The Wrath of Achilles – Vanessa Cardui

“The Wrath of Achilles,” which weaves lines from The Iliad with Vanessa Cardui’s own interpretation of Achilles’ grief for Patroclus.

The song can be purchased on Bandcamp. Vanessa Cardui doesn’t have the lyrics up, but Google informs me that she takes the quoted parts from Fitzgerald’s translation.

Dawson’s Christian – Vixy & Tony

There are stories of the Dutchman, the Celeste and Barnham’s Pride
There are stories of the Horseman and the Lady at his side
But the tale that makes my blood run cold, the more because it’s true
Is the tale of Jayme Dawson and his crew
Yes, the tale of Dawson’s Christian and her crew

A newer recording of one of my favorite classic filk songs, “Dawson’s Christian,” a space opera ghost story, originally Duane Elms.

Autonomous – Marshall Burns


This song was written by Marshall Burns (and animated here by Sunny Adams) for the novel Autonomous by Annalee Newitz, and she wrote a really good post about the genre she’s calling “Canadian prairie futurism” and how it relates to traditional music.  I’m just gonna copypaste a chunk of it here because it’s such a good explanation of a huge part of the filk ethos:

Two summers ago, when I was finishing the first draft of my novel Autonomous, I watched Marshall play and thought about the future. Back then he was at Leopold’s Tavern, and I’d come to the crowded bar with a bunch of family after a long dinner full of conversations about politics and art. This is the sort of thing we might do more often if there were an apocalypse, I mused. We’d gather in some communal shelter, after a day of hunting and gathering in the trashed wastes. Then somebody from our family would start to sing. We’d raise our voices too, to take our minds off the famine and plague and wildfires.
But it’s also the exact kind of thing we’d do in a Utopian future. Imagine us surrounded by carbon-neutral farms whose plants are monitored by sensors and satellites. Our brains would be crackling with ideas, thanks to government-funded science education. After a productive day in the fields and the labs, we’d gather at the co-op watering hole and sing our brains out in agrarian socialist solidarity. We’d all sound great too, because we’d have optimized our vocal chords with open source biotissue mods.
Maybe it sounds a little strange to say that Marshall’s old-fashioned songs gave me these vivid, contradictory images of the future. But I see the future clearly in these anachronistic moments. If we can still hear traditional prairie music in a modern city bar, then it’s a kind of guarantee that people of the future will still be listening to us. As Marshall sang, I could imagine distorted bits of my own culture still alive in a world utterly transformed by time’s passage.

And besides all that, enjoy a song about sad robots!

Helva’s Song – Cecilia Eng

And the stars still dance the spiral dance
And the planets circle far
But the ship who sang will sing no more
Between the distant stars

“Helva’s Song,” by Cecilia Eng, performed by Cecilia Eng and Ernie Mansfield, based on “The Ship Who Sang,” a short story by Anne McCaffrey

Hold the Line – Terence Chua

Hold the line – don’t retreat and don’t surrender
Hold the line – though around you others fall
We will give our last full measure
May the fates all treat us kind
So hold the line, my boys, just hold the line

“Holy the Line,” by Terence Chua, a war song applicable to real life or to a dozen sci-fi and fantasy universes, as ones’ predilections direct.

Lyrics/Download