The Memory of Whiteness Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Memory of Whiteness

THE MEMORY OF WHITENESS is a book written by Kim Stanley Robinson in 1985. It's a story about the relation between
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mathematical and physical laws and the music.

Johannes Wright is the Ninth Master of the Orchestra. He became blind after having taken a powerful drug when still young but, thanks to his electronic eyes, has managed to master his instrument. The Orchestra has been built 200 years ago by Arthur Holywelkin, a physicist who devoted the 10 last years of his life to create this monumental instrument that can play symphonies under the direction of one single man : the Master. Wright and his crew have just begun touring throughout the solar system when strange incidents happen as if someone would like to endanger Johannes Wright's life. In fact, Ekern, the administrative head of the Orchestra and member of a secret society, tries to create a metadrama around Wright in order to replace him at the head of the Orchestra. He is manipulating Wright and his friends so that they are unconsciously part of a gigantic theatrical play written by Ekern. In the meantime, Johannes, persuaded that Holywelkin had discovered that the secret of the Universe can be revealed by playing music, does have a mystical illumination in the company of one of the Superiors of the Greys, a religious order adoring the Sun. Wright's bodyguards, his manager Margaret and his friend Dent Athos decide to protect Johannes and begin to investigate while crowds attend with anxiety the next concerts of the Orchestra.

A superb book.
The review of this Book prepared by Daniel Staebler

Chapter Analysis of The Memory of Whiteness

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 40% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   exploring a wondrous planet or phenomena Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   musician Age:    -   20's-30's If magical mental powers:    -   can see into the future    -   can read emotions


Terrain    -   Desert    -   Planet surface, need spacesuit    -   Domed/Underground City    -   Asteroid Which planet?    -   Mercury    -   Mars    -   Asteroids    -   Uranus/Neptune    -   Pluto Earth setting:    -   distant future Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes Not Earth, in Solar System?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   a lot of techical jargon How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Kim Stanley Robinson Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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