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The Infinity Concerto by Greg Bear
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The Infinity Concerto (original 1984; edition 1988)

by Greg Bear

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409426,011 (3.82)16
Member:redwinepie
Title:The Infinity Concerto
Authors:Greg Bear
Info:Legend (1988), Edition: 1st Paperback Edition, Paperback, 342 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Infinity Concerto by Greg Bear (1984)

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
It's hard to scare me. It's really, REALLY, hard. This book did it. It may be that there's just enough real science in it to make me believe, and it's been a lot of years since I read it. Still, I keep very few books, and I've kept both of these.

The hotel in the book (I'm pretty sure it was this one, and not the sequel/continuation) existed, and I often had to drive by it. It was towards the end of Sunset Boulevard, near the top of the hill, and just disreputable enough that it fit the description.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunset_Tower

The hotel was rescued just as the second book had been completed, and published.

These two books are an amazing work. I don't think they're for everyone (witness the reviews, and the ratings), but I found them (and find them) spell binding. ( )
  Lyndatrue | Nov 30, 2013 |
A version of the standard fantasy theme of what happens to a 'normal' Earth human when he discovers the ability to slip into a world where magic works, and where he is a wizard of sorts. Fairly interesting, with some unique ideas. ( )
  Karlstar | Oct 14, 2009 |
A slow but compelling start to a very complex fantasy series: This is the 1st book of a 2 book series. The last is The Serpent Mage. Both books have also been combined as another title, "Songs of Earth & Power." My detailed rating would be 4.1 for this book. The essential story of this book is very simple. The main character (Michael) is forcibly drafted by the Elves (Sidhe) to learn magic. It's a traumatic experience. But that's not the strength of the book. Bear generally writes fairly hard SF. The magic here has some interesting physics to it! But the best thing is the history. Bear provides a detailed history starting at the beginning of time. Not exactly with quarks either. This extremely complex history of the 5 sentient races on Earth drives the whole story, and you learn that history a piece at a time through the two books. Why is Michael drafted by the elves? You find out by the middle of the second book. This first book would not be satisfying all by itself. You need the second also. If you like friendly elves, this is not the series for you. Most of the elves here are cold, cruel, and callous. Why? That's part of the history!
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
A young boy with a love of music gets drawn into the world of faerie, losers of the ancient battle between the races. Humans don't have an easy time, but the arts are still revered and help may be at hand.

After re-read:
One of Bear's earliest works, maybe even his first, and an odd tour into an unusual fantasy from someone much better known for his SF writings - although the line between the genres is blurry at best.

Michael at 16 wants to be a poet, as many of those who grew up in the 70s and 80s did - I guess it's not such a common career desire these days. At his parent’s dinner party he meets and old couple Arno and Golda Waltiti, and learns about the mysterious David Clarkham, whose house is just down the road. A key and some complicated instructions suddenly finds Michael in the Realm of the Sidhe - the fae, the or faeries, who are not the sweetest of beings you've ever met, Nor do they have wings, and in fact they rather dislike humanity. The reasons are complex and Michale slowly learns about the old war ancient humanity had with the 33 different tribes of Sidhe (and lost) and how the Isomage fought back, and also lost - but lost sufficiently well to enforce a Pact. Humans have earth and the Sidhe have the Realm, and any humans in the Realm have to stay in an enclave surrounded by the Blasted lands. Various people train Michael in the skills he'll need to survive.

So far this is all fairly average, but the second half of the book is much better. The Pact collapses and Michael must travel across the lands - experiencing a few adventures along the way as you might expect. As he does so, he comes to realise that is just a pawn, in a much much larger game than he first thought.

What started out as a fairly average boy lost in the world of the fae becomes - as many of bear's works do - quite special in the later stages. Poetry has a strong influence and a familiarity with Keats and of course Coleridge would help. The writing is quite clear and readable focusing exclusively on Michael - bar two brief but sudden and disconcerting jumps in voice - and the pacing works quite well. Bear does commit one of the most heinous crimes in fantasy, inserting poetry presumably of his own devising, into the story line. Very few novelists are also skilled poets. I skipped them, even though some of the background of the world was supposedly explained in it. The rest of characters aren't exactly clunky, but they don't get a lot of page count either. Even the two women Michael becomes involved with, are pretty sparse. But then Bear's skill has always been in the vividly inventive worlds he can build.

Although the story features many of the more traditional features of faerie lore - 3 old women etc - Bear plays fast and loose with many others, such as being trapped by eating and drinking there, and invents some wondrously special themes of his own. I was very taken by the ages of the Sidhe human war - and the diverse manifestations of the various types of Sidhe. Which combine to make it a very alternative adventure through an unusual SIdhe Realm, worthy of reading. I hope the sequel is as good. ( )
  reading_fox | Apr 17, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Bearprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kraft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awoke — Ay! — and what then?

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge
What song did the sirens sing?

—Ancient Riddle
Dedication
To Betty Chater: dear friend, teacher, colleague
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Are you ready?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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