In the Consequence of Sound, Timothy presents us with an exotic phillipine island filled with music. Through narrating the experience of protagonist, Aria, learning to navigate herself with playing kubing, a flute-like instrument made with stone, the author unravels the correlation between music and movement of objects and the sky whale (clarias volantis).
In this romanticed world of music, Timothy successfully inflated the novelty of this fiction beyond merely an artifact. “O Muisix: You fly on your own wings.” Along with this poetic expression that appeared in the format of a literature citation, the fictional world is grounded into Pilipino penchant for music. Is it just a metaphor or the truth is this world? The ambiguity of the nature of the citation renders this work beautiful. In here, music becomes more a way of life than merely a media to displace.
The writing style of combining narratives with citations is rather fascinating. The citation themselves are like the world bible, unfolding the concept of history, literature, biology, geology…Sometime I almost want to believe that those descriptions from fictional authors are real and that the fiction is fantasy based on collective fantasies of the public.
The use of language also reveals the author’s thoughtful world-building. Apart from the Pilipino(I frankly do not understand), the use of latin name impressed me the most. The skywhale, claris volatis, means catfish in the sky. The gravidium ore means the stone of gravity. The fact that these Latin nonmenclatures adhere to nowadays’ naming practice renders the world more convincing.
Who would not want a magic flute that makes things fly?
A little bit troubling for me is that this novel resembles a lot just a myth instead of science fiction. Eventhough the translation between movement and music note arrangement correspond with common sense, just like the ascension makes an object goes higher while decension makes it goes lower, there is not much science invloved. The mechanism of kubing described here is as simple as using a supernaturla chemical element to connect music with gravity. However, on the bright side, it presents to be a black box for me to solve. Ways of enbling this translation are discussed as followed.
1) The flute has a built-in decoder, which translate the combination of note into signals that can be further programed. Then the output can be manipulated to control severla electromagnet to enable the movement of objects.
2) Similar to the first one, the kubing is still a remote controler, while it is wind power that moves objects.
3) It will be more interesting to use the kubing as ultrasonic emitter that directly works on various size of object that is respectively reactive to certain frequency of music.