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Thomas Dolby is a five-time Grammy nominee, whose ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ reached number 5 on the US Billboard charts in 1982, appeared in Breaking Bad, and was even covered by The Muppets... Based on his meticulous notes and journals, The Speed of Sound chronicles Dolby’s life in the music business during the eighties; in Silicon Valley through the nineties, and at the forefront of the mobile phone revolution around the turn of the millennium – it was Dolby who created the synthesizer installed today on most mobile phones. With humour and a considerable panache for storytelling, The Speed of Sound is a revealing look behind the curtain of the music industry, as well as a unique history of technology over the past thirty years. From sipping Chablis with Bill Gates to visiting Michael Jackson at his mansion or viewing the Web for the first time on Netscape founder Jim Clark’s laptop, this is both the view from the ultimate insider and also that of a technology pioneer whose groundbreaking ideas have helped shape the way we live today.
A Hugo Award-winning author and music journalist explores the weird and wild story of when rock ’n’ roll met the sci-fi world of the 1970s As the 1960s drew to a close, and mankind trained its telescopes on other worlds, old conventions gave way to a new kind of hedonistic freedom that celebrated sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Derided as nerdy or dismissed as fluff, science fiction rarely gets credit for its catalyzing effect on this revolution. In Strange Stars, Jason Heller recasts sci-fi and pop music as parallel cultural forces that depended on one another to expand the horizons of books, music, and out-of-this-world imagery. In doing so, he presents a whole generation of revered musicians as the sci-fi-obsessed conjurers they really were: from Sun Ra lecturing on the black man in the cosmos, to Pink Floyd jamming live over the broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing; from a wave of Star Wars disco chart toppers and synthesiser-wielding post-punks, to Jimi Hendrix distilling the “purplish haze” he discovered in a pulp novel into psychedelic song. Of course, the whole scene was led by David Bowie, who hid in the balcony of a movie theater to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, and came out a changed man… If today’s culture of Comic Con fanatics, superhero blockbusters, and classic sci-fi reboots has us thinking that the nerds have won at last, Strange Stars brings to life an era of unparalleled and unearthly creativity—in magazines, novels, films, records, and concerts—to point out that the nerds have been winning all along.
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