CFP: The Place of Music in Science Fiction and Fantasy (3/1/06; MLA '06)

full name / name of organization: 
Seo-Young Jennie Chu
contact email: 

Modern Language Association Annual Convention
December 27 - 30, 2006
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The MLA Discussion Group on Science Fiction and Utopian and Fantastic
Literature invites submissions for a panel titled "The Place of Music in
Science Fiction and Fantasy."

Topics might include (but are not limited to):

* Defining "science-fiction music." What makes a work of music
"science-fictional"? Possible subtopics: micropolyphony, symmetrical
divisions of the octave, experimental musical technologies (e.g., the
Ondes Martenot).

* The relationship of music to other nonverbal arts (e.g., painting,
architecture, photography) in science fiction and fantasy.

* The aural imagination. What is the place of listening in science
fiction? How is listening to science-fiction music different from, say,
reading a science-fiction graphic novel?

* Afrofuturist music. Sun Ra. George Clinton. DJ Spooky.

* Music in science-fiction film and television. Soundtracks and scores.
HAL singing "Daisy Bell" in _2001: A Space Odyssey_. The five-note theme
in _Close Encounters of the Third Kind_. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in _A
Clockwork Orange_.

* Futurist sound poetry and performance art.

* Science-fiction opera. Tod Machover's _Brain Opera_. Philip Glass's
_Einstein on the Beach_.

* The politics of music in utopian and dystopian literature. Music as
propaganda in _1984_ and _Brave New World_.

* Electronic music. John Cage. Nortec. Bebe and Louis Barron. Boards
of Canada.

* Music as a form of communication between human beings and non-human

* The aesthetics of fantasy and science fiction. The beautiful and the
sublime in science-fiction music. The psychological effects of
science-fiction music. Music and synesthesia.

* Ways in which the genre of science-fiction music has evolved over the
years - from, for example, _The Planets Suite_ to Gyorgy Ligeti to
Radiohead's _OK Computer_ and _Kid A_.

* The musical qualities of science-fictional prose. Rhythm.
Onomatopoeia. Repetition. Alliteration.

* Science-fictional depictions of musical technology. Imaginary musical
instruments. Scriabin's color organ. Computer-generated music in E. M.
Forster's "The Machine Stops." The Waldteufel Euphoria and Hammerstein
Mood Organ in Philip K. Dick's _We Can Build You_.

* Music inspired by fantasy and science fiction. Filk. Tod Machover's
_VALIS_. David Bowie's "Space Oddity."

Detailed 250-word abstracts are due by March 1, 2006, and should be
e-mailed to Seo-Young Jennie Chu <>. Please include a
CV along with your proposal. Note: All participants must be members of
the MLA by April 6, 2006.

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Received on Sat Jan 14 2006 - 09:46:38 EST