Published in 1982, Crystal Singer was penned by Anne McCaffrey as a result from events in her personal life. If you don’t know a lot about Anne McCaffrey, she was a musician and opera singer for a bit of her life, in addition to being in the theater. She wanted nothing more than to be a singer, but her voice carried a flaw in it that prevented her from being taken seriously in the world of opera.
Much like Anne McCaffrey, the main character in Crystal Singer, Killashandra Ree, also carries a flaw in her voice. Hurt by what she perceives as a betrayal by those in the music world, she flees her home planet to enter into the dangerous, but lucrative profession as a crystal singer (or cutter).
I read this book at a time when music was very much on my mind. I still wanted to write novels—that never went away—but the idea of being a singer was something that appealed to me, and had since I was five.
Seeing Killashandra on that cover (thank you Michael Whelan for being such an amazing artist) and then reading about her singing to a mountain range of crystals—I was hooked. The very next day, I told my father that when I grew up, I wanted to be a “Crystal Singer.” (I also wanted to name my first born Killashandra Ree, but don’t hold that against me! I was 12.)
Last week, I reread this book. While there are moments where the character gets a bit Mary-Sue and there are a few Deus Ex Machina moments in the later books, it’s still an amazing story and to this day, fills me with the need to create music.
My focus now is writing, but for the past week, I’ve been singing while I write. It’s a glorious compromise.
Want to read other Flashback Fridays? Click here to see the list in this series.