It’s hard to describe just how beautiful and lush Light Music is. Author Kathleen Ann Goonan makes words and phrases into objects of lightness of being as she weaves a story that combines elements of fantasy, science fiction and even romance into a tapestry of sparkling images. But don’t be fooled, for Light Music is a wild ride, often dark in tone and content, with cutting-edge concepts of physics set to the tune of a futuristic vision of Earth that will both enchant and disturb.
This book is the final offering in a quartet of books the author has written, referred to as the “Nanotech Quartet.” The other books include Queen City Jazz, Mississippi Blues and Crescent City Rhapsody, which was a Nebula Award nominee. The final book in the series is Light Music, and the characters are unique and mystical in nature: the dual-persona of Radio Cowboy, a radio astronomer desperately trying to get back to the Nanotech Utopia of Crescent City; the mystical Angelina, Keeper of Stories; the hilarious and hopeful Chester, a doll that longs to understand and experience consciousness; the scientist-cum-minister Dania, who holds the key to evolution in a strange and special wine; the two former residents of a moon colony now falling to earth on a mission to make Light Music. These characters, and others equally as original and creative, all want one thing – to get to the city of light and knowledge and wonder and take part in the greatest evolution of all as the city itself prepares to leave the confines of a ravaged and dying earth.
It is always difficult to summarize plots that break off into tangents and weave fine webs in all directions. Light Music does that with such skill and beauty, that the reader is utterly drawn into this alternate world from page one, only to be set free back into reality long after the back cover has closed. The story is haunting, to say the least, as are the characters, but what haunts the mind and heart the most is the lyrical writing and the magical narrative. Light Music sings…really.
Goonan knows her stuff when it comes to quantum physics and nanotechnology, yet the story never gets bogged down in hi-tech details. Always the science serves the story, never the other way around, making this a sci-fi tale that anyone can fall in love with. I do not read a lot of this genre, but will do so more often, now that I’ve discovered Goonan, in hopes of discovering the same magic with other and other books.
Will there be a fifth book in this awe-inspiring series? I don’t know. I hope so. But rest assured, I will now go back and read Goonan’s first three novels and hope that I feel the same when I am finished – like I’ve just spent some quality time in another universe with amazing characters on a stunning adventure. That is why I love to read.