Cover image for Crescent city rhapsody
Crescent city rhapsody
Goonan, Kathleen Ann.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Avon Eos, 2000.
Physical Description:
viii, 430 pages ; 25 cm
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Kathleen Ann Goonan's first novel, " Queen City Jazz, propelled her into the front ranks of speculative fiction. Her lyrical and imaginative renderings of a near future transfigured by the wonders and dangers of nanotechnology provide readers tantalizing glimpses of scientific advances just beyond the cutting edge...and the unpredictable human consequences following in their wake. Now comes Goonan's most ambitious, penetrating look yet into the exotic future already flowering around us--and perhaps within us. "It begins with silence. A powerful electromagnetic pulse high in the atmosphere triggers a communications blackout, causing electronics and computers to fail the world over. In that moment of anachronistic quiet, a brilliant astronomer named Zeb Aberly, scouring the heavens with equipment of his own design, makes the discovery of a lifetime: the pulse originated in space--and it carried a message from an intelligent source. But Zeb is not alone. Shadowy forces within the government seek to decipher the message and to keep its existence secret at all costs. Fleeing for his life into the back streets and alleys of Washington, D.C., Zeb embarks on an odyssey that could cost him his family, his sanity, and everything he loves."And it begins with murder. In New Orleans, mob boss Marie Laveau--a descendant of the famous voodoo priestess--is brutally gunned down by nameless, faceless enemies. But Marie's vast wealth has purchased the best li

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Goonan's Nanotech Cycle, begun by Queen City Jazz (1994), depicts a future that, full of musical allusions and vibrant characters, is considerably more optimistic and beautiful than those envisioned by other sf writers. The cycle's last book returns to the years before the transformation of Earth's great cities into biocities supported and "enlivened" by nanotechnology. In 2012, an electromagnetic pulse of unknown origin blankets the earth, silencing radio, TV, and many devices relying on delicate computer chips. Cities and governments regroup and rebuild, but the pulse, dubbed the Silence, revisits periodically, so a fierce push for resistant technology develops. Zeb, a taciturn astronomer being medicated for bipolar disorder, discovers what he thinks is evidence of an alien origin of the Silence. After reporting his ideas to an Internet colleague and returning to a ransacked home, he flees in panic, abandoning career--and medicine. His subsequent wildly alternating bouts of manic insight, paranoia, and dark confusion set the novel's pace as it shifts from the French Quarter to a Prague art gallery to a Kyoto gene lab and a dozen other settings. Throughout the world, people struggle to discover the knowledge that could enslave millions or create great beauty, and each event is a musical phrase in Goonan's grand jazz analogy. Chapter titles like "Major Tonal Change" and "Left-Hand Voicings" may be meaningless to nonmusical readers, but the rhythm of the story and the interaction of the characters brilliantly capture a time when everyone sees the future happening, each in a different way. --Roberta Johnson

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 2012, a mysterious alien signal from space strikes Earth, sending the Information Age into a horrifying tailspin. An intermittent Silence descends on the planet, disrupting all electronic devices and sparking a virus that nine months later produces mutated children with a heightened receptivity to electromagnetic forces. In New Orleans--home of the improvisatory jazz that has clearly inspired Goonan's extrapolation of current scientific trends--Marie Laveau, a mob chieftain and mulatto descendant of voudoun priestesses, is murdered by hit men, but then resurrected through the new science of nanotechnology. She launches a complex 20-year plan to save her city--and her world. Seceding from the Union, Marie's New Orleans becomes the jumping-off place for a new nation, Crescent City, a Caribbean island she creates. Marie eventually brings together Kita, a brilliant Japanese research scientist; Kita's lover, Hugo, who's Marie's faithful assistant; Zeb, the psychologically disturbed astrophysicist who first realized that an alien intelligence lay behind the Silence; Tamchu, a Tibetan refugee and terrorist; and Jason, one of the gifted mutant children. Like Marie, all have to risk extinction while they brave the apocalyptic storm unleashed by ecoterrorists and governments gone xenophobically mad. Their separate stories eventually intersect with Marie's attempt to birth a brave new world that someday will send humanity to the stars. Highly imaginative, peopled with intriguing characters and as intellectually demanding yet emotionally satisfying as Duke Ellington's best, Goonan's literary rhapsody continues her highly praised Nanotech Quartet (Queen City Jazz; Mississippi Blues; to be concluded with Light Music), which imaginatively explores the scientific perils and promises lying at our very doorstep. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When astronomer Zeb Aberly discovers the source of a powerful electromagnetic pulse that disrupts worldwide communications, he finds himself on the run from those who would exploit his knowledge or else silence it forever. Aberly's flight leads him on a roundabout course to others who, like him, possess information that could transform the world. The third installment of the author's "Nanotech Cycle" (Queen City Jazz, Mississippi Blues) resonates with the linked tales of men and women drawn together by their shared ability to hear and interpret the music of the spheres. Goonan's rhythmic prose and startling visual imagery captures her vision of a future shaped by the imaginations of scientists and artists. Highly recommended for all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.