Delany’s Utopian Setting
The word satellite originated from the Latin word “satellit” — meaning an attendant, one who is constantly hovering around and attending to a “master” or big man.
When I hear the word “satellite” I immediately think of a piece of technology put into space to orbit our planet or others. I’ve realized though, that it hasn’t always meant that — before such technology was created, “satellite” referred to a natural body orbiting around a planet, i.e. Triton.
After I learned the original definition of the word “satellite,” it dawned on me that there are many songs that refer to satellites. Dave Matthews Band sings, “Satellite in my eyes / Like a diamond in the sky / How I wonder / Satellite strung from the moon / And the world your balloon / Peeping Tom for the mother station.” In this song, aside from being about someone he admires, Dave Matthews describes a satellite as a diamond in the sky. He also refers to Earth as the “mother station” in which the satellite is a “Peeping Tom” of — observing from afar — ultimately getting at that the satellite has a good view.
Andrew from the band Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness sings, “If I could fly / Then I would know / What life looks like from up above and down below / I’d keep you safe / I’d keep you dry / Don’t be afraid Cecilia / I’m the satellite / And you’re the sky.” Elton John sings, “Oh in the daylight / And even in the dark night / I want you to surround me / Surround me like a satellite.” Both of these songs are referring to the satellite as a sense of safety, as the satellite is always orbiting the planet no matter what.
From being a pretty sight to providing a new perspective to acting as a sense of security, I can’t help but wonder if there was a reason Delany used a satellite for his utopian setting. While looking through lyrics of songs about satellites, there was a lot of negative connotation about satellites, as they just follow around planets and don’t have any independence. However, I think Delany saw the positive aspects of satellites, as mentioned above, and thought it would be a perfect place for a utopian society.
Delany, Samuel R. Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1996. Print.
Matthews, Dave. Satellite. Dave Matthews Band. Steve Lillywhite, 1995.Wikipedia. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Andrew McMahon. Cecelia and the Satellite. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. James Flannigan, 2014. Wikipedia. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
John, Elton. Satellite. Elton John. Gus Dudgeon, 1985. Wikipedia. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.