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AuthorOrson Scott Card
Cover artistLucinda Cowell
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
PublisherDial Press
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
LC ClassPS3553.A655 S66

Songmaster (1980) is a science fiction book by Orson Scott Card. The story of the Songmaster occurs in a future human empire, and follows Ansset, a young boy whose singing voice has the power of making people's feelings stronger. This makes him both a possible healer and destroyer. He is trained in the art of singing so perfectly that his songs can show ideas and feelings better than words. This book was based on Card's short story "Mikal's Songbird".

Literary significance & criticism[change | change source]

One reviewer said that Songmaster was "Quite possibly Card's best published work, ever."[1] The publisher described the story as "...a haunting story of power and love—the tale of the man who would destroy everything he loves to preserve humanity's peace, and the boy who might just sing the world away".[2]

Awards and nominations[change | change source]

As with some other Card novels (Ender's Game, for example), this book started out as a shorter story "Mikal's Songbird", which was a Nebula Award finalist in 1978.[3] Songmaster got the Hamilton-Brackett Memorial Award in 1981.

Translations[change | change source]

  • Dutch: Zangermeester ("Songmaster"), published by Meulenhoff.
  • German: Meistersanger ("Master Singer"), published by Bastei Lübbe.
  • Spanish: Maestro Cantor ("Master Singer"), published by Nova Ciencia Ficcion.

References[change | change source]

  1. Alma A. Hromic, from a review at
  2. Amazon, quoting Tom Doherty Associates copy
  3. Per Card's Hatrack river bibliography

Other websites[change | change source]