Weigel’s 2012 Slate series, “Prog Spring,” proudly bore the motto, “the brief rise and inevitable fall of the world’s most hated pop music.” In The Show That Never Ends, his dynamic history of progressive rock, he explains what that means. A hard-core prog fan, he draws on his exhaustive knowledge of the genre to trace its growth in the psychedelic ‘60s, track its greatest hits, profile its performers from King Crimson to ELO to Yes, and explain just what made it “progressive.” Now a Washington Post national reporter, Weigel also looks at why so many hated this music, but also tells us why not even the satirical treatment of This Is Spinal Tap could do away with it.
Strange Stars charts the history of 1970s rock as the intersection of pop music and science fiction. A Hugo Award-winning writer and editor, Heller starts with Bowie’s 1969 “Space Oddity,” inspired by Arthur Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and traces the influence of sci-fi writers including Isaac Asimov, J.G. Ballard, Phillip K. Dick, and Ursula K. Le Guin on musicians ranging from Jimi Hendrix—who got his “purplish haze” from a pulp novel—to Parliament, Devo, Hawkwind, and Kraftwerk. This cosmic geek genre reached a glorious peak in 1977, which saw the release of Star Wars, Alan Parsons Project’s Robot, and Styx’s Grand Illusion.