In the world of Hollywood or the theatre, a performer who can act, sing, and dance is called a “triple threat.” Anne McCaffrey’s “Crystal Singer Trilogy”is a literary triple threat, as it feeds your soul in youth, maturity, and retirement! Making it an exceptionally good use of wood pulp and ink.
Bursting onto the page, in “The Crystal Singer” Killashandra Ree enters, stage left! An angstful young woman, denied her dream, possessed of sexual liberation, and impetuous enough to take a risk that leads to an amazing life adventure – her adventures are fulfilling fodder for those approaching adulthood.
In Anne McCaffrey’s second novel of the trilogy (aptly named “Killashandra”), we find a story that touches upon more mature, early to mid-adult life experiences of young love sacrificed – emotions drowned out by the distractions of a “business trip” – the timeless moral conundrum of personal liberty versus manipulation and control “for the sake of the greater good” – and even the vagaries and powerlessness created by endless bureaucratic red tape.
Exquisite writer that she was, Anne McCaffrey didn’t leave her senior citizen readers out, with book 3 (“Crystal Line”) touching upon the effects of time, aging, the emotional tiredness of lengthy relationships and an incredibly circuitous pathway back to true love, all while gracefully touching upon the question: “What is life anyway?” Mixed in are some good old-fashioned corporations chasing resources and profit at the expense of native beings who so inconveniently need those rare resources to survive – spurring us, as readers, to do some deep thinking.
As a self-avowed science-fiction writer, Anne makes all of this happen far, far away from Earth on planets that I can still see, hear, smell and taste…30 years later.
If crystal that sings, ships that speak, interstellar travel, symbiotic relationships, weather systems that kill, secret totalitarian regimes, music, good Yarran Beer, and wildly fun adventures blended with romance and strong female archetypes are your thing – Run! Don’t walk! – to your nearest used book store and cross your fingers, because “Crystal Singer” is not the type of book to be casually tossed away. Of course, you can always buy it new, but I recommend used, borrowed, or rented (from friends or the library) whenever possible.