5 Fandom Friday: Five Fictional Songs That We’ll Never Hear

As part of their world-building, many fiction authors, especially writers of fantasy and science fiction, pen songs that are sung by their characters. These can proclaim the great feats of heroes or simply be pub songs filled with nonsense. Fortunately, the lyrics to these pieces are written down for many a fan to set to music and create their own renditions.

But what about songs that have no lyrics? Some songs are so beyond words that the author might describe them for the reader, but because the moment is so bizarre or sublime, they could never be truly recreated.

We’d like to dedicate this Five Fandom Friday to Five Fictional Songs That We’ll Never Hear.

#5 – The Song of the Quarkbeast

The Last Dragonslayer Series by Jasper Fforde

Lily: Jennifer Strange is the main character in The Last Dragonslayer books, and she has an unusual pet, even for this universe. Well, “pet” might not be the correct term, because she couldn’t get rid of her Quarkbeast even if she wanted to. A Quarkbeast is a quantum type of being often described as: “One-tenth Labrador, six-tenths Velociraptor, and three-tenths kitchen food blender.” When two opposite Quarkbeasts meet, they start to sing their mating song. Oh, and when they touch, there is an explosion of enormous force.

If you were to hear the song of the Quarkbeast, it would likely be the last thing you ever heard:

“Others who have heard it are now little more than dust. But if I was about to die, then I was glad to have heard the song. It was lonely — one of lament, of unknown knowledge. A song of resignation, of poetry given and received. The small movements that the Quarkbeasts made as they padded around each other altered the hum so subtly that it sounded like an alto bassoon, but with one single note, infinitely variable.

“But it wasn’t a song of peace, love, or happiness. It was a requiem — for all of us.” (Chapter 24: Risk of Confluence, The Song of the Quarkbeast)

#4 – The Songs from the Alien Planet Rakhat

The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell

Maria: In Russell’s novel, the SETI program at Arecibo Observatory discovers radio broadcasts of music from an alien planet in a distant galaxy in 2019. This mesmerizing music then triggers events that lead to a group of humans travel to the planet Rakhat and the first human-alien contact.

Earlier this year, I finished this novel and it may or may not have entered my top 10 novels of all time. I’m not sure if I reeeally want to hear the music of the alien race Jana’ata knowing the full story (hooo boy hoo boy), but the very idea of hearing music from an alien race is too tempting. Maybe, during my lifetime this might come true… who knows.

#3 – Song of the Dragons

Dragon Age

Lily: When the darkspawn find an Old God and corrupt it, transforming it into an Archdemon, it leads them in an attack on the surface world. The darkspawn mostly dwell underground when they are not raiding Thedas, always searching for other Old Gods. They are drawn to their location by the song of the dragons.

Unlike the rest of our list, you would think that a video game would provide an opportunity for a player to hear this song, but at best, we only catch distorted fragments. These can be heard in the form of nightmares that grow more frequent as a Warden is tainted by the darkspawn blood they consumed at The Joining, their initiation ritual.

The Grey Wardens are not be envied, because when the song reaches its crescendo, they must participate in a ritual known as The Calling in which they descend underground to kill as many darkspawn as possible before being slain in battle. If not, they are ultimately doomed to join the ranks of the foes they fought so long and so hard against.

There was a stir within his blood
And the dreams lay thick upon him.
A call did beat within his heart.
One road was left before him.

(Codex entry: Shred of Blue)

#2 – The Song of Earth from the Campaign to Save the Humans

So Long, and THanks for All The Fish by douglas Adams

Lily: In the 2005 film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the dolphins of earth sing “So Long and Thanks for All The Fish” before they bid the humans farewell prior to Earth’s demolition. The book So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish, however, describes a gift-wrapped fishbowl that turns up at Arthur Dent’s house with those famous words engraved on its beautiful silver-gray glass. When he is finally clued in by Wonko the Sane to hold it up to his ear, he hears a beautiful song of the Earth’s destruction and its ultimate restoration. And it goes a little something like this:

“The deep roar of the ocean.

The break of waves on farther shores that thought can find.

The silent thunders of the deep.

And from among it, voices calling, and yet not voices, humming trillings, wordlings, and half-articulated songs of thought.

Greetings, waves of greetings, sliding back down into the inarticulate, words breaking together.

A crash of sorrow on the shores of Earth.

Waves of joy on–where? A world indescribably found, indescribably arrived at, indescribably wet, a song of water.

A fugue of voices now, clamoring explanations, of a disaster unavertable, a world to be destroyed, a surge of helplessness, a spasm of despair, a dying fall, again the break of words.

And then the fling of hope, the finding of a shadow Earth in the implications of enfolded time, submerged dimensions, the pull of parallels, the deep pull, the spin of will, the hurl and split of it, the fight. A new Earth pulled into replacement, the dolphins gone.

Then stunningly a single voice, quite clear.

‘This bowl was brought to you by the Campaign to Save the Humans. We bid you farewell.'” (Chapter 31, So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish)

 

#1 – The Music of the Ainur

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. TOlkien

Lily: The Ainur are the first beings created by Ilúvatar (aka Eru), and they originally sang for him in solos or small groups. Eventually, Ilúvatar brought them all together, gave them a theme, and compelled them to sing Great Music in harmony together to create the world.

“Then the voices of the Ainur, like unto harps and lutes, and pipes and trumpets, and viols and organs, and like unto countless choirs singing with words, began to fashion the theme of Ilúvatar to a great music; and a sound arose of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony that passed beyond hearing into the depths and into the heights, and the places of the dwelling of Ilúvatar were filled to overflowing, and the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void.” (The Music of the Ainur, Ainulindalë, The Silmarillion)

Of course, Melkor just had to go off-key, creating discord and dissonance, bringing turbulence and violence and war. So, it might not exactly be your kind of jam.

 

Can you think of any other songs from fiction that would be impossible for us to actually listen to? Please share them in the comments below!

You can check out all of our past 5 Fandom Friday posts here, and we’d love to know if you have any suggestions for future topics!

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November Favorites

After watching many YouTube videos, we decided it would be nice to celebrate the past month sharing our favorite things as well. So here we are with our favorite things from November!

Alice’s Favorites

Tea. My friend (and fellow Travelling Geek) Maria sent me my favorite kind of tea, the English Breakfast, as a birthday present and I enjoyed it so much during my long afternoons spent researching for my thesis.

Narrowing down the number of apps I use. I love apps and I love planning, so I ended up collecting a considerable number of productivity apps on my phone lately. I love to geek out about them in a couple of Facebook groups and I always read geeky posts on how people stay organized, but I had to declutter my phone. I decided to keep just the ones I actually used on a regular basis and it feels so good!

Nonfiction November. Maria and I both joined the reading challenge called #NonfictionNovember and hosted by two booktubers: Olive of ABookOlive and Gemma of Non Fic Books. This year the theme where Home, Love, Substance, and Scholarship, and even if I didn’t manage to read a book for each category, I’ve been very happy with my readings. I will definitely do it again next year since I love reading non-fiction books!

Birthday presents. I wrote a whole blog post about it here. This year I’ve been spoiled with so many beautiful books!

Stranger Things. I’m not a fan of Horror and scary movies at all, but everybody online recommended me to watch Stranger Things so I decided to give it a try and OMG! I loved the show! I didn’t watch it last year, so I had 2 whole seasons to binge-watch and now I can’t wait to see the third one. I was so impressed by myself because I don’t usually get so excited about TV shows these days, but this one was so incredibly good that I couldn’t stop watching.

Lily’s Favorites

My first set of dice. I have played Dungeons and Dragons a few times, but since I was usually just tagging along with a roommate, boyfriend, or husband, I always borrowed someone else’s dice to play with. I’ve joined a new group at my local comic book shop, so it was about time I got some for my very own! The two D20s are a zinc alloy with yellow finish from Ultra Pro’s Heavy Metal series and the 7-die set is the Lustrous Shadow with gold design from Chessex. I love them!

Piglet mug. Piglet is one of my favorite Disney characters, but he doesn’t seem to be as popular as some of the other Winnie the Pooh cast. If he does appear on merchandise, it’s likely with Pooh or the rest of the ensemble. That’s why I snatched this up mug as soon as I saw it!

Norse Mythology audiobook read and written by Neil Gaiman. I realized that I had several books on my Amazon wishlist that were also available in audiobook form, and you know how much I like audiobooks. Like other Neil Gaiman books, he narrates this himself, so I knew I had to check it out. Plus, it’s great to feel like I’m joining in the oral tradition of the Norse tales.

 

 

 

 

How was your November? What are your favorite things of the month?

Reading Habits Tag

It is no secret that, over here on Travelling Geek Show, we love books and tag posts. So when I stumbled upon this ‘Reading Habits Tag’, we couldn’t resist. I stumbled upon this very old tag somewhere in the depths of Youtube and was surprised at how much I enjoyed watching people talk about their reading habits. If you’re curious about our reading habits, then keep reading!

Reading Habits Tag

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
Alice: I love to read in bed, but also at my desk. I have a very comfortable IKEA chair that’s perfect to stay there for a long time.

Maria: It’s either my bed or my reading nook. I tend to read in the evenings, shorty before going to bed so most times I end up reading in bed. However, throughout 2017, I’ve lowly, but surely create a reading nook for myself. Well, actually it is a Tolkien reading nook.

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Maria’s reading nook

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Alice: I prefer using bookmarks, but only if I’m reading for pleasure. I’m not sure why, but when I read books for University, I tend to sticky page flags rather than actual bookmarks.

Maria: I used to be a ‘random piece of paper’ – kinda gal, but over the years I’ve accumulated some beautiful bookmarks which I’m now using. Personally, I prefer bookmarks with elastics that keep the bookmark in place no matter how much the book gets thrown around

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?
Alice: I usually tend to stop reading at the end of a chapter because it makes it easier to remember where I left for me.

Maria: Usually, I tend to stop reading after a chapter. Unless I’m very tired and that chapter is very long! In that case, I’ll just stop reading anywhere.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?
Alice: Nope.

Maria: Most of the time, yes I eat or drink while reading. Reading is a relaxing hobby to me so a good cup of tea alongside some biscuits is a must!

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
Alice: Nope again. I hate listening to music or TV in the background. I don’t mind noises, but only if I can’t hear words, otherwise I would be completely distracted.

Maria: That depends. I can’t watch TV anymore while reading, but I can listen to a certain type of music while reading. In general, I can listen to any genre of music as long as there are no lyrics and singing involved. Having song in the background where a person sings is too distracting or me.

6. One book at a time or several at once?
Alice: I would always choose one book at a time, but sometimes I find myself reading more because I prefer carrying the Kindle in my bag during my commute rather than a bulkier physical book. However, I know for sure that I’m going to read one book at a time during the Holidays since I’ll be at home.

Maria: I wish I could say that I read only one book at a time, but I tend to read two or three at once. At the moment I’m reading China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station and are listening to Bram Stoker’s Dracula on audiobook on Youtube.

1c5e533d6b4b8ee21454e4e5999c92c9--bram-stokers-dracula-notebooks

7. Reading at home or everywhere?
Alice: While I prefer reading at home, I also do it during my commute and everywhere I have the chance.

Maria: Mostly at home since I get too distracted outside. However, whenever I read outside, then it is either in a park or in a café.

8. Reading out lout or silently in your head?
Alice: Silently, hands down.

Maria: Reading silently. Reading out loud takes too much time and is too exhausting for my voice.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
Alice: I don’t like skipping pages, to be honest, I don’t see why I should do it.I don’t like skipping pages, to be honest, I don’t see why I should do it.

Maria: No, I don’t read ahead, nor am I skipping pages. When I want to know what is happening later on or want to know how a cliff-hanger is resolved, I simply check Wikipedia.

Alice_Reads

Alice reads

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
Alice: I’m pretty proud of myself for taking so much care of my books. I love to keep them like new and I never enjoyed when my mom read my books because she always broke the spines, ugh. That’s probably the inner librarian in me.

Maria: I love breaking the spines and I’m not ashamed of it. If I’m about to disappear today, my books with broken spines will be a testament to what I loved. People can pick any random book of my shelf and tell which book I’ve read and how often. Which brings me to the next question…

11. Do you write in your books?
Alice: Only if they are books for school. One of the reasons why I love my Kindle is that I can highlight stuff without damaging my books.

Maria: Yes, I write in my paperbacks. Now, hardbacks, especially collector’s editions are somewhat tricky, but I love to highlight passages in books (with actual highlighters). I also love to annotate my books while reading them for the same reason I love breaking the spines of paperbacks: I want to engage with books to the extend that they become an extension of myself. So in decades to come, when I’m an old granny, my children or grandchildren can pick up my books and get an insight into the person I was.

12. Who do you tag?
Maria: I know I do this all the time, but I tag anyone who wants to do it. Whether you just want to answer one particular question or do the entire tag, go ahead. Either leave as a comment with your answers or leave a link to a post of yours with this tag!

Alice’s Bookish Birthday Haul

Last month, I celebrated my birthday (it was the day of cool numbers because I turned 27 on the 27th of October…I basically waited my whole life for that moment, haha!) and I was lucky enough to get an online bookstore gift card. I received other amazing gifts as well (for example, my fellow travelling geeks Lily and Maria sent me beautiful stickers for my planner and some tasty English Breakfast tea!), but I’m so excited about that because it never happens. Everybody knows how much I love books, but they never gift them to me.

Living away from libraries and being a broke student is tough, it means I can’t afford all the books I’d like to read. Thankfully I have my trusted Kindle, so that’s where I do most of my readings these days.

My parents (and a close friend) broke the “rules” this year too and actually gave me the last two books of The Hobbit Chronicles! I still have to read the last one, but I highly recommend them to all the Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s fans out there. Fun fact: the last book (the one with Azog on the cover) hasn’t been translated in Italian and probably never will, so I had to get it in English. No big deal, but I hate when publishers don’t complete a series!

With the gift card, I decided to buy Beren and Luthien illustrated by Alan Lee. This book is gorgeous and I recommend it if you’ve read and enjoyed The Silmarillion. I hope to be able to actually read it during the Holidays.

Then I picked up a couple of books by Agatha Christie. Murder on the Orient Express because the movie has just been released here in Italy (I hope to finish it time!) and Death on the Nile. My studies are mostly in the Ancient Near East field and I always liked that Agatha Christie married a famous archaeologist, Max Mallowan, and travelled across Mesopotamia visiting the ancient cities I studied and loved. It’s amazing that two things I love so much (crime fiction and Ancient Near East) are connected together!

Last, but not least. I purchased Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling. I decided to get in my mother tongue tough (Italian) because my mom doesn’t speak English but she loves Harry Potter and everything JK Rowling does as much as I do.

 

 

That’s it! I still can’t believe how much I’ve been spoiled this year and I couldn’t be more grateful!

 

P.s. If you’d like to follow my bookish adventures, you can find me on Instagram as @alicethelibrarian 🙂

5 Fandom Friday: Five Times the Hero Wore Black

“Evil wears black” is a trope seemingly as old as storytelling itself, and we’ve been conditioned since childhood to recognize it. Sometimes, it’s an easy way for a moviemaker to give the audience clues as to a person’s villainous intentions, but we think it’s far more interesting when a film flips this kind of preconceived notion and dresses the protagonist in black.

Our topic for this week’s Five Fandom Friday is Five Times the Hero Wore Black, and we’re happy to share some of our favorite good guys who just happened to ditch the shining armour.

#5 – Maleficent

Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent is one of those characters whose wardrobe helped define her as absolutely evil, and that’s what makes her inclusion on this list a necessary one. In the recent retelling of her story, we get to see her side of things, and it turns out that not all was as it appeared in the classic Disney animated film Sleeping Beauty,

#4 – Batman

Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)

Batman’s role as a vigilante compels him to hide his identity, and there’s no better way to slink into the shadows than by dressing in black. In his case, it’s also a reflection of the tortured soul within. The actor Kevin Conroy explained at a panel I attended at Wizard World Austin how he performed the voice: “I was able to just use my imagination, and transport myself to this dark, broody, painful place, which is where I thought the character’s inner life resides, because of what happened to him as a child.”

#3 – Luke Skywalker

Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi (1983)

Luke’s costume in the first Star Wars film was largely white, but rather than being a young hero who defeats the evil character in black, he sees his mentor struck down. In The Empire Strikes Back, he fights the same villain and loses a hand. By the time of the third film, The Return of the Jedi, Luke has been through a lot, and the iconic lightsaber duel between him and Darth Vader sets the stage differently than your standard good versus evil showdown. Luke is tempted by the dark side of the Force, but he not only manages to defeat his foe, he redeems his father. And all while wearing black.

#2 – Harry Potter

Harry Potter films (2001-2011)

I guess when it comes to expecting black to be a portent for evil, we’re all just a bunch of muggles. At Hogwarts, and in the wider Wizarding World, black robes are standard (sometimes mandatory) fare, and it never kept Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, or any of the other wizards and witches from heroic feats. Watch out for anyone bearing the Dark Mark, though…

#1 – Westley

The Princess Bride (1987)

Westley is on the top of this list because I, Lily Milos, am making this list, and he was my absolute first movie crush and I shall always love him. But I can say with some certainty that when “The Man in Black” was first introduced in The Princess Bride, I thought he was yet another bad guy in a mask. He was eventually revealed to be our dashing hero, and it turns out that masks are just “terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.”

 

We originally had a hard time thinking of examples of films and heroes for this prompt of ours, but once we got going, we had to refine our list to only our top five! Now it’s your chance to weigh in: what black-clad heroes can you come up with?

You can check out all of our past 5 Fandom Friday posts here, and we’d love to know if you have any suggestions for future topics!