Saturday, August 2, 2014

Moogs, Tinfoil And Velour.

I'm listening to the 1973 BBC radio adaptation of Asimov's Foundation series on my daily commute. It's wonderful, a great radio play that is a lot of fun.

But in some ways it's so dated, and I wonder whether it was dated even then. Every device that is operated, every machine that is switched on, is portrayed by noisy synthesisers. Did the producers really think everything would make noise in the future?

A girl wears a chain around her waist, and with a flick of a switch she is cloaked in a nebulous, shifting cloak of light, and accompanied by a high pitched whine. Meanwhile, another character walks into a room with a portable force shield protecting him, and that is completely silent.

I know in a radio play you need sounds to convey actions that can't be seen. And I know synthesisers had only been commonly used for a few years at that time. It reminds me of all those 70s TV shows I love, the ones where people obviously thought that in the future we would all be wearing clothes made of velour and tinfoil.

They're nostalgic. They're a throwback to the age of SF I first started reading, the type of SF that made me fall in love with the genre. And I really enjoy them.

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