Science Fiction is primarily a visual medium, be it film and TV show images, text on the page of a favorite novel or the artwork that graces covers and pulls us in with the promise of wonders and revelations.
But it can also be an auditory thrill. It’s not just images of robots and rocketships that can invoke that sense of wonder – the anticipation of awe, surprise and discovery, that shot of SF adrenaline – that thrills us and primes us for a new experience, one that signals that it is time to willingly suspend our disbelief. There are musical cues that off the same kind of introduction…Science Fiction appetizers, if you will, a mental palette cleansing, a stretching and warm-up for the coming encounter.
Some of that anticipation is learned; after watching a few episodes of Star Trek: TOS, you learn to associate just a handful of singular notes with the imminent arrival of a starship. Others take you in just owing to the sounds, tones and instruments used. But either way, when you hear these notes, you’ve learned to expect a pleasurable, mind-blowing experience of a science fictional variety.
Here then are a handful of opening themes that always invoke that Sense of Wonder for us. Do they do the same for you? What others can you think of?