Archive for April, 2017

A long time ago, I was working on a novel called The Difference Engine but my enthusiasm for the project waned when I realized it was just a lot of really self-exposing anthropomorphic animal fiction. Sometimes I think I leapt right over the part where you’re supposed to write what you enjoy and immediately onto “write what you enjoy but only if it has a modicum of respectability to it.” My inability to write without self-consciousness eventually killed the project. As with many of my old ideas, I never know whether to leave it buried or to heave it up and try a proper reboot. One of my favorite characters in the project was the irrepressibly weird blind electronic musician Neon Green Daugherty, who was for a short time my single most present and connected character. She went a little something like this:

* * *

“It’s called ‘gestalt music’,” said the dark-glasseded woman I knew only as SpaceBatAngelDragon. I myself do not have a fancy Internet nickname; the peculiar young woman was probably thinking of me as ‘jscott’ right now, which, for the moment, was fine by me. “Audio fusion. It’s like pointillism for the ears. Two distinct tones blending in the middle of the head to create a richer audio experience than any monophonically-presented chord.”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s kind of a basic tenet of stereo sound.”

“Right!” said SpaceBatAngelDragon. “Anyway, the whole thing fascinates me. So when I started experimenting for real, that’s where I started. My first piece was designed for headphones, and it consisted of two, well, pretty different tracks of music. Different time signatures, musical styles, all that. All designed to harmonize in interesting ways when your head tried to put it together. Sadly, I no longer have access to that piece, because I wrote it in Andante for the Archimedix 2000, and the world’s last functioning Archimedix 2000 died a peaceful death in Hobart, Tasmania in 1998. I still have the discs, but nothing on this earth can read them. I think it’s sad that the Archimedix never actually made it to the year 2000 after all.”


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