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PostHeaderIconBlinded by the Light

Song number: 
Song Artist: 
Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Roaring Silence
Act X: Pre-Imperial Terra

The line is “revved up like a deuce,” and it is a clear reference to the famous “little deuce coupe.”

I don’t know why people hate this song so much. Not only is it full of enough evocative names and images to inspire a whole shelf of books, but Manfred Mann’s orchestrated version is so superior, dramatically and in every other way, to Springsteen’s sleepy, mumbled variation.

This song, more than any other, influenced Dance for the Ivory Madonna. In fact, this song informs just about every chapter of the book.

In particular, in the entire song I see the framework of the Terrad meta-program: that moment when Penylle and Damien brought all of cyberspace to a halt and changed the course of worlds ("With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin’ kinda older, I tripped the merry-go-round; with this very unpleasin’ sneezin’ and wheezin’ the calliope crashed to the ground.”)

You’ll find much more of the song, though, in the book.

There are the Nexus codenames: Silicon Sister, Go-Kart Mozart, Lil’ Hurly-Burly. There are capsule characterizations: Marc Hoister is “some brimstone-baritone, anti-cyclone Rolling Stone preacher from the East” and Penylle is “some silicon(e) sister with her manager mister.”

While I didn’t deliberately try to match events of the book to images from the song, there are echoes all over the place. I’m sure that the police helicopter in Kampala bears some relationship to the line “Little Hurly-Burly came by in his curly-whirly and asked me if I needed a ride.” Likewise, “Indians in the summer” relates to the Navajo homeland and the Dekoa flu outbreak.

Besides all this, the surreal images of the song certainly got me thinking about the different ways that the AIs thought and communicated.

This was another song that I played constantly over and over while I was writing the last chapters of the book.

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