Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gareth Owens' "A New Note For Nat" (flash fiction, generation gap, free): What if adults couldn't hear kids' music?

This is a story that could have done Henry Kuttner proud - similar in spirit to some of his stories, & very well told. I'm surprised it didn't make it to this year's Hugo/Nebula lists, nor to any of the major "best of" anthologies.

Story summary.

We know human ear changes with age - we begin becoming deaf to certain tones. Assume there are tones only under-18s can hear, but not those over the threshold.

A shopkeeper uses a buzzer that gives out irritating static in this band to discourage youngsters from hanging out in his shop - something that puts off paying customers!

Kids take cue. Nat founds "Invisible Ear", a music band that can only be heard by kids!!! Soon you have videos, games, ... - with kids-only audio! It's a rage.

But age catches up with Nat. Near his 18th birthday, he himself cannot hear his work! Is forced to leave band he founded. Is inconsolable. Until his manager, the narrator, comes up with the trump card: his biggest fans - those who have been with him from start - are also growing up, & are complaining that their records are "fading"! New opportunities. Welcome to the world of grown ups...

Fact sheet.

First published: Nature magazine, 30 August 2007.
Download full text from The Science Fact & Science Fiction Concatenation.
Rating: A
Added to my best of the year 2007 list.


Gareth Owens said...

Thanks for the kind words.

Very pleasant to get some reaction. My stuff has mostly appeared in magazines that are Science first (Nature - Odyssey - Nature Physics) People read them for the science, and the fiction is an optional extra.

As a writer of short fiction it tends to be easier to get feedback on the stories you don't sell (from friends, writing group etc.) Once a story is "out there" very rare that you ever hear a word about it.

So thanks for that and all the best