SFF Song of the Week: Ken MacLeod

I met Ken MacLeod at Eastercon, at a curry dinner hosted by our lovely bosses at Orbit…he’s a delightful, drily witty man who has consistently written some of the best and boldest SF out there.  He’s also a highly political writer, who tells stories that make you think as well as feel.

Manhattan Project by Rush

Ken MacLeod writes:

The libertarian rock band Rush have often used science-fictional, fantasy, or dystopian themes in their songs, but this one (of the relative handful I’ve heard from their vast repertoire) has always struck me as the closest to the spirit of SF, despite its being about an event in the past. It looks beyond fission power’s violent and horrific sin of origin and first use, to the vast possibilities it opens up for humanity. ‘The hopeful depend on a world without end whatever the hopeless may say.’ I’m with the hopeful.

Imagine a time when it all began
In the dying days of a war
A weapon that would settle the score
Whoever found it first would be sure to do their worst.
They always had before…

Imagine a man where it all began
A scientist pacing the floor
In each nation, always eager to explore
To build the best big stick
To turn the winning trick.
But this was something more…

The big bang took and shook the world
Shot down the rising sun
The end was begun and it hit everyone
When the chain reaction was done
The big shots tried to hold it back
Fools tried to wish it away
The hopeful depend on a world without end
Whatever the hopeless may say

Imagine a place where it all began
Gathered from across the land
To work in the secrecy of the desert sand
All of the brightest boys
To play with the biggest toys
More than they bargained for…


Imagine a man when it all began
The pilot of Enola Gay
Flying out of the shockwave on that August day
All the powers that be, and the course of history,
Would be changed forevermore…

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