Science-Fiction Music for Crushing Work and Feeling Epic

If you like science fiction and work a desk job or study long hours, you should check out my epic Spotify playlist below. I thought I'd include a bit of background on it because I think music and science fiction pare particularly good at inspiring and empowering people.

Yes, it's weird to write about a playlist, but this particular one has been in development for over ten years. It's become a little part of my life that I'm unusually fond of. In high school, I would study to the soundtracks from the Halo games. The tribal-drum and synth-laden tracks made me feel like a beast of a human spliced with mechanical and electronic enhancements. The feeling of empowerment carried over well to calculus sessions.

When Mass Effect was released in 2007, I fell absolutely in love with the music. You boot the game and a track titled Vigil begins to play, creating a sense of loneliness and loss perfect for a game about space exploration and change. Then the title song plays during the opening cut-scene and you can't help but feel like you're about to embark on something big.

When you're immersed in the minutiae necessary to master new knowledge or when you're focused on the smallest detail of some immense project, it's easy to lose a sense of the scope of why you're working in the first place. I liked that the game soundtracks made me feel empowered and restored that lost sense of scope, so I began compiling a playlist to inspire me during long hours of study.  I noticed the music from Mass Effect was reminiscent of the music from Blade Runner, another great source of inspiration for me, so Blade Runner made it into the mix as well. And my Sci-Fi playlist was born.

The playlist is now over 9 hours long, and it's accompanied me through two degrees, a few internships, and my first job. I also think it's appropriate background music when reading science fiction. Some of my engineer friends tell me it's great music for programming work.


Image: "Serra da Estrela - Milky Way" by Rodolfo X. O. Ferreira Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons