It’s ironic that the two most brutish men I’ve ever created should both be associated with tinkly piano music.
When writing a novel, I obsessively listen to the same music every day until the book is finished (or I’ve gone nuts.) The Bladerunner soundtrack is forever associated in my mind with my novel TRANSFERENCE and two Einaudi tracks Oltremare and L’Origine Nascosta from Divenire are the theme for Vincent Gomenzi (the anti-hero in V.GOMENZI.
But it was another Fleet Quintet character that had his music appear in the prose itself. The hard ass Igen Dyce, whom we first met in FLESH FOR SALE has his character broadened considerably in V.GOMENZI. The piece of music (The Mystery of Love from the TV version of Dr Zhivago) is actually a favourite of his girlfriend’s. She’s a minor character whom we hardly ever meet, but is Igen Dyce’s primary motivation: when she sells herself to the Fleet, he dedicates his life to recovering her.
In the sealed silence of their luxury apartment, he became aware that he’d left a selection of music running but couldn’t draw himself away to turn it off. A piece came on, Michelle’s favourite, called something trite like “The Mystery of Love.”
It began unsuspectingly, a few quiet notes, but suddenly the orchestra swelled and the piano became more compelling. He had never heard the piece properly before, never noticed the tremendous crescendo, so perfect it was like glass breaking, the notes clear and translucent. And then suddenly it stopped, the melody changed. It was the same melody that danced through the collection, so light it took your breath away. It always made Michelle cry. The emotion of the piece was undeniable. Not only did it reach out for God, it found him. The brief piano melody, the cool sweep of a single violin behind it, penetrated Igen’s consciousness as he stood at the window, staring at nothing, as he realised that he was never going to see Michelle again.
V.GOMENZI (3RD in THE FLEET QUINTET): see here
Years later, well into my Exodus Sequence stories, another Einaudi track turned up in SUICIDED. A dirt fighter hears it moments before entering the gladiatorial-type pit. Rape (cut from Rapier) is possibly the most violent character I’ve ever created so the irony is even greater when you consider the gentleness of Einaudi’s music. The opening of Eros (from Nightbook) seems to start with birds twittering in the background. Hearing this music added another dimension to what should have been a mindless fighter: Rape is anything but mindless and has a revelation that goes beyond immortality.
The music was sawing inside his skull, the violins, the cello, some kind of drum. He was motionless, listening to every note, his arms at his sides, his expression fixed.
Lights from the arena flashed through a slit in the door, strobing and shattering, a blinding display. His eyes were fixed to the door. Cameras were fixed to the ceiling. Through the walls, the sound of his name pounded. Through his veins, the music raced. The rhythms grew more complex until he could hear pounding in their core the word death. Death, death, death. One two three. A three step. You could dance to it.
It was almost time. The gun was about to go off. Then the doors would smash open and his manager would be shouting the last words of encouragement and the noise of the crowds would press on him, a vast, terrible weight … but not yet. Not yet. Almost. He waited. Time seemed to have stopped. The violins were sawing to a frantic climax. It was supposed to be about sex. This was about death. Sex. Death. Interchangeable. Same outcome. Same climax. Same rush.
SUICIDED (from EXODUS SEQUENCE): see here
(You can also buy SUICIDED by itself: see here)
I recently read the most appallingly bad book, worsened by characters listening to Led Zep and David Bowie and other big star clichés whom the author no doubt picked because readers would have heard of them. Worse still, the death metal Goth-girl stereotype has Neil Diamond on her iPod. Seriously?
This is NOT what I mean about music in writing, but a description of the music itself insinuating into the prose.
Has anyone else had this happen to them?
Einaudi on YouTube: Divenire and Dr Zhivago and Nightbook