Help me remember this obscure sci-fi featuring cross-species gay lovers!
June 22, 2022 10:52 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago I found a sci fi book at Half Price Books. I'm not sure if it's even in print anymore. It was super, super weird but amazing and I kind of loved it, but I only got halfway through before I lost the book and I really want to finish it.

Essentially, it's about a human boy training to be an opera singer. The boy grows up wealthy, IIRC, and his mother pushes him to become a performer, so at a young age he is apprenticed to an older opera singer who takes him traveling around in space performing for various alien cultures. At some point he falls in love with his friend, who is also male and a different species (some kind of snake-people). That's most of the plot that I remember. There is possibly some war/political stuff going on in the background, too. Of course, no one I've ever met has read this book and google failed me. You are my only hope, metafilter.
posted by stockpuppet to Media & Arts (11 answers total)
 
Songmaster, by Orson Scott Card? (Wikipedia)
posted by lysimache at 11:31 AM on June 22


Space Opera by Catherine Valenti maybe?
posted by roue at 12:11 PM on June 22


Song master involves singing and gay people but requires a trigger warning.

Space Opera is sf and about singing but has a completely different plot.
posted by bq at 2:18 PM on June 22


my first thought was also Orson Scott Card, but then I questioned if I was deluding myself because isn’t he a staunch homophobe??
posted by gooch at 3:45 PM on June 22


Sounds like On Wings of Song by Thomas M. Disch.
posted by miles per flower at 4:18 PM on June 22


my first thought was also Orson Scott Card, but then I questioned if I was deluding myself because isn’t he a staunch homophobe??

He is, and that book is, as bq alluded to, all *kinds* of creepy, due to his issues; I would never recommend it on its own merits, especially today when there are so many *good* options for queer sf. But its plot does match the OP's description (minus that I don't remember snake aliens, but I haven't re-read it in 20+ years because of the creepy content, so it certainly could have that).
posted by lysimache at 5:18 PM on June 22


Best answer: THE MERRO TREE BY KATIE WAITMAN

My favorite book at 14, lifechanging for me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:30 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I thought Songmaster also; there is creepy grooming of young male singers, but I don’t remember any snake aliens. Anyways that book is weird considering how homophobic
Orson Scott Card is.
posted by maryrussell at 8:31 PM on June 22


Best answer: It's about trauma, abuse, and censorship and it is SO GOOD.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:32 PM on June 22


Response by poster: PhoBWanKenobi - YES!!! The Merro Tree is it! I knew Metafilter would come through!!

So excited to buy this book and finish it! (Also, I'm really surprised there are so many books about intergalactic opera singers!)
posted by stockpuppet at 6:09 AM on June 23


Glad you figured it out -- but I'm going to plug The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin anyway, since it pretty much matches your description and is awesome.
posted by thandal at 9:07 AM on June 23


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