Louise Marley
Louise Marley Author

Author   Opera Singer

The music of Louise Marley

Works of Louise Marley

"Louise Marley's knowledge of music and story make for a stunning combination of talent."
-Greg Bear

Louise Marley has written five science fiction novels. Her most recent book, The Glass Harmonica, comes out in October.

The Glass Harmonica The Glass Harmonica
The Terrorists of Irustan
Sing the Light
Sing the Warmth
Receive the Gift

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The Glass Harmonica
Coming in October... Eilish Eam is an orphan living in London, 1761. She stands on an icy corner and plays her instrument: water-filled glasses. Fingers raw from the cold, her only comfort is the place her music takes her . . . to visions of a young girl, much her own age, but with odd short hair. Eilish survives on pennies and applause, and nothing more. Until the night Benjamin Franklin stops to listen, awestruck by her gift--and with plans for her future . . .

Erin Rushton is a musical prodigy living in Seattle, 2018. She stands in the orchestra, consumed by the music of her instrument: the glass harmonica. Like a current of electricity, the music moves throughout her body. And the only thing that alters the rhythm are the visions that haunt her . . . of an odd, old-fashioned girl, much her own age, who needs her help . . .

"Of all my inventions, the glass armonica has given me the greatest personal satisfaction."
--Benjamin Franklin

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Read more about the Glass Armonica (also known as the Glass Harmonica)
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The Glass Harmonica

The Terrorists of Irustan
Zahra IbSada is a talented medicant on the planet of Irustan. In a nation where women's rights are drastically restricted, her job allows her to see much joy-and pain-in the lives of the women she heals. A wife is brutally beaten. A prostitute suffers at the hands of her employers. And her best friend Kalen struggles to save her daughter from a cruel marriage. She begs Zahra for help. Although Karen's plan goes against her medicant vows, Zahra reluctantly agrees. But this silent act of terrorism will have far-reaching consequences-for herself, and for all the women of her planet...
--Like The Handmaid's Tale, this brilliantly original fable transcends the sf and fantasy genre-a unique vision with great commercial appeal.

"Louise Marley deftly creates a detailed world full of complex characters so believable that they make you feel all their emotions with them: rage, powerlessness, rebellion, terror, determination, and hope."
--Sharon Shinn, author of Archangel

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The Terrorists of Irustan

Sing the Light
On the ice planet of Nevya, summer comes but once every five years. Only the powers of the Cantrixes—with their flute-like fillas and angelic voices—can reach into the very air and provide warmth, light, and healing to the people of Nevya."

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"Sing the Light is a highly crafted science fiction tale that makes authentic use of the author’s extensive musical background."
--Eastside Journal

Sing the Light



Sing the Warmth
Kept captive for four years by a dying city, the Cantrix Sira is freed after training another Singer to sustain life. Her methods defy convention, for only Singers formally taught at the Conservatory school can become Cantrixes. But many people have neglected their Gift, leaving a crucial shortage of Singers. As Nevya's light begins to dim, Sira travels the continent, searching for Singers to become her pupils. And though branded a traitor, she is the frozen planet's only hope...

"With this sequel to Sing the Light, Marley again demonstrates the storytelling skills that carried her first novel . . . Marley’s lively storytelling and engaging characters give them a life of their own."

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Sing the Warmth


Receive the Gift
Like a gathering of storm clouds, itinerant Singers have united in the service of Cho, whose lethal Gift has turned the house of Soren into a house of fear. Under his brutal command, the Cantor of Soren has been killed and the Cantrix imprisoned. No one dares to oppose Cho's power...

"Receive the Gift . . . concludes her trilogy about descendants from a crashed starship who survive on a very cold planet (summer comes once every five years) by their ability to create psionic warmth through singing. I’ve enjoyed all three.."
--Delphi.com QuickLooks

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Receive the Gift


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© Copyright 2000 Louise Marley. All rights reserved.

The Glass Harmonica - Reviews

Science Fiction Weekly (scifi.com)
Marley mixes tragedy with a good dose of romance, and even her least likable characters reveal admirable hidden qualities. She plays with the parallels between Erin and Eilish's lives in a manner delicate yet explicit. This balancing act holds through the end of the book, harmonizing elements of triumphant success and mournful loss.
By turns sobering and delightful, The Glass Harmonica is a novel that will haunt readers long after they have moved on to less complex fare. . . it leaves me torn between the desire to reread immediately and the hunger for Marley's next outing. (Alyx Dellamonica)

Seattle Times
Marley's gift for evoking historical people and places, as well as her skillful portrayal of musical life, provide some pleasurable reading.

Locus Magazine
Marley draws extensively on her own experience in the musical scene for Erin's feelings and the environment that surrounds a world-class musician. The detail she ascribes to the concert halls bespeak marley's familiarity with them due to her performance background. The Glass Harmonica is an enchanting and engaging tale with a slightly sugary ending. There are many little things that hint at Marley's political and social agenda, but they never submerge the story.

The Glass Harmonica (is) a wonderful story combining two stories separated by 250 years and the author's own knowledge of music . . . Recommended Reading.

Louise Marley makes music with her words in The Glass Harmonica. She imbues both the eighteenth century waif and the twenty-first century diva with characteristics the reader cares about. The idea is fresh, the story is compelling, and Ms. Marley's writing is engaging.

Terrorists of Irustan - Reviews

Science Fiction Book Reviews
"Marley is unflinching in her portrayal of the repressive and unjust society on Irustan. There are no pulled punches here--Zahra's patients bleed both physically and spiritually, and readers bleed with them. But The Terrorists of Irustan is realism in the best sense of the word--it is neither one-sided nor simplistic. The characters in this novel are drawn with precision, and each has made a different accommodation to the Irustani regime."
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"On Irustan, a planet settled long ago by humans, the Book of Second Prophet painstakingly details the proper way of being. Despite space travel and advanced technologies, men are the absolute decision makers. Women, draped in shapeless silks, their faces heavily veiled, are chattel. Only a select few get a glimpse at independence by becoming medicants, who are trained in the medical sciences. Such work is regarded as too distasteful for men. The beautiful Zahra is a young wife, a talented medicant, and a murderer. Sickened by a world of abusive husbands, Zahra's choice to kill is believably righteous, but it is fraught with treacherous subsequent ramifications. Marley realizes Irustan in dynamic detail, and she manages real, consistent character development so that not only does Zahra mature, but secondary characters subtly grow as situations demand. Throughout, Marley's acclaimed, exquisite prose and her universal themes of feminist heroism light the book brightly." Karen Simonetti Copyright© 1999, American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly
"One of feminist SF's new champions, Marley (Sing the Light) creates a convincing Arab-like milieu on the desert planet Irustan, where for 300 years male colonists have extracted a dangerous living from the rhodium mines, deliberately maintaining their primitive dominant-male culture. The triple-veiled women of Irustan, virtual slaves to their men, embody the greater--though unacknowledged--courage, especially medicants like Zahra IbSada who use cast-off Earth medicine to treat sick and dying colonists the men fear to touch. Faced with one horrifying case of wife and child abuse after another, Zahra and her fellow wives of Irustani officials wreak a powerful vengeance on their tormentors. Marley deftly skirts the potential peril of blatant propagandizing by rounding most of her male characters, especially Zahra's husband, Qadir, into plausible, if narrow-minded, human beings. She also sketches a bittersweet same-sex subplot between Zahra and Jin-Li Chung, a worker forced to masquerade as a man to escape destitution on teeming Earth. Rich with alien atmospherics and seething with issues of gender and prejudice, Zahra's dark journey into revolution offers some sensitive signposts to understanding. "

Kirkus Review
"Feminist science fiction from the author of the paperback Receive the Gift, etc. According to planet Irustan's inflexible religious code, women must be secluded and veiled, and are given away at the whim of the household's chief male. Nearly all men work in the rhodium mines, where they unavoidably inhale dust and become susceptible to a fatal disease; despite wearing masks, they require regular treatment. Their religion, however, bids them disregard their bodies, so men cannot be doctors. Zahra IbSada, the wife of Qadir, chief director of mines, is a ``medicant,'' Irustan's nearest equivalent to a doctor, diagnosing and treating with the help of machines imported from Earth. Despairingly, Zahra treats wives battered by their husbands, certifies as healthy 14-year-old girls being forced into marriage, and, disregarding Qadir's prohibition, patches up prostitutes injured by their clients. Then her friend Kalen, whose daughter Rabi will be given to the brutal Binya Maris, asks Zahra to intervene. She refuses, but secretly helps Kalen administer a fatal disease-causing agent. Zahra becomes friendly with offworld deliveryman Jin-Li Chung. When another friend begs for help against her adamant husband, Zahra again intervenes. Jin-Li's Earth boss, suspicious of the two unexplained deaths, orders him/her to spy on Zahra. But the brutality continues. Should Zahra persist with her covert terrorism, thereby risking detection, or join with her friends and start a revolution? Thoughtful and effective, despite the familiar backdrop and obvious developments." -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

James Seidman Review
"Marley's writing has a quality that lends it a certain profundity and presence rarely found in science fiction. After completing the book, I felt as if I had actually experienced a great moment in history, rather than merely having read a story. Despite being a tragic, painful tale, The Terrorists of Irustan is a gripping, worthwhile, and tremendously enjoyable story." Copyright © 1999 James Seidman. Read the full review.