Under the Influence: RUSH

"In the constellation of Cygnus there lurks/A mysterious, invisible force:/The black hole of Cygnus X-1…"   Many are the rock bands that emerged from the 1970s; few are those who survived the decades since. Even fewer are those that impressed me, not with one or two songs, but with entire ALBUMS that I would collect and listen to most of. My usual music-listening habits involve picking one or two songs out of an entire band's career that I like, which is why I rarely will say I like a given band. But there is one huge exception: the [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Rimsky-Korsakov’s _Scheherazade_

The Arabian Nights is a classic tale centering around Scheherazade, a young woman about to marry, who is faced with a truly daunting problem: the Sultan or king she's about to marry has all his wives executed the day after their wedding, to prevent any possible infidelity. (apparently his first wife had in fact been unfaithful). Scheherazade of course has no desire to be wed on one day and executed the next, so she devises a unique strategem: she asks to be allowed to say goodbye to her sister, who – according to plan – asks Scheherazade to [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Holst’s _The Planets_

There are a few classical pieces known to almost everyone; Beethoven's Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance (from graduations everywhere), Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor. Many more are known, but not always immediately recognized by name, as they get played in part or in whole in many different settings. But in the world of SF geeks, there are some with special significance, and of these, few could compete with Gustav Holst's The Planets, a suite of seven pieces each representing one of the major planets (other than [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: My Top Ten Videogame Music Selections

As I have mentioned more than once, when writing I usually listen to music. I look for music that inspires and shapes my imagination, often becoming themes for events or characters or settings. As the technology has progressed, I have found that video games often provide some surprisingly inspirational themes. Here, then, are my top ten favorite pieces of music from various video games!   Silent the Universe: Star Ocean 2 Opening Theme. Composed by Motoi Sakuraba, this beautiful piece of music opens the game with a deep-space object [ Continue reading... ]

Music and Writing

       One of the key elements of the way in which I write is that I must have music playing. Quiet – as in dead silence – intrudes on my consciousness. I write best when I have sound that helps evoke emotions in me, so that I can try to evoke emotion in my words.      This has naturally evolved into a habit of constructing a "soundtrack" for my books as I go along. In many cases the soundtrack becomes quite detailed, with a dozen or even two dozen tracks each representing a character, piece of the setting, or event. This helps me keep [ Continue reading... ]