And now it’s time for another round of Music In Books Not About Music! In case you’re curious, previous entries have included Welcome to the Monkey House, All Creatures Great and Small, I Am Legend, Good Omens, and A Fine and Private Place. And now for an author near and dear to my heart…
If you ever want to see me REALLY ANGRY, all you have to do is mention the movie version of Starship Troopers. I love that book with such a fervor that I am constantly having to replace my copy, as I can’t shake the habit of forcing people to borrow it. Even knowing the return rate on books tends to be poor, I want to spread the love.
But that movie. UGH. THAT MOVIE. I refuse to dignify the director by looking up his name, but he clearly didn’t even read the thing. Never mind the deletion of the mobile suits – how could they take out the classes in History and Moral Philosophy?! It isn’t Starship Troopers without the classes in History and Moral Philosophy!!!! And Johnny Rico is Filipino and Dizzy Flores is a GUY who dies at the end of the first chapter and NONE of the aliens can fly OR suck out your brains and –
Thanks! I needed that. Now where were we? Right, Heinlein. I love Heinlein. I love Starship Troopers, I love The Door Into Summer, I am confused by I Will Fear No Evil but love it just the same. And I really love The Star Beast, ostensibly written for children but exhibiting some of the most sophisticated and clever examples of diplomacy I have ever read in a novel. So, having taken great pleasure in his children’s literature, I picked up another: Have Spacesuit – Will Travel.
And saw this:
The aliens speak in song!
Well, not ALL the aliens; there are several kinds in the book. But the main alien, the protagonist alien if you will, communicates entirely in song, although it is overlaid with something akin to telepathy that allows the listener to understand even if they don’t speak the song-language.
Heinlein stops adding bars of music every time the Mother Things speaks after a chapter or so – gotta save those trees – but every once and awhile it does pop up again, making my want to prop open the book against a piano and figure out what she’s saying, exactly. The whole thing is just begging to be turned into the world’s most avant-garde opera. C’mon, composers of the world, make it happen!
So yeah, that’s my beloved Robert Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit – Will Travel. Until next time I ferret out music where I don’t expect it! (Have any suggestions in that area? Pass them along.)