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?

2 comments:

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 ( http://www.geraldmackerman.com/ ), Richard Maxfield's partner.

The typo is not in all editions of the novel.