Monday, January 11, 2010

Broken Windchimes

Novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Pané are a species of aliens with extremely picky musical taste. Picky to the point I can see it being selective pressure against the continued existence of their society, but everything works so well I can get past it. One of the top musicians on the planet, a castrato male soprano, misses a single note during a performance, and his career is over. So rather than sit around being a has-been he catches the first cargo ship to the musical capital of human space. There he spends a bit too much time agonizing over the specifics of musical theory behind the blues, before getting to an extremely poignant conclusion. This one brought a tear to my eye, and proves that Ms. Rusch does actually know how to write a brilliant ending when she tries. 4.5 out of 5 orphans can sing the blues, but they don't all have perfect pitch.

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