10Sep

Third Stone From The Sun

Jimi Hendrix was a fan of Science Fiction books:

Philip Jose Farmer’s Night of Light had a big influence on Hendrix. “Night of Light was a science fiction book that in 1966 inspired Jimi to eventually write ‘Purple Haze.’ Farmer’s story had to do with sunspots having a disorienting effect on a distant planet’s population. Jimi wrote pages and pages of lyrics for ‘Purple Haze,’ originally an epic tale of the history of warfare for the control of the planet Neptune,” he explained.

He added: “Producer Kim Fowley told us that when he met Jimi early in 1967 in the UK, Jimi had a trunk of books, all science fiction.”

Schreiber continued: “Jimi had been obsessed with science fiction as a boy in Seattle. He always went to see the actor Buster Crabbe in the serial Flash Gordon that played at the local theater. In fact, his nickname during youth was ‘Buster.’ Once, he literally jumped off the roof of his home, so taken was he with Flash’s ability to fly … One only need to pick up father Al Hendrix’s book, My Son Jimi, to see how much the boy Jimi drew and was obsessed by not only images of war and race cars but amazing planetscapes.”

In a way, it probably comes as no surprise, given some of the mad stuff Hendrix wrote and smoked, but it’s still cool to have high-profile stars being fans of genre. It’s the sort of thing that helps with perception. You know, if Celebrity X likes Science Fiction, it’s okay for man/woman/other-on-the-street to like Science Fiction. It’s cool.

Unless Celebrity X happens to be some bat-shit crazy douche-bag, or worse, someone like Gary Glitter. That just ain’t cool.

Are there any famous celebrities in the modern era who are fans of the genre?

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

6 comments

  1. I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head, so I had to Google it…

    The best I’ve been able to find is that Mel Gibson is apparently a fan of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Bill Nye recommends Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.

    There were a couple of others, like Billy Joel goes for Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, which is certainly, to my eyes anyway, SFnal, but I rather suspect that it would be become “not a pickle.” Similarly Angelina Jolie’s championing Dracula seems to suggest a tilt towards genre fiction (if horror, rather than SF/F, but I’d imagine that, once again, the fact that it is firmly ensconced in the literary canon would allow anyone to side-step the accusation of reading genre fiction).

    And Hayley Joel Osmet apparently digs Michael Chrichton. Bless.

    Well…wish I could do better than this! I hope someone else has better knowledge of this than me!

    Incidentally, I can’t think I’ve ever read any Phillip Jose Farmer…am I missing out?

  2. I know Gibson’s been trying to get a film adaptation of that book for a couple of years now.

    It’s not a surprise that there’s a lot of SF/F in music – I’ve got a playlist going on my computer that’s around 670 songs with a lot of references to various stories.

  3. Richard – thanks for the Google effort. Some surprising results there. There’s a lot that seem to have mainstream acceptance (Dracula especially), but nothing quite as hardcore genre as Hendrix.

    Back to other musicians, I’m missing the whole Led Zeppelin and The Lord of the Rings connection! I suspect there was a big crossover between the counter-cultural movements back then, and genre, as Andrew points out.

  4. If you know your rock / drum’n’bass crossover (and who, frankly, doesn’t) you’ll know that Pendulum are sci-fi types. It’s more of a broad cultural influence than a specific literary one, perhaps, but it’s absolutely there.

  5. A little factoid… as you go up the escalator in the Earth Galleries at the Natural History Museum the music is a re-working of Hendrix’s Third Rock From The Sun!

    Also, if you listen to some of Led Zep’s lyrics, it is clear that they hadn’t actually read Lord of the Rings (ref. Ramble On “T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
    But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her…”) Total bollocks!!!

    There is also a strong link between Michael Moorcock and Hawkwind