Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What might have been

Among the numerous tasty tidbits in Rip it Up and Start Again is the fact that much of the basis for Gary Numan's songs came from his unfinished scifi novel. The sound of Cars is of course futuristic, but the lyrics start to make more sense as part of a larger paranoid concept. Listen to the Foo Fighters cover of Down in the Park, which would seem to come from the same source material.

The whole idea make me think of which bands authors would have made, if they never succeeded in publishing their novels. Here are some thoughts.

John Scalzi - The Ramones. As an author, Scalzi has taken the classic Heinlein approach to science fiction, with a developed Earth based space empire, military conflict and an inherently positive attitude and made it his own. Had this not worked, he might have looked back to Heinlein's heyday in the late 50s and early 60s and updated the garage sound of the days with a updated outlook.

Oscar Wilde - Morrissey. No comment necessary.

Guided By Voices - Anthony Trollope. I think that Robert Pollard might be Trollope reborn. Both are insanely productive, Pollard put out an insane nine releases in 2005-2007 alone. Trollope affronted literary tastes by viewing writing as a craft. By writing for a set period each day, he could pop out an 800 page novel every year or so. Both worked in humble trades, teacher and postal worker, while pursuing their art. And both strain the fan with their work. Pollard's shows easily last 3+ hours and a short Trollope is in the 500 page zone.

Every horror writer - Samhain. Adolescent fascination with blood, violence and Satan, goofy covers, and a disproportionate sense of importance are the shared characteristics of these two groups. Like the odd horror novel, Samhain could kick out a gem or two, but mostly we have dross.

Thomas Pynchon - Devo. Like Pynchon, Devo bases much of their work in critical theory and postmodern analysis, but with liberal doses of humor. Pynchon extends his analysis into hard science as well, which Devo limits primarily to imagery.


Anonymous said...

Great post...made me think of a few:

David Foster Wallace - Radiohead

T.C. Boyle - Dave Matthews

Neal Stephenson - Nine Inch Nails

Tripp said...

NIN - Neal Stephenson? Please explain?

Anonymous said...

Well, I recently finished both "Zodiac" and "Snow Crash" and NIN's industrial, techno, pessimistic dark vibe seemed to match Stephenson's general take on the human condition and modern society.

So maybe Neal would be NIN during the early phase of his career, but in his later "Baroque Cycle trilogy" phase he'd be more like Sigur Ros or something. I don't really know since I haven't read those books yet but have heard they're tough to get through.

Tripp said...

it's funny, my take on Stephenson is that he is a mix of pessimism and optimism. Yes, he dislikes modern society, but in The Diamond Age he has takes a positive view towards elements of Victorian society.

Anonymous said...

Just put Diamond Age on my Amazon wish list.

Tripp said...

I think you will like Diamond Age. I have the first of the Baroque cycle, but I think I need a vacation for that one.