Sunday, December 26, 2004

Alternative Universes (1)

from Philip K. Dick, Cantata-140:
Late at night, Tito Cravelli sat in his conapt, before a genuine fire, sipping Scotch and milk and reading over the written report which his contact at Terran Development had a little earlier in the evening submitted to him.
Softly, his tape deck played one of the cloud chamber pieces by the great mid-twentieth century composer, Harry Partch. The instrument, called by Parch 'the spoils of war', consisted of cloud chambers, a rasper, a modernized musical saw, and artillery shell casings suspended so as to resonate, each at a different frequency. And, as a ground bass accompanying the spoils of war instrument, one of Parch's hollow bamboo marimba-like inventions tapped out an intricate rhythm. It was a piece very popular these days with the public.
But Cravelli was not listening His attention was fixed on the report of TD's activities.

Tape deck?


Scott Spiegelberg said...

Not to mention that Partch was spelled wrong. It would be interesting to make a list of all the real-life composers mentioned in sci-fi literature. I know one of my colleagues in science-fiction studies gave a paper on music in sci-fi, I'll have to ask him what the specifics of that paper were (he gave it the spring before I joined the faculty).

Anonymous said...

Dick was well aware of the new music scene in the Bay Area in the 50's. He worked in a record store on Telegraph in Berkeley, and his best friend was Gerald Ackerman ( ), Richard Maxfield's partner.

The typo is not in all editions of the novel.