Category Archives: music

“The Moon Moth,” Jack Vance, 1961

“The Moon Moth,” Jack Vance, 1961 – A new ambassador arrives to a highly organized culture with two peculiarities: hierarchical “character” masks used in lieu of personal identity and a language spoken through musical instruments. Comments:  Fantastic story of mores/customs, … Continue reading

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“Old Hundreth,” Brian Aldiss, 1960

“Old Hundreth,” Brian Aldiss, 1960 – A story of far earth and the human calvacade that marched through time to reach it, now transcended (uploaded) to a static plane of mingled personality.  This long-forgotten human civilization has left behind its … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, animals/insects, cyborgs/posthumans, evolution, favorites, museums/artifacts, music, religion/soul/spirituality, speed/slowness, the body, violence, war/soldiers | 1 Comment

“Immortality…For Some,” J. T. McIntosh, 1960

“Immortality…For Some,” J. T. McIntosh, 1960 – An aging, disabled musician named Susan Sonnenburg gives one last performance before opting for her mind to be erased and her body to be Reborn.  Before the procedure, she asks that a kind … Continue reading

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“The Sound-Sweep,” J. G. Ballard, 1960

“The Sound-Sweep,” J. G. Ballard, 1960 — Ultrasonic music is the new fashion and phonographs and live performances are a thing of the past.  It is a world where the echoes of music remain in their concert halls, where conversations … Continue reading

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“The Blind Pilot,” Nathalie-Charles Henneberg, 1959

“The Blind Pilot,” Nathalie-Charles Henneberg, 1959 – (Originally Au pilote aveugle (1959))  A blind, now “useless” pilot returns home to take care of his mentally-disabled (?) brother.  All is well between them until a package containing a siren arrives. Comments: … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, disability, gender, international, love/family/children, masculinity, mourning/grief, music, myth, sex/reproduction/sterility, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“No, no, not Rogov!” Cordwainer Smith, 1959

“No, no, not Rogov!” Cordwainer Smith, 1950 – Cherpas and Rogov are good Soviets who doggedly carry out Stalin’s orders for a machine that can read all EM radiation, including thoughts, for the purpose of spying and suppressing thought.  With … Continue reading

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“Tunesmith,” Lloyd Biggle Jr., 1957

“Tunesmith,” Lloyd Biggle Jr., 1957 – An elderly man, Baque, stands in the museum of the future and recalls how his “empathic” music saved civilization from jingles. Comments: Read in The Great SF Stories #19. Author: Wikipedia: “Lloyd Biggle, Jr. … Continue reading

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“The Education of Tigress Macardle,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1957

“The Education of Tigress Macardle,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1957 — Purvis (Elvis?) is elected president, and four years later establishes himself as King Purvis I.  / At the same time, Dr. Fu Manchu, “that veritable personification of the Yellow Peril, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, automata/robots, generational conflict, genrecraft, humor, invasion, love/family/children, media/advertising, music, nationalism, overpopulation, politics/politicians/elections, race/civil rights, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, time/history/causality, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Prima Belladonna,” J. G. Ballard, 1956

“Prima Belladonna,” J. G. Ballard, 1956 – A mysterious singer, Jane Ciracylides, arrives in Vermillion Sands, a resort town on Mars(?).  Men fawn over her singular beauty, accented by exotic insect eyes and golden skin.  Her parentage is sketchy–a father somewhere, … Continue reading

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“The Piper,” Ray Bradbury, 1943

“The Piper,” Ray Bradbury, 1943 — Kerac, a Martian musician, returns from an enforced exile on Jupiter to find that the conquering Jovians have defiled Mars with their cacophonous music, ugly, sprawling cities, pollution, liquor, and general violence and buffoonery. … Continue reading

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“A Work of Art,” James Blish, 1956

“A Work of Art,” James Blish, 1956 – (Alternate title: “Art-Work”)  Richard Strauss is resurrected in the far future by “mind sculptors” and tasked with composing opera for a modern audience, but he finds he has nothing left to say … Continue reading

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“I Do Not Love Thee, Dr. Fell,” Robert Bloch, 1955

“I Do Not Love Thee, Dr. Fell,” Robert Bloch, 1955 – A frustrated jingle writer’s therapy goes awry when he over-identifies with his therapist. Comments: Read in The World Treasury of Science Fiction. References the poem concerning John Fell, an … Continue reading

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“A Master of Babylon,” Edgar Pangborn, 1954

“A Master of Babylon,” Edgar Pangborn, 1954 – An aging musician believes himself to be the last surviving human as he quietly teeters toward madness in the ruins of a flooded New York.  After many years of isolation, he discovers … Continue reading

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“The Waveries,” Fredric Brown, 1945

“The Waveries,” Fredric Brown, 1945 — George Bailey, a radio ad writer, listens to the fulsome ads of his rival while drinking and playing gin rummy with Maisie, a friend. A tapping similar to Morse code interrupts one of the … Continue reading

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“Sam Hall,” Poul Anderson, 1953

“Sam Hall,” Poul Anderson, 1953 — Man against mechanized society.  A take on the folk song.  Wikipedia: “…[F]eatures a disgruntled bureaucrat who creates fake records about a rebel named Sam Hall (after the song) who fights against the totalitarian government.” … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, bureaucracy/corporations, love/family/children, mechanization, music, totalitarianism/fascism | Leave a comment

“Virtuoso,” Herbert Goldstone, 1953

“Virtuoso,” Herbert Goldstone, 1953 — Rollo the robot is taught by his owner, a composer, to play the most difficult pieces in existence, which it does with ease.  The composer is distraught, weeps–something Rollo knows to be a sign of … Continue reading

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“Vintage Season,” C. L. Moore, 1946

“Vintage Season,” Moore and Kuttner, 1946 – Time travelers who consume “catastrophe” as an aesthetic experience visit a city about to be destroyed by an asteroid.  With them is a composer who will memorialize the event through a 3D “operatic” … Continue reading

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“The Great Fog,” H. F. Heard, 1944

“The Great Fog,” H. F. Heard, 1944 – Biologists and metereologists learn that a slight change in humidity has a given a mold a growth spurt.  This mold is capable of producing its own humid climate. It eventually covers the … Continue reading

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“No Woman Born,” C. L. Moore, 1944

“No Woman Born,” C. L. Moore, 1944 – The famous dancer Deirdre is horribly burned in a theater fire and her mind is transplanted into a golden, robotic body.  After much time spent recovering under the care of the physician … Continue reading

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Odd John, Olaf Stapledon, 1936 (novel)

Odd John, Olaf Stapledon, 1936 — (novel excerpt)  Read in A Century of Science Fiction, with an introduction by Damon Knight.  Knight notes that Rosny first wrote of the “superman as a bewildered misfit” and that, in contrast, “Stapledon’s Odd … Continue reading

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