Arisia’s 25th anniversary is coming up and they want to bring in some big names. I suggested they invite Janelle Monáe, whose ArchAndroid suites rank among the best SF I’ve encountered in the last ten years. (My heartfelt thanks to N.K. Jemisin for first mentioning her work to me.) Monáe is obviously a fan; I bet she’d love to play for a fannish audience.
Right now I’m listening to Kate Bush’s album The Whole Story. There is so much SF in here! “Cloudbusting” is about a machine that makes rain, and a government conspiracy (and the train whistle at the end makes it steampunk, right?). “Breathing” is about the aftermath of nuclear war. “The Dreaming” is post-apocalyptic, where the apocalypse in question is the European invasion and industrialization of Australia. “Experiment IV” posits a futuristic sound weapon. Last week’s get-up-and-go music was Information Society’s Synthesizer, which includes slipstream (“I Love It When…”) as well as SF (“I Like the Way You Werk It”).
I mentioned SF music on Twitter and Elizabeth Bear brought up David Bowie and Johnny Cash, but I feel like there must be so much more than big names from decades past. Monáe can’t be working in a vacuum. Who are some recent non-filk musicians telling SF stories? Name your favorites and feel free to include YouTube links and the like. And while I’m focusing on science fiction because I think it’s a lot more rare in music than fantasy and horror are (see: vast swathes of heavy metal and prog rock), you’re welcome to branch out into other speculative music if you like.