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Crystal Line
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About the Author

Anne McCaffrey was one of the world's leading science-fiction writers, and won both the Hugo and Nebula awards as well as the Margaret A. Edwards' Lifetime Achievement Literary Award. Born and raised in the US, although of Irish extraction, she spent the last years of her life in Ireland, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains. She died in 2011 at the age of eighty-five. She is the creator of the Dragons of Pern series. Her website is www.annemccaffrey.net

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McCaffrey again explores the effects of institutionalized memory loss on a culture in the third volume of a series that began with Crystal Singer . Killashandra Ree, one of the rare individuals with perfect pitch who can find and cut the Ballybran crystals on which much of the galaxy's economy is based, turns away from her lover and partner Lars Dahl when he becomes head of the Heptite Guild and, to her discomfort, moves to bring some order into the workings of the organization that controls the crystal trade. In order to work with crystal one must adapt to a symbiotic organism that heals humans rapidly and prolongs life; as a side effect, those who handle crystal lose their memories, forgetting the locations of good mining sites as well as the identities of their friends and lovers. While Lars undertakes various projects to overcome this disability, Killashandra has an off-planet fling. Eventually she reconciles herself to change, finding possible salvation for them all. As lacking in coherence as a crystal singer's life and bereft of interesting characters, this episodic McCaffrey effort is a major disappointment. (Nov.)

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