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date: 27 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the intersection of music and SF themes, considering both film scores and popular song. Since no general theory of “SF music” exists, it adapts the term “speculative” from literary studies to explain how SF themes manifest within the two basic musical domains acknowledged. Using that frame, a genealogy of SF music is established by looking first to the aesthetic and ideological conflict present in the relationship between Leon Theremin and Edgard Varèse, with the former looking to the nineteenth century for cues and the latter exploring new possibilities in sound opened up by the advent of electronic music. What follows is a survey of landmarks in SF music, from the score to The Forbidden Planet (1956) and Dicky Goodman’s “The Flying Saucer Parts 1 & 2” (1956), Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) to David Bowie, and from Blade Runner (1982) to electroclash.

Keywords: science fiction music, electronic music, Leon Theremin, Edgard Varèse, Forbidden Planet, Dicky Goodman, Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, electroclash

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