Publication Info: Expected publication date September 10, 2019 by Berkley. Pre-pub Kindle edition courtesy of NetGalley
This is a repost from August 2019. A Song for a New Day just won the Nebula for best novel! Congratulations, Sarah Pinsker! If you didn’t read this book when it first came out, you should add it to your to-read pile now. The themes in this novel are very timely.
Summary: Due to a rash of bombings and shootings that killed thousands of people, the government passed the congregation laws. Public gatherings of more than two or three people in an area are prohibited. This changed the way restaurants and hotels function. Large office buildings are sometimes completely abandoned. There are no more movie theaters or concert venues. Traditional stores can no longer operate and have been subsumed into a huge, automated center called Superwally, that provides drone delivery service for everything anyone could need.
Rosemary, a young woman, still lives with her parents on their family farm. She works for Superwally from her bedroom via “hoodie space”, a virtual reality conduit. She is a tech troubleshooter. She’s never seen anything beyond the farm, is very isolated and is too young to remember “before”.
One day, Rosemary does some troubleshooting for a representative of StageHolo. He offers her a chance to see a StageHolo concert and sends her an upgraded hoodie. Rosemary is suddenly introduced to the larger virtual reality world, where people meet in cyberspace to hear music, dance, drink and share experiences.
The flashy concert brings some excitement into Rosemary’s dull life. She decides to apply for a job with StageHolo and leaves home for the first time. She is now a recruiting agent, looking for bands in hiding, playing in private homes and illegal clubs around the country.
She soon realizes she’s made a deal with the devil and determines to help the musicians she finds in a very different way.
Comments: A Song for a New Day is an amazing book. It projects from the current situation in the US to a not too distant future, where people live in fear and isolation. The book also addresses the loneliness and falsehoods in social media. People project avatars in hoodie space that homogenize them. This is a place where mega-corporations rule and the government dictates behavior. In our current world, laws that separate us are being passed now. Not to this extreme, but the seeds are being planted. We are living in fear of shooters at malls, concerts and schools.
I related to this book on multiple levels. I grew up in a suburb of Baltimore, where some of this book takes place. I used to play guitar and sing in small venues and coffee houses in the area. I saw those struggle to stay in business.
But most of all, I have been a resident in virtual reality for thirteen years. I know how it feels to attend cyberspace concerts and clubs, to have coffee with friends that I never meet in person. I have experienced deep isolation with most of my friends being just contacts on social media.
Sarah Pinsker hits the mark on so many points. I’ve become an instant fan of her writing and hope she writes more novels!
My Goodreads rating– 5 stars