The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance

The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance

by Kim Stanley Robinson

In 3229 A.D., human civilization is scattered among the planets, moons, and asteroids of the solar system.

Billions of lives depend on the technology derived from the breakthroughs of the greatest physicist of the age, Arthur Holywelkin.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science Fiction
  • Rating: 3.56
  • Pages: 352
  • Publish Date: January 15th 1996 by Orb Books
  • Isbn10: 0312861435
  • Isbn13: 9780312861438

What People Think about "The Memory of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance"

The grand theme of this book is music. Robinson, on typically ambitious form, takes us on a tour of the solar system alongside the protagonist, a composer who develops a grand vision of how music and physics relate to each other at a fundamental level and creates music that gives people transcendant visions in response to hearing it. I think that's all Robinson really wants to say; music is powerful and that power is mysterious in that, fundamentally, it's just a superposition of waves.

The Memory of Whiteness remains one of my all-time favorite books.

The Memory Of Whiteness: A Scientific Romance, is Kim Stanley Robinsons third book, and from what I can gather his most philosophical. The Memory Of Whiteness is philosophical musings first, and story second. It went so far that people thinking philosophically about truth and representation and that means nearly everybody writing theory about the arts, as most (if of not all) art is grounded in representation, as also non-representative art stems from representative predecessors needed to become familiar with the Quantum. But quantum mechanics fits into the larger framework of Holywelkin physics; and Holywelkin physics is again deterministic.

Based on that I thought this would wind up having a bit more of a hard sci-fi bent where Robinson would try to incorporate reality more into his novel. I think he did a splendid job incorporating the musical aspects, but the actual physics was a bit more lacking. The main story brings us on a tour of the solar system and this was probably way too ambitious for a book like this. As we take the music on a tour of the solar system the book gets into a bit of a routine, which isn't bad, but the mystery aspect felt like it stalled out too.

Donc, ce roman nous raconte la grande tournée que fait, après le XXIème siècle, le Maître de lOrchestre à travers tout le système solaire, partant de Pluton pour aller jusquà Prométhée (une station solaire orbitant à ras du Soleil). En effet, lors de cette discussion, mon esprit critique a été flatté au-dela des mots par la distinction établie par les deux interlocuteurs entre la connaissance expérimentale (celle quà le lecteur dun roman, lexpérimentateur) et la connaissance discursive, obtenue par le compte-rendu, critique ou non, dune expérience. Cette quête quon retrouve également dans le choix des noms de lieux, au premier lieu desquels il faut placer cette station Prométhée, qui apporte la lumière et lénergie à toute lhumanité, et dans laquelle le Maître comprendra finallement la vérité sur son destin. En fait, ces deux aspects ne sont peut-être même que des conséquences dautres clés de ce récit, que sont le déterminisme de lexistence, mis en valeur par le Maître, qui se sait complètement déterminé, et auquel soppose le libre-arbitre quincarnent les différentes personnes lentourant. Menfin, ça nest peut-être que mon imaginaire qui se projette dans cette oeuvre.

In this novel science plays a large role in this novel as well but this time it is not so much the process and the ways it can change the world but rather the world view that is influence by a scientific theory.

And last month, I found a copy of this book on Ebay, and now I will have to re-read it to see if it is still as surreal and odd and mystical and vast and cosmic and musical and not-quite-tangible as I remember it being...

In terms of personal impact, then, this is a 5 star book.

So, the book is an excellent piece for provoking thought, but unfortunately the story suffered by comparison. Here is one of the thoughts that the book provoked, in me: Does it matter if the universe is deterministic?

Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer, probably best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy.