SFF Song of the Week: Tony Ballantyne

In this weekly Wednesday slot, expect great song choices from our resident BJs (blogjays), including Alastair Reynolds, Nicole Peeler, Lilith Saintcrow, and many more.

This week there’s a great song choice from Tony Ballantyne, the wickedly inventive and thoroughly delightful author of The Robot Wars and The Recursion Trilogy. It’s Experiment IV, by Kate Bush.

Tony Ballantyne writes:

Listen to the song and you realise this is an SF short story just waiting to be written. Try and write it (and I have done) and you realise you’re never going to do it as succinctly as Kate Bush manages. “From the painful sounds of mothers, to the terrifying screams…” This is how to make a sound that could kill someone.

Watch the video and you see actors Peter Vaughan, Richard Vernon, Dawn French and Hugh Laurie bring a whole new dimension to the story. Finally there’s Kate Bush herself doing her Raiders of the Lost Ark routine as she turns from angel temptress to demon nightmare as the sound is played to its helpless victim. Wonderful!

SF and Kate Bush. Throw in an accordion and you’d have my best night in ever.

We were working secretly
For the military.
Our experiment in sound,
Was nearly ready to begin.
We only know in theory
What we are doing:
Music made for pleasure,
Music made to thrill.
It was music we were making here until

They told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It’s a mistake in the making.

From the painful cry of mothers,
To the terrifying scream,
We recorded it and put it into our machine.

Then they told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It’s a mistake in the making.

It could feel like falling in love.
It could feel so bad.
But it could feel so good.
It could sing you to sleep

?”I’ll bet my mum’s gonna give me a little toy instrument!”?

But that dream is your enemy.

We won’t be there to be blamed.
We won’t be there to snitch.
I just pray that someone there
Can hit the switch.

But they told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It’s a mistake we’ve made.

Hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm hmm.
And the public are warned to stay off.

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