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Songs of Earth And Power by Greg Bear

Songs of Earth And Power (1992)

by Greg Bear

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Greg Bear is better known as a science fiction writer. This is an omnibus edition of Greg Bear’s 1980’s fantasy duology - his first published book The Infinity Concerto and its sequel The Serpent Mage. In the afterword he admits that he knew on publication of The Infinity Concerto that it was really half of one long novel. But, as this is published as an omnibus, I will review this as though it is two separate books - the expectation raised by the format.

Book 1: The Infinity Concerto
If I had read this as a standalone novel I would have been disappointed. My first impressions are that this is about a sulky, spoilt ego-centric American teenager, Michael who is magically transported to another world. A common theme in fantasy fiction which when done well connects us to the author's world. Unfortunately in this case a large part of my energy at the start of the book was spent trying to sort out two alien worlds - the world of the Sidhedark (the fantasy world) and 1980's Hollywood.

So why did I keep reading! The further I read the easier it was to read, as Michael's attitude and way of life changes. I do like the world created even though I did not, initially, find Michael a sympathetic character. I liked how the story develops and hoped that the second book would be better from the start as the world building had been done and the spoilt kid had grown up (a little bit!).

Book 2: The Serpent Mage
I am glad that I read this as part of an omnibus. As I have said the story developed well in The Infinity Concerto but if I had not been able to read this straight away I am not sure if I would have bothered to seek it out. I am not sure whether it was because the foundation had been laid but I found this a much better book.

This book follows Michael’s attempts to fit back into life on Earth after his experiences in Sidhedark, but the two worlds are getting closer together. As the Sidhe move to Earth Michael needs to use his experiences to reconcile the two worlds.

I really enjoyed this!


Taken as a whole this is a worthwhile addition to the genre. My main question is why the author or publisher issued this an omnibus. This is really one novel. Even though The Infinity Concerto does have a semi-satisfactory end The Serpent Mage would probably not work as a standalone novel. It is hard to say for sure as I read straight through but I do believe that you need to know all that Michael has been through in order to make sense of the story. ( )
  calm | Sep 21, 2009 |
After finding Greg Bear during the 80's I was led to some of his earlier works - the Infinity Concerto and the Serpent Mage. This volume is a compilation of both books into a coherent story line (I believe the original volumes suffered from some editing, adjusted within this newer volume). The story details a young man's encounter with the Sidhe, wrapping a very likeable character in a music and poetry imbued environment of fairy other-worldliness. I enjoyed this story once again when found in it's current combined form. I've since read it several times and recommend it highly. For anyone who likes cross-over novels, where the character comes into an alternate reality and grows the wiser as the story progresses, this novel is for you. If you also are into fantasy storytelling, folklore and Olde English mythology, you'll really enjoy this book. It gets better each time I read it. ( )
  johnnyapollo | Apr 15, 2008 |
An amazing story...a real page turner. ( )
  Irisheyz77 | Mar 17, 2007 |
Greg Bear is best known for hard science fiction, but this is a marvelous fantasy novel (actually two fantasy novels in one volume). ( )
  Crowyhead | Oct 26, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812536037, Mass Market Paperback)

The Song of Power opened the gateway to the Realm of the Sidhe, allowing young Michael Perrin to slip through. Now Michael faces years of captivity and deadly struggles for the future of the Realm and of Earth--leading finally to a terrible confrontation on the streets of Los Angeles, with the soul of humanity at stake.

Weaving the power of music, poetry, and myth into a headlong narrative of nearly overwhelming intensity, Song of Earth and Power is one of the most original fantasy epics of our time, a vast tapestry of relentless suspense, terrible beauty, and brilliant imagination. Originally published years ago in two parts, it now returns in a new edition rewritten by the author and published in a single volume as he originally intended. Wrote Analog on its original appearance: "A delight....A vision of Faery that may owe a bit to a wish to do it right. Read it."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A new edition of two old works, The Infinity Concerto and The Serpent Mage, first published in the 1980s. One is on a boy's journey in a fantasy world whose inhabitants had their souls stolen by the Serpent. The other is set in Los Angeles and concerns efforts to have a concerto performed. The works are vehicles for ideas on the origins of mankind, religion and music.… (more)

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