A Song for a New Day

Berkley. Sept. 2019. 384p. ISBN 9781984802583. pap. $16ebk. ISBN 9781984802590. SF
All Luce Cannon wanted to do was perform for a live audience. With a song hitting the top charts and a tour in place, Luce was nearly world famous. Then the bomb threats began, became realities, and deadly viruses were unleashed, causing the government to shut down public gatherings. Now human connection comes through virtual means, and concerts are performed secretly and illegally. Activities are divided into the Before and the After. Rosemary Laws spends her time as a virtual customer service specialist for a business conglomerate, from her bedroom. When she’s offered the chance to discover musicians for a virtual concert firm, she’s ready to enact change, even if that means going out in public. Queer women Luce and Rosemary are realistic characters, and as their worlds collide, they learn to adapt to the society as it is now.
VERDICT Pinsker’s first novel (after Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea: Stories) depicts a moving alternate future in which technology provides everything a person could want, except human contact. Themes of virtual reality, humanity, and music are threaded throughout this melodic story. [See Editors’ Picks, “Fall Fireworks,” p. 25.]

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