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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Rock School: The Sound of Science Fiction

 This weeks Rock School is brought to you by PRX...

The Sound of Science Fiction



For as long as we’ve wondered about alien worlds, we’ve wondered also: what might they sound like? In this hour of Stylus, we listen to eerie and otherworldly sounds, from the dissonant score of The Twilight Zone to the stranger-than-fiction story of Leon Theremin, a Russian spy turned accidental sci-fi pioneer. We hear stories of close encounters with alternate worlds, including the tale of a UFO sighting in rural Newfoundland and the myth of Sun Ra, a jazz musician whose extraterrestrial identity and reality-defying music became a political force.

"The Sound of Science Fiction" includes the voices of:

Gregory Whitehead, radio maker.

Keith Phipps, editor and founder of The Dissolve.

Joanna Demers, professor of musicology at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Ytasha Womack, filmmaker and author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture.

Hank Shocklee, producer, media theorist, and founding member of Public Enemy.

Craig Harris, composer, trombonist, and member of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

John Szwed, director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University and author of Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra.

Ellen Kranzer, co-founder of MASSFILC.

Sally Childs-Helton, percussionist and ethnomusicologist at Butler University.

Matthew Ebel, musician.

Douglas Brode, professor of philosophy and classics at University of Texas San Antonio and co-author of Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone: The 50th Anniversary Tribute. 

Gabriel McKee, author of The Gospel According to Science Fiction: From the Twilight Zone to the Final Frontier.

April McLucas, movie expert at Videoport in Portland, Maine.

This hour was produced by Anna Cataldo, Zack Ezor, Conor Gillies, Qainat Khan, and Annie McEwen. It includes exclusive archival audio of Sun Ra courtesy of writer Mark Sinker. Our reading of “The Preserving Machine” was scored by Blevin Blectum. Thanks to Katherine Gorman and Erika Lantz for helping to edit the hour.

Our engineers are Mike Garth, Marquis Neal, James Trout, and Paul Vaitkus. Our intro music is by Ryoji Ikeda and our outro music is by Laurel Halo. Artwork by Robert Beatty.

Our executive producers are Conor Gillies and Zack Ezor and our supervising editor is Lisa Tobin. Presented by Qainat Khan. 

Stylus is on Twitter and iTunes 


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