Songmaster

( 19 )

Overview

An SF classic from the author of Ender's Game.

Kidnapped at an early age, the young singer Ansset has been raised in isolation at the mystical retreat called the Songhouse. His life has been filled with music, and having only songs for companions, he develops a voice that is unlike any heard before. Ansset's voice is both a blessing and a curse, for the young Songbird can reflect all the hopes and fears his auidence feels and, by magnifying their emotions, use his voice to ...

See more details below
Paperback (First Edition)
$14.77
BN.com price
(Save 22%)$18.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (27) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $11.49   
  • Used (21) from $1.99   
Songmaster

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

An SF classic from the author of Ender's Game.

Kidnapped at an early age, the young singer Ansset has been raised in isolation at the mystical retreat called the Songhouse. His life has been filled with music, and having only songs for companions, he develops a voice that is unlike any heard before. Ansset's voice is both a blessing and a curse, for the young Songbird can reflect all the hopes and fears his auidence feels and, by magnifying their emotions, use his voice to heal—or to destroy. When it is discovered that his is the voice that the Emperor has waited decades for, Ansset is summoned to the Imperial Palace on Old Earth. Many fates rest in Ansset's hands, and his songs will soon be put to the test: either to salve the troubled conscience of a conqueror, or drive him, and the universe, into mad chaos.

Songmaster is a haunting story of power and love—the tale of the man who would destroy everything he loves to preserve humanity's peace, and the boy who might just sing the world away.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Card understands the human condition and has things of real value to say about it. He tells the truth well—ultimately the only criterion of greatness."—Gene Wolfe

"Orson Scott Card is a fine writer, with great insight, great idealism and love."—Science Fiction Review on Songmaster

Library Journal
Card here offers the tale of Ansset, a young boy whose perfect singing voice has the power of amplifying people's emotions, making him both a potential healer and destroyer. This is the first hardcover incarnation of the 1988 award-winning novel.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312876623
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 643,070
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead. Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win these two top prizes in consecutive years. There are seven other novels to date in The Ender Universe series. Card has also written fantasy: The Tales of Alvin Maker is a series of fantasy novels set in frontier America; his most recent novel, The Lost Gate, is a contemporary magical fantasy. Card has written many other stand-alone sf and fantasy novels, as well as movie tie-ins and games, and publishes an internet-based science fiction and fantasy magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.  Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, Card directs plays and teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and youngest daughter, Zina Margaret.

Biography

Any discussion of Orson Scott Card's work must necessarily begin with religion. A devout Mormon, Card believes in imparting moral lessons through his fiction, a stance that sometimes creates controversy on both sides of the fence. Some Mormons have objected to the violence in his books as being antithetical to the Mormon message, while his conservative political activism has gotten him into hot water with liberal readers.

Whether you agree with his personal views or not, Card's fiction can be enjoyed on many different levels. And with the amount of work he's produced, there is something to fit the tastes of readers of all ages and stripes. Averaging two novels a year since 1979, Card has also managed to find the time to write hundreds of audio plays and short stories, several stage plays, a television series concept, and a screenplay of his classic novel Ender's Game. In addition to his science fiction and fantasy novels, he has also written contemporary fiction, religious, and nonfiction works.

Card's novel that has arguably had the biggest impact is 1985's Hugo and Nebula award-winner Ender's Game. Ender's Game introduced readers to Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a young genius faced with the task of saving the Earth. Ender's Game is that rare work of fiction that strikes a chord with adults and young adult readers alike. The sequel, Speaker for the Dead, also won the Hugo and Nebula awards, making Card the only author in history to win both prestigious science-fiction awards two years in a row.

In 2000, Card returned to Ender's world with a "parallel" novel called Ender's Shadow. Ender's Shadow retells the events of Ender's Game from the perspective of Julian "Bean" Delphinki, Ender's second-in-command. As Sam to Ender's Frodo, Bean is doomed to be remembered as an also-ran next to the legendary protagonist of the earlier novel. In many ways, Bean is a more complex and intriguing character than the preternaturally brilliant Ender, and his alternate take on the events of Ender's Game provide an intriguing counterpoint to fans of the original series.

In addition to moral issues, a strong sense of family pervades Card's work. Card is a devoted family man and father to five (!) children. In the age of dysfunctional family literature, Card bristles at the suggestion that a positive home life is uninteresting. "How do you keep ‘good parents' from being boring?" he once said. "Well, in truth, the real problem is, how do you keep bad parents from being boring? I've seen the same bad parents in so many books and movies that I'm tired of them."

Critical appreciation for Card's work often points to the intriguing plotlines and deft characterizations that are on display in Card's most accomplished novels. Card developed the ability to write believable characters and page-turning plots as a college theater student. To this day, when he writes, Card always thinks of the audience first. "It's the best training in the world for a writer, to have a live audience," he says. "I'm constantly shaping the story so the audience will know why they should care about what's going on."

Card brought Bean back in 2005 for the fourth and final novel in the Shadow series: Shadow of the Giant. The novel presented some difficulty for the writer. Characters who were relatively unimportant when the series began had moved to the forefront, and as a result, Card knew that the ending he had originally envisioned would not be enough to satisfy the series' fans.

Although the Ender and Shadow series deal with politics, Card likes to keep his personal political opinions out of his fiction. He tries to present the governments of futuristic Earth as realistically as possible without drawing direct analogies to our current political climate. This distance that Card maintains between the real world and his fictional worlds helps give his novels a lasting and universal appeal.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Greensboro, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 24, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Richland, Washington
    1. Education:
      B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

SONGMASTER (Chapter 1:)

There were many ways a child could turn up in the baby market of Doblay-Me. Many children, of course, were genuine orphans, though now that wars had ended with Mikal's Peace orphanhood was a social position much less often achieved. Others had been sold by desperate parents who had to have money—or who had to have a child out of their way and hadn't the heart for murder. More were bastards from worlds and nations where religion or custom forbade birth control. And others slipped in through the cracks.

Ansset was one of these when a seeker from the Songhouse found him. He had been kidnapped and the kidnappers had panicked, opting for the quick profit from the baby trade instead of the much riskier business of arranging for ransom and exchange. Who were his parents? They were probably wealthy, or their child wouldn't have been worth kidnapping. They were white, because Ansset was extremely fair-skinned and blond. But there were trillions of people answering to that description, and no government agency was quite so foolish as to assume the responsibility of returning him to his family.

So Ansset, whose age was unknowable but who couldn't be more than three years old, was one of a batch of a dozen children that the seeker brought back to Tew. All the children had responded well to few simple tests—pitch recognition, melody repetition, and emotional response. Well enough, in fact, to be considered potential musical prodigies. And the Songhouse had bought—no, no, people are not bought in the baby market—the Songhouse had adopted them all. Whether they became Songbirds or mere singers, masters or teachers, or even if they did not work out musically at all, the Songhouse raised them, provided for them, cared about them for life. In loco parentis, said the law. The Songhouse was mother, father, nurse, siblings, offspring, and, until the children reached a certain level of sophistication, God.

"New," sang a hundred young children in the Common Room, as Ansset and his fellow marketed children were ushered in. Ansset did not stand out from the others. True, he was terrified—but so were the rest. And while his nordic skin and hair put him at the extreme end of the racial spectrum, such things were studiously ignored and no one ridiculed him for it, any more than they would have ridiculed an albino.

Routinely he was introduced to the other children; routinely all forgot his name as soon as they heard it; routinely they sang a welcome whose tone and melody were so confused that it did nothing to allay Ansset's fear; routinely Ansset was assigned to Rruk, a five-year-old who knew the ropes.

"You can sleep by me tonight," Rruk said, and Ansset dumbly nodded. "I'm older," Rruk said. "In maybe a few months or sometime soon anyway I get a stall." This meant nothing to Ansset. "Anyway, don't piss in your bed because we never get the same one two nights in a row."

Ansset's three-year-old pride was enough to take umbrage at this. "Don't piss in bed." But he didn't sound angry—just afraid.

"Good. Some of 'em are so scared they do."

It was near bedtime; new children were always brought in near bedtime. Ansset asked no questions. When he saw that other children were undressing, he too undressed. When he saw that they found nightgowns under their blankets, he too found a nightgown and put it on, though he was clumsy at it. Rruk tried to help him, but Ansset shrugged off the offer. Rruk looked momentarily hurt, then sang the love song to him.

I will never hurt you.

I will always help you.

If you are hungry

I'll give you my food.

If you are frightened

I am your friend.

I love you now.

And love does not end.

The words and concepts were beyond Ansset, but the tone of voice was not. Rruk's embrace on his shoulder was even more clear, and Ansset leaned on Rruk, though he still said nothing and did not cry.

"Toilet?" Rruk asked.

Ansset nodded, and Rruk led him to a large room adjoining the Common, where water ran swiftly through trenches. It was there that he learned that Rruk was a girl. "Don't stare," she said. "Nobody stares without permission." Again, Ansset did not understand the words, but the tone of voice was clear. He understood the tone of voice instinctively, as he always had; it was his greatest gift, to know emotions even better than the person feeling them.

"How come you don't talk except when you're mad?" Rruk asked him as they lay down in adjoining beds (as a hundred other children also lay down).

It was now that Ansset's control broke. He shook his head, then turned away, buried his face under the blankets, and cried himself to sleep. He did not see the other children around him who looked at him with distaste. He did not know that Rruk was humming a tune that meant, "Let be, let alone, let live."

He did know, however, when Rruk patted his back, and he knew that the gesture was kind; and this was why he never forgot his first night in the Songhouse and why he could never feel anything but love for Rruk, though he would soon far surpass her rather limited abilities.

"Why do you let Rruk hang around you so much, when she isn't even a Breeze?" asked a fellow student once, when Ansset was six. Ansset did not answer in words. He answered with a song that made the questioner break Control, much to his humiliation, and weep openly. No one else ever challenged Rruk's claim on Ansset. He had no friends, not really, but his song for Rruk was too powerful to challenge.

SONGMASTER Copyright © 1978, 1979, 1980, 1987 by Orson Scott Card

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    One of my favorite Card novels

    I've always been a fan of Orson Scott Card (that is, until I read The Folk of the Fringe) and this was not the first book of his that I read. I read this after I read the Ender Saga, the Earth Saga, Pastwatch, and many others. And yet, this remains one of my favorite. This is perhaps his most emotionally charged of all his novels, it has elements that are absent from his more popular fiction. And I think that is a pity, because even though this book can become so caught up in morality that it can become hard to read, there are moments so full of emotion that you can't put it down and you simply can't stop thinking about it. So even while this book lacks the readability of Ender's Game and the engrossing plot of Pastwatch, this book has a creativity and a flow of raw emotion that sets this book apart from the others: here we have a book that is pure and emotional, and yet complex, which requires a certain thoughtfulness and and pondering to truly appreciate.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2000

    nirvana

    this is a peak point in the written word. if card had added anything more to this book it would have been to much. He manipulates your fear and love makes you lagh and cry in the same breath. This is quite possibly the best book i have ever read in my life. the description and raw emotion is breathtaking and the concept of the plot something to be applauded on. i have also read all of the authors books and love Ansset just as much as Ender. A read that was pure nirvana and leaves you in awe for days. congratulations mr. card!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    My fav

    I read this book as a teen- 20 years ago. It is still one of my favorite books of all time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This was one of four or five books that I started the year with,

    This was one of four or five books that I started the year with, all reading at the same time, in different spots in my home. Once I got past the first chapter or two, I felt compelled to finish this, to the exclusion of others.

    Songmaster is set in a world with Earth, but significantly different from the world we know. Earth is both the armpit of the universe and the home of the Emperor of Everything. What a dichotomy! Earth is a government of continents, not countries, and the US is divided into Western and Eastern America. Some American nameplaces are familiar, and a few references are made to other places on Earth.

    Communication at its best is done by Singers, and Singers are trained in the Songhouse on Tew, which is a planet. People still talk, but Singing communicates at a subconscious or subsonic level and affects people's feelings, attitudes, actions. Frankly, I'd hate to live in a world where I could not sing (I CAN sing, but you really don't want to have to listen to it), even to myself. In this world, only Singers can sing (unless you are very small and don't know better), and you can only become a Singer by being raised in the Songhouse.

    OK, enough about that.

    The book follows main character Ansett, a supremely gifted Singer, from his beginning as he is separated from his mother, to his death, and slightly beyond, in vignettes, some longer, some shorter. Details are never glossed over, but neither are unimportant things included. I don't need to know the minutiae of his life, endlessly recycled, to know that three years have passed. You understand?

    At times I found myself identifying with Ansett. He was by turns pampered and abused, praised and vilified. I was able to get into his skin, so to speak, and memories would scamper across my mind, much too quickly to be conscious, but passing through and leaving food for contemplation. Reading this was similar to reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein many years ago. I find myself mentally chewing on something days after reading, and learning things about myself I did not know.

    Orson Scott Card is famous for his Ender books in particular. I've read Ender's Game, which left me glad I'd read it, though I was confused throughout. I've tried reading other Orson Scott Card books and been unable to get into them. Without a doubt, he has a way with words, and sometimes, my brain is just not ready for that train yet.

    If you've liked other Orson Scott Card books, I recommend this one without reservation. If you've never tried an Orson Scott Card book, this might be a good one to start with.

    P.S. Others have tagged this gay fantasy or gay romance, and though it does exist in this book, it's mentioned in passing, in a chapter or two, definitely not part of the main plot. If you're not into that, this shouldn't discourage you from reading this book, and if you are, just remember, it's a very small part of Ansett's life. Personally, I loved that it was so casually a part of the background, and not overthought.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2006

    Great

    I thought this was one of Cards best books. and I have read alot of his work. I can tell by some of the other reviews that some people might have trouble understanding this book. this book is very powerful and full of emotion, however it may not be suitable for children.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Much more than I thought it would be!

    I read for fun, I don't analize books, look for the meaning of anything. I read for the enjoyment. This book however had me going back and re-reading passages. I was surpirsed that some parts of this book made me cry. In some areas I found myself comparing a novel with life today.

    It is a well written, wonderful, book and I hope you enjoy reading it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2005

    Who'd have thought, such trash from Card?!

    This was completely SICKENING. Just when you think my word, I never thought Card would be so twisted, he exploits another grotesque weakness of man and threads that fiber into this book. It starts out oddly enough - it took a while to get the hang of nearly everyone 'singing' all the time, and communicating extreme details without words. Okay, that's odd, but not yet twisted. Weave in bizarre sexual and physical abuse, homosexuality, and graphic violence, and I started wondering if he was an admirer of Stephen King!! At times you have to re-read passages to make sure you understood what he was saying. I had looked forward to reading this, because of the author, and the synopsis sounded interesting, and the topic - music is such an important part of life. How could he take such a potential for good, and make it completely depressing and dark. I had previously read two (more recent) books by Card, and thoroughly loved them. They were in a completely different tone and body. I didn't think he was capable of this. I am SO disappointed. My copy isn't going to charity or the local library - it's in the trash, where such smut belongs.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2001

    Not the best...

    I was sort of disappointed by this Card novel. Most of his later work has such 'rounded' plots, where everything makes sense to the motion of the final plot, but this sort of wanders.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2000

    Powerful, Complete, and Gripping!

    ...This novel is one of the best examples why some stories should never be made into a movie, none could ever do it justice. Some ideas can only be seen, and in this case, heard in your mind... and not for lack of wanting. I found myself more attached to young Ansset, then any other Card character I have yet to some across.. and after reading 'Ender's Game', that in itself is a feat. This story is an emotional roller coaster of the best kind, and will continually keep you guessing their motives and intentions. The author is truly in his element, blending science fiction with human behavior. He portrays the love and hate of boy by all those around him with no caution or consequence. This is a powerful and complete novel, and has my highest respect.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)