has to go to the Flower City, Cinncinnati, to save him. She doesn't know that she was destined to go there all along, and must dance her way to change, to owning the city, to making a new future for all the people there. Ca ...more
Aug 01, 2015 Ari rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
I just re-reread Goonan's first novel (and first of her nanotech series) and still find it brilliant and engaging. She covers so much ground: exploring how technology, personality, religion, and circumstance may transform individuals and societies -- and one's own sense of self, all wrapped in a very creative plot. Despite being a post-apocalyptic novel, this story focuses more on adaptation and hope than on decay and despair (something we're finally starting to see now in the political arena, t ...more
May 02, 2012 J. rated it liked it
Amazing concepts, but somewhat poorly executed. And I know how odd that sounds, considering the awards and praise from big names this novel has gotten, but I didn't find the prose layered and complex. I found it unclear. I found Verity to be inconsistent in her reactions, and I also felt that Sphere was two-dimensional. I liked the hive concept, and the deep thinking about information, and the ways information is metaphorized. I just think it could have come in a cleaner package.
May 21, 2014 Tad604 rated it really liked it
Having lived in Cincinnati and been a fan of any cyberpunk nanotech and post apocalyptic stories for more than 20 years I'm not sure how I missed this book for the last 20 years. The fact it has young female as the hero and the story is forward thinking enough, it feels like it could have been written in the last few years and fits in with the current crop of YA books being made into movies. Would definitely be more of an original story than most the stuff coming out today.
Dianne O'Connell
Jun 06, 2009 Dianne O'Connell rated it really liked it
I am new to the science fiction genre and chose this book because I met and liked the author at a recent literary seminar. Published in 1994, I believe the book launched her writing career.

Regardless of whether or not I was always able to follow the plot line, I thoroughly enjoyed her descriptive powers, her literary and musical allusions, and her forays into theology. Great fun. And I eventually caught up with the plot, as well.
Jason Poggioli
Apr 26, 2015 Jason Poggioli rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook
In my humble opinion I felt the story took too long to unfold. I understood the whole point of the "mysterious past", but almost the entire book was about solving the mystery and I just kept feeling like I wanted to get on with the story.

I think there are others who might like it more than I did, though. The story just didn't resonate with me.
Katie M.
Jul 24, 2008 Katie M. rated it it was ok
Despite the plethora of good reviews on the cover, I didn't like this book very much. The author builds a rich, highly original vision of the future. However, I found the main character annoying and the plot too often either dull or hard to follow. It has moments of brilliance, but overall I just kept wishing I could be done and moving on to a better book.
John Nicholas
Jan 22, 2014 John Nicholas rated it really liked it
One of my favorite post-cyberpunk near future sci fi books. Set in a future where civilization has collapsed after nano and bio technology gets out of control and is filled with original and amazing ideas. The story does kind of get out of control in some places but finds its way back and the overall is experience is worth it.
Aug 25, 2007 Ruby rated it liked it
Our society has been destroyed by a nanotech plague and a young girl being raised by a Shaker settlement that rejects technology has powers that might be able to save civilization. She doesn't know what's happened to the outside world, but she is eventually forced to leave the settlement. Her journey is strange and fascinating.
Jan 02, 2011 Drianne rated it liked it
Shelves: library, fiction, sf
Not bad, although the exposition took until the end of the book and was painfully slow. I read it because: 1) I like the Shakers, 2) I lived in Cincinnati for a couple of years, and 3) the heroine's name is Verity (which name I adore). I didn't like it enough to want to read the sequel.
Dec 01, 2012 Peggy rated it it was ok
couldn't quite follow the timeline. it was a travel trade with a gruff old guy with a bushy grey mustache. he got "eat pray love". as i only liked 1/3rd of *that* book - i'd say it was about an even trade.
Dec 23, 2008 Cindywho rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sf
This one got off to a good start - I was ready to learn about this new world transformed and decimated by nanotech, but once Verity made it to the city, she just kept meandering around and it never got as interesting again.
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]some nice descriptive passages, but I never quite grasped what was going on - setting too peculiar and characters not interesting enough to be worth following.
Mar 30, 2014 CJ rated it liked it
Well written story, decent science fiction, but the end left me a little disappointed. Not a bad read, though.
Lisa Murray
Dec 06, 2011 Lisa Murray rated it it was ok
don't bother...
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