Queen City Jazz Paperback – May 30, 2003
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“Unforgettable.” ―William Gibson
“A dizzying novel that takes full advantage of the creative potential of nanotech.” ―The New York Times
“An unforgettable vision of America transfigured by a new and utterly apocalyptic technology. Greg Bear's Blood Music is perhaps the only other novel to have dealt so unflinchingly with the paradigm-shattering possibilities of a functioning nanotech. If a science fiction writer's job is to conceive the inconceivable, Goonan has arrived with an immaculate version of the traditional tool-kit--and the nerve to use it hard.” ―William Gibson
“Goonan is one of the most imaginative authors in the literature of the imagination.” ―David Brin
“Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan is a dizzying novel that takes full advantage of the creative potential of nanotech. ...For Ms. Goonan, the freedom to remake the world in one's own image poses a terrible temptation. ... a first novelist of enormous talent and energy ...In the end, what saves her novel from self-destructing through sheer exuberance is the way that she grounds her apocalyptic vision in a few short, finely detailed scenes that reveal how personal failings can become writ large in the great events of history.” ―The New York Times
“[In] this already-celebrated debut . . . Goonan has written one of the most original, thought provoking novels to emerge from American writing in some time.” ―Des Moines Register
“Richly imagined...Goonan displays a rare gift for grounding far-reaching ideas in beautifully crafted, almost magical prose.” ―Booklist.
“In the hands of Kathleen Ann Goonan, the science of science fiction becomes something lyrical and vividly human, and the intricately imagined future she presents is thus rendered completely plausible and poignant in the extreme. Queen City Jazz is hands down the best first novel I've read in the genre in the past ten years.” ―Lucius Shepard
“Kathleen Goonan is one of the very few writers of science fiction, today, willing to work with the unfettered vistas of abject weirdness presented by the apocalyptic potential of really new technologies.” ―William Gibson
From the Inside Flap
Queen City Jazz
"A dizzying novel that takes full advantage of the creative potential of nanotech."
--The New York Times
In Verity's world, nanotech plagues decimated the population after an initial renaissance of utopian nanotech cities. Growing up on an isolated farm, she finds her happy life changing course when Blaze, the only young man in the community and Verity's best friend, is shot. With Blaze's body wrapped in a nanotech cocoon, Verity sets off on a quest to the Enlivened City of Cincinnati. It is a place of legend, where huge bio-engineered bees carry information through the streets and enormous nanotech flowers burst from the tops of strange buildings. It is the place where Blaze might be brought back from the brink of death. But Cincinnati is a city of dreams turned into nightmares, endlessly reliving the fantasies of its creator, a city that Verity must rule--or die.
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765307514
- ISBN-10 : 0765307510
- Paperback : 400 pages
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.93 x 8.5 inches
- Item Weight : 13.2 ounces
- Publisher : Orb Books; 1st edition (May 30, 2003)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,701,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It is a book with its own voice. It has an ephemeral, slightly disjointed style, painting big, strange pictures in your mind. It's definately not something I would recommend reading quickly, as the book is simply strange and surreal if you don't give the images time to unfold in your mind's eye. It's a book with a very visual style.
"A juxtaposition of clashing possibilities, almost like the clash of fencing swords, surfaced briefly far back in her mind, and she felt deep despair and keen, blossoming anger at all she did not know about herself."
It took me a long time to read this book, because there was so much stuff around and part of the story. It wasn't just a pearl-handled pistol of a story. It was a story with pearl handles and gold chasing and engraved butts and maybe a hologram. I think I wanted it to be a shorter book, because the heart of it is interesting, but Verity ended up wandering like the Israelites in the desert, and the manna got old.
Read if: You like noodling on the state of consciousness, being, or individuality. You enjoyed Dhalgren (S.F. Masterworks) .
Skip if: You were looking for an adventure story. You are creeped out by nanotech. You want a clear resolution.
I wish it, and its sequels were available on audible. The right reader could make this a joy to listen to
Well, be careful what you wish for-- it does go on and on.
Shakers pulled together by plague and fear, a city full of arts run by bees and flowers, a little girl with nodes behind her ears and a strange sense of destiny, a world gone nanotechnology mad where sick people flow like lemmings down the river.
The ideas are exactly as magical and wonderful as they sound, but the plot is not able to live up to their weight. By the time Verity had been running around Cincinnati for a while, I was heartily sick of the whole thing and found there to be *way* too many pages to string out her secret. I would have far preferred that everything in the book happen (condensed) in the first half of an even longer book that took you some place beyond Cincinnati itself.
I still plan to read the sequel.
It sounds like a mess and it almost is. However, scientifically implausible ideas are kept together by a keen sense of the surreal and the absurd. While the book is too long, there are passages full of evocative beauty.
All in all, a very ambitious first novel, whose ambitions are so high that it is bound not to reach them. It isn't as good as the best bio- / nanotech sci-fi, in particular Paul J McAuley's 'Fairyland', but remarkable enough to merit 4 stars.
(On a final note, I wonder whether Jeff Noon read this before writing 'Pollen'. Although unavailable in the UK at the time, it had already been published in the USA, and there are enough similarities to make me suspicious... perhaps it is just coincidence?)
Top reviews from other countries
Sure, intelligent cities and nano-engineering will produce societies radically different from today, but the protagonist's journey through the city is lost in its own cleverness and lazily written to boot. I've tried, I've really tried to read this, but each time I get to that last section I end up flinging the book angrily at the wall (OK, so I should switch to decaf).
This could have been a wonderful book with a more aggressive editor, but it ain't. If you finish it and liked it, email to tell me how it ends - I can't afford the wall repairs.