This is, hands down, my favorite fiction book of all time. It's unfortunate that it is usally classified (and shelved) as science fiction, which it is not. The occasional travel from one planet to another does not science fiction make. This book alone made me an Orson Scott Card fan for life, and because of it I can forgive him the various other authorial sins which, IMHO, he has committed in his career since.
I'm pretty sure I sought this out after reading "Mikal's Songbird" in a (science fiction!) magazine. Over the years, I've pressed it on several people I thought would be well affected by it. A dear friend, years and years back, wasn't much into reading and I knew I wouldn't be able to get her to read Songmaster, so instead I read the entire novel onto ninety-minute cassette tapes and gave it to her as a present. It was slow going because reading aloud always makes me yawn a lot, but the ending started to get ridiculous -- it took me several days to get the last three or four pages down, because I kept having to pause to let the tears well up, as they always do every time I read it.
I have a much longer review (90% synopsis) on Everything2
, from which I want to draw one sentence:
You know it's not your usual story when a sentence
like this suffices to describe Ansset's life as
Emperor of the Galaxy:
So Ansset was crowned and reigned for 60 years.
Hmmm, it must be four or five years now since I read it last. Time to indulge again.