By setting this novel in a society where DIY can literally be against the law, Pinsker ups the suspense considerably. To call this novel completely dystopian wouldn’t be entirely accurate, though: there’s a passing reference to states having established a basic income, for instance. It’s a fascinating paradox: elements of this world are utterly terrifying, but Pinsker balances that neatly with elements to show its appeal ... There’s something very zeitgeist-y about what Pinsker does here ... Pinsker’s novel feels very relevant in 2019, she’s also grappling with some classically science fictional themes ... There aren’t many books that can accurately convey the dynamics of a local DIY music scene and tap into a decades-long tradition of speculative fiction. Sarah Pinsker’s A Song for a New Day makes it seem effortless—but in focusing on the taxing nature of the creative process under duress, she also reminds the reader of how difficult 'effortless' can be. Relevant, haunting, and inspiring, this is one of the best books of 2019.
Pinsker’s first novel...is a riveting and plausible look into what our world could be if we become consumed with fear and dependent on social media. It is also a love letter to live music and underground shows, imagining futuristic musical innovations and the punk rebel scene that could emerge in response to a closed-off world. Pinsker tells her story through the eyes of two complex queer women who ground this fascinating, emotional narrative.
Pinsker's first novel...depicts a moving alternate future in which technology provides everything a person could want, except human contact. Themes of virtual reality, humanity, and music are threaded throughout this melodic story.
... reads like an intriguing combination of road novel, apocalyptic near-future SF, and – most importantly – character study that explores the compromises faced both by those who see the value in corporatized entertainment (more people get to enjoy it) and those who want to preserve the spontaneity and energy of live performances ... The tensions between corporate ambition, government repression, and artistic freedom hardly amount to a new theme, of course, but Pinsker makes the issues seem more urgent and more familiar than usual. This is partly because of her wide-ranging and finely textured portrait of a diminished America – we get to see a fair amount of geography – and partly it’s due to her remarkable skill at describing the nuances of musical performance ... The technological extrapolation of Pinsker’s SF may be restrained (and thus all the more credible), but the novel does converse with a number of earlier traditions ... Pinsker never lets the novel turn into an easy parable of mutual redemption ... Luce and Rosemary, not to mention an intriguing cast of secondary players, are figures that will stay with us for a long time.
The story of how Luce’s world—our world—turns into Rosemary’s is vividly rendered and chillingly plausible. But it’s what happens when Luce and Rosemary collide, when Rosemary finally experiences human connection in all its messy beauty, that makes this story so unusual, and powerful, and cements Pinsker's...status as a rising star in the world of speculative fiction. A gorgeous novel that celebrates what can happen when one person raises her voice.
This excellent debut novel by Nebula winner Pinsker...establishes her as an astonishingly impressive writer of day-after-tomorrow SF ... Pinsker shows how people whose personalities and backgrounds seem incompatible can be united by art, and how the need to feel safe can be less important than the need to create together and share joy. She handles both intimate emotions and extrapolative worldbuilding with aplomb. This tale of hope and passion is a remarkable achievement.