8

I've recently been reading and re-reading Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta. After having skimmed through it multiple times and settling a few questions I had about the continuity, only one question remains. In volume I, chapter 2, The Voice, on page 13 the following conversation occurs:

V and Evey talk about music

... they eradicated some cultures more thoroughly than they did others.
No Tamla and no Trojan. No Billie Holiday or Black Uhuru...
Just His Master's Voice. Every hour. On the hour.
We'll have to see what we can do about that...

Italics authors', bold emphasis and choice of capitalisation mine

V says "his master's voice", which is also the title of the novel by Stanislaw Lem.

I can see that V is most likely talking about the order in which the citizens of post-war Britain live - the oppression, constant surveillance, fascism, etc. V's primary goal throughout the novel is to make people raise their heads and pave their own way with their own decisions, as opposed to their masters' voice.

But still I find the choice of words here peculiar. Having skimmed through Lem's novel's description on Wikipedia I can see that it is not exactly about the same things as V for Vendetta. There is a bit about "criticizing Cold War military and political decision-making as corrupting the ethical conduct of scientists", but as I said, this is not what V for Vendetta is about.

So here comes my question: is this quote a conscious reference to Stanislaw Lem's His Master's Voice? If so, how exactly are the two books linked? If not, what explains this choice of words (for instance, "their master's voice" would be more suitable, I think)?


I would appreciate if spoilers from Lem's novels be tagged as such

  • 1
    the italics in the original indicate a reference. To what, I don't know - it could also be the famous British record house – VicAche Mar 21 '17 at 10:14
  • 1
    @VicAche the italics in the original seem to indicate stress, or names. – Gallifreyan Mar 21 '17 at 15:26
10
+100

No, it has nothing to do with Lem's novel. It's a play on the famous trademark originated by the Gramophone Company (and later used by EMI) in the UK and used by Victor (and later RCA) in the USA. Take a look at the context:

  • Tamla and Trojan are both record labels known for releasing music by (respectively) African-American or African-British artists. (Tamla was the name used in the UK by Motown Records.)
  • Billie Holiday was an African-American jazz & blues singer.
  • Black Uhuru is a Jamaican reggae group.

Essentially, V is saying that music by black people has been eradicated from the national media, and replaced by state propaganda.

  • That's interesting! A great answer, and it makes perfect sense, given all the other real-world tie-ins that were in this novel. I actually saw this record company when looking for the answer myself, but dismissed it. Looks like the answer was right under my nose :) – Gallifreyan May 19 '17 at 18:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.