Tag Archives: science fiction

Almanac – May 05

1901 – Blind Willie McTell born (probably – the year 1898 is also given).  Piedmont and ragtime blues singer and guitarist.

He played with a fluid, syncopated fingerstyle guitar technique, common among many exponents of Piedmont blues, although, unlike his contemporaries, he came to use twelve-string guitars exclusively.

McTell was also an adept slide guitarist,  and his vocal style, a smooth and often laid-back tenor, differed greatly from many of the harsher voice types employed by Delta bluesmen, such as Charley Patton. McTell embodied a variety of musical styles, including blues, ragtime, religious music and hokum.

.

.

1937 – Delia Derbyshire born.  English musician and composer of electronic music  and musique concrète.

She is best known for her electronic realisation of Ron Grainer‘s theme music to the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and for her work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

When Grainer first heard it, he was so amazed by her rendering of his theme that he asked “Did I really write this?” to which Derbyshire replied “Most of it”. 

Grainer attempted to get her a co-composer credit but the attempt was prevented by the BBC bureaucracy, who then preferred to keep the members of the Workshop anonymous.

.

.

.

A&A forum banner

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

Almanac – April 06

1992 – Isaac Asimov died.  American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards

Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke,  he was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime.  Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series;  his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series.

His  robot stories promulgated a set of rules of ethics for robots and intelligent machines that greatly influenced other writers and thinkers in their treatment of the subject.

Asimov notes in one of his biographical pieces that he was largely inspired by the almost relentless tendency of robots up to that time to fall consistently into a Frankenstein plot in which they destroyed their creator.

The Three Laws of Robotics

1 – A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2 – A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3 – A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

.

 

 

.

 

A&A forum banner

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

Almanac – April 02

742 – Charlemagne born. King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, the first Holy Roman Emperor,  called the “Father of Europe” (pater Europae),  his empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire.

His rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture through the medium of the Catholic Church. Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne encouraged the formation of a common European identity.  Both the French and German monarchies considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne’s empire.

.

.

1725 – Giacomo Casanova born.  Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice.

He was, by vocation and avocation, a lawyer, clergyman, military officer, violinist, con man, pimp, gourmand, dancer, businessman, diplomat, spy, politician, medic, mathematician, social philosopher, cabalist, playwright, and writer. He wrote over twenty works, including plays and essays, and many letters. His novel Icosameron is an early work of science fiction.

He has become so famous for his often complicated and elaborate affairs with women that his name is now synonymous with “womanizer“.

.

.

1891 – Max Ernst born. German painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. A prolific artist, Ernst was a primary pioneer of the Dada movement and Surrealism.

Ernst developed a fascination with birds that was prevalent in his work. His alter ego in paintings, which he called Loplop, was a bird. He suggested that this alter-ego was an extension of himself stemming from an early confusion of birds and humans.

 He said that one night when he was young he woke up and found that his beloved bird had died, and a few minutes later his father announced that his sister was born. Loplop often appeared in collages of other artists’ work, such as Loplop presents André Breton.

.

.

1928 – Serge Gainsbourg born. French singer, songwriter, poet, composer, artist, actor and director. Regarded as one of the most important figures in French popular music, he was renowned for his often provocative and scandalous releases, as well as his diverse artistic output, which embodied genres ranging from jazz, chanson, pop and yé-yé, to reggae, funk, rock, electronic and disco music.

Gainsbourg’s extremely varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize. His legacy has been firmly established, and he is often regarded as one of the world’s most influential popular musicians.

.

.

1941 – Dr. Demento born. American radio broadcaster and record collector specializing in novelty songs, comedy, and strange or unusual recordings dating from the early days of phonograph records to the present.

He is credited with introducing new generations of listeners to artists of the early and middle twentieth century whom they may not have otherwise discovered, such as Haywire Mac, Spike Jones, Benny Bell, Yogi Yorgesson, and Tom Lehrer, as well as with bringing parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic to national attention.

.

.

2003 – Edwin Starr died.  American soul music singer. Starr is most famous for his Norman Whitfield produced Motown singles of the 1970s, most notably the number one hit “War”.

.

.

A&A forum banner

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

Almanac – March 22

1887 – Chico Marx born. American comedian and film star as part of the Marx Brothers.

His persona in the act was that of a dim-witted albeit crafty con artist, seemingly of rural Italian origin, who wore shabby clothes, and sported a curly-haired wig and Tyrolean hat.

 In addition to his work as a performer, he played an important role in the management and development of the act, at least in its early years.

.

.

1931 – William Shatner born. Canadian actor, musician, recording artist, author and film director.

He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the science fiction television series Star Trek.

He also starred in the 1966 gothic horror film Incubus, the second feature-length movie ever made with all dialogue spoken in Esperanto.

.

.

.

A&A forum banner

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

Almanac – March 15

The Ides of March.

44 BC – Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, was stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators.

.

.

1937 – H. P. Lovecraft died.  American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction.

Lovecraft’s guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed “cosmicism” or “cosmic horror“, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind.

As such, his stories express a profound indifference to human beliefs and affairs. Lovecraft is the originator of the Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional magical textbook of rites and forbidden lore.

.

.

1943 – Sly Stone born. American musician, songwriter, and record producer, most famous for his role as frontman for Sly and the Family Stone, a band which played a critical role in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 1960s and 1970s.

.

.

2008 – Mikey Dread died. Jamaican singer, producer, and broadcaster.

He was one of the most influential performers and innovators in reggae music. “His abilities, technical expertise, and unique vocal delivery combined to create a unique sound that tells the listener emphatically that it is the ‘Dread at the Controls’.”

.

 

 

.

 

 

A&A forum banner

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

Almanac – March 13

1911 – L. Ron Hubbard born. American pulp fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology.

After establishing a career as a writer, becoming best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, he developed a self-help system called Dianetics which was first published in May 1950.

He subsequently developed his ideas into a wide-ranging set of doctrines and rituals as part of a new religious movement that he called Scientology.

.

.

1998 – Judge Dread died. English reggae and ska musician. He was the first white recording artist to have a reggae hit in Jamaica, and the BBC has banned more of his songs than any other recording artist due to his frequent use of sexual innuendo and double entendres.

After a brief spell as a professional wrestler (performing under the name “The Masked Executioner”), and as a debt collector for Trojan Records, he worked as a DJ on local radio and ran his own sound system.

When Prince Buster had a big underground hit in 1969 with “Big 5”,  Dread capitalized on it with the recording of his own “Big Six”, based on Verne & Son‘s “Little Boy Blue“, which was picked up by Trojan boss Lee Gopthal, and released on Trojan’s ‘Big Shot’ record label under the  name Judge Dread, the name taken from another of Prince Buster’s songs.

“Big Six” reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart in 1972, selling over 300,000 copies and spending six months on the chart, despite getting no radio airplay due to its lyrics.

Further hit singles followed with “Big Seven” (co-written by Rupie Edwards) and “Big Eight” — both following the pattern of lewd versions of nursery rhymes over a reggae backing.

Dread had 11 UK chart hits in the 1970s, which was more than any other reggae artist (including Bob Marley). The Guinness Book of World Records credits Judge Dread for having the highest number of banned songs of all time, 11.

He died from a heart attack as he walked off stage after performing at The Penny Theatre in Canterbury.

.

.

A&A forum banner

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

Almanac – February 25

1993 – Eddie Constantine died.  American  actor and singer who spent his career working in Europe.

He became well known for a series of French B movies in which he played secret agent Lemmy Caution and is now best remembered for his role in Jean-Luc Godard‘s philosophical science fiction film Alphaville (1965).

Constantine also appeared in films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (as himself in Beware of a Holy Whore 1971), Lars von Trier, and Mika Kaurismäki. He continued reprising the role of Lemmy Caution well into his 70s; his final appearance as the character was in Jean-Luc Godard’s Allemagne 90 neuf zéro (1991).

.

.

A&A forum banner

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac