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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Music And Science Fiction

When I snuck into the theater and watched "Star Wars", I was captivated by the special effects, the sweeping space scenes...
...and THE MUSIC!
John Williams created a score that is so recognizable, it's iconic. Yet, who would have thought that a sound akin to classical music would accompany science fiction so well? Amazing. And who thought of asking Mr. Williams to do the job? That person has imagination.
I still remember reading "Dune" by Frank Herbert for the first time. It was 1979 and I was eleven, in love with science fiction/fantasy novels. After burning through every Pern dragon book at the library, I snagged "Dune" in an attempt for a sweeping novel for entertainment.
At the time, I'd acquired The Alan Parson's Project's "Eye in the Sky" and listened to it obsessively. (I still have that cassette tape by the way. Sad, eh?). Every time I read "Dune" now, I still hear "Old and Wise" as the accompanying soundtrack.
As a writer, I've sought for inspiration for my science fiction. I have it a little easier since I also write erotic romance with my science fiction, so I can often get away with music that covers the "erotic" mood. It hasn't been easy. For the Command series, I came across the band "Stream Of Passion" and I even made book trailers with several of their songs. (They were so generous and granted me permission to use them.) Much of the music from this band became the soundtrack that inspired me in the series.
For "Marked For Pleasure", I went in search of something to give me that "sci fi" feel. It wasn't easy. At all. Then, I came across Arjen Lucassen (who is the producer for "Stream of Passion" and has his own solo career) who came out with "Space Metal" in 2002. He set the mood for me, along with "Stream of Passion" and "Collide"
So, what music puts you in the mood for science fiction romance? Ever had some odd music become connected to a science fiction? (The weirdest one for me was when my character, Princess Sera Placido, insisted that her soundtrack included Britney Spears. It was quite annoying, even though Britney has videos like this to ease the pain.)

7 comments:

  1. Hey Jenn,

    Probably the majority of my musical choices tend to be odd, so the list would be a mile long. Lol. When I was writing the opening scene for Taking Liberty I couldn't get Shiny Toy Gun's version of Major Tom out of my head so that immediately went into the soundtrack. Heavy metal bands usually do the trick for action/ battle scenes. "Spacey" atmospheric tracks are also permanent fixtures on my soundtracks. No Britney Spears yet, but you might have converted me. ;) Actually, that video is quite awesome.

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  2. I swear, Britney was NOT my fault. LOL!!! I was quite bitter when Princess Sera wouldn't quit demanding the pop queen's music.
    You should try Collide's version of "Comfortably Numb". AWESOME!!!

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  3. I have to agree, the Star Wars Cantina Band song is THE science fiction song to me. Hugely popular at the time it came out, it played over and over on the radio (I'm showing my age, aren't I? ;) ) and I recorded it onto a cassette on my boom box a DOZEN times.

    Your question brought a slightly newer CD to mind, and I don't know why: Gorillas in the Mix by Bernie Krause and Human Remains. It's synthesized recorded animal sounds - bizarre beasts with beat. It's just so weird it's futuristic to me.

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  4. Great post, Jenn. I can definitely relate. In fact, one of the first things I do when starting a new project is create a playlist. I can't listen to music WHILE working, but it reals fuels my muse while I'm doing other things.

    One of my favorites with a sci-fi feel is "An ending" by Brian Eno, which was used in at least two Danny Boyle films - 28 Days Later and Sunshine. It's on my GHOST PLANET playlist.

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  5. I'm a musical eclectic, but for writing - techno, trance and industrial do the job for me. Different books naturally have different soundtracks. The Halo soundtrack worked for one book. Nine Inch Nails, Frontline Assembly, Pendulum, DJ Lithium, Muse - most of the time, I'm looking for something gritty and driving but with few words to distract me from the ones in my head. And I always love seeing other peoples' play lists - I'll be going to check out the new to me bands right after I get the day's word count done.

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  6. Your question brought a slightly newer CD to mind, and I don't know why: Gorillas in the Mix by Bernie Krause and Human Remains. It's synthesized recorded animal sounds - bizarre beasts with beat. It's just so weird it's futuristic to me.

    Ooooh I'll have to check these out.

    One of my favorites with a sci-fi feel is "An ending" by Brian Eno, which was used in at least two Danny Boyle films - 28 Days Later and Sunshine.

    Oh cool!
    most of the time, I'm looking for something gritty and driving but with few words to distract me from the ones in my head

    Awesome. I usually use it all as background noise too.

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  7. I'm not one to have music (or any distractions) on when I'm writing, but I plot to music. My muse really purrs to classic rock (like America, Moody Blues, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Aerosmith, The Traveling Wilburys, etc.) or some of the more mainstream modern stuff like John Mayer or Jack Johnson.

    On a related note (sort of), I have one MC who's a musician and I've discovered how difficult it is to describe music in text. How do you "show" a reader how something sounds? It's tough.

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