This was a short story, probably in "Analog" or "Galaxy" in the late sixties or early seventies. The title went across two pages. As best I can remember the title had "Boogie-Woogie" in it. There was a black and white, broad brush-stroke illustration on the title lower left page with a man playing an upright (?) piano. Above him, covering the top of both pages, is a music notation staff and notes, swirling banner style. The story began on the right page.

Dimly remembered, perhaps the story was about someone living in New York City in the fifties when he started hearing Boogie-Woogie but no one knew what he was talking about - or he started playing it and no one had ever heard it before. It was somehow a main plot point - he was living in some sort of false or artificial place and the Boogie-Woogie was coming through from the 'real' New York or Earth. Perhaps wherever it came from it was the key to defeating aliens or saving the planet.

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    The only story I can find on the ISFDB with the title "boogie"(something)" that was published in a scifi magazine is 'The Boogie Matrix' by Charles Eric Maine
    – Valorum
    Jul 28, 2017 at 12:56
  • I've changed your title to be a bit more descriptive. Please review it and edit as appropriate ;) Jul 28, 2017 at 14:23
  • Dear Gallifreyan, Thanks for the edit. I searched on "The Boogie Matrix" but can't find anything beyond the ISFDB entry. My memory, dim as it is of this (!) is still that the title involved the full phrase "Boogie Woogie". Jul 28, 2017 at 18:16
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    Dear user14111, Ah ha! I mis-remembered but it has to be fifty years since I read it. It was the pictures that I remembered them, not exactly as I described in my OP but that is how I remembered them over a half-century later. Apologies to Gallifreyan, it was the right work all along, I just couldn't realize it until I saw the pictures, which I remembered more than the text. Jul 29, 2017 at 0:52
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    Dear All, This is a great site! I've had two posts in less than a day on obscure questions and they have both been answered adroitly. I am spreading the word to all my friends and family who are interested in these genres. Keep up the good work and good luck all around. Jul 29, 2017 at 0:53

1 Answer 1


As suggested in a comment by Valorum, you're looking for Charles Eric Maine's novelette "The Boogie Matrix", which was published in the British magazine Authentic Science Fiction Monthly #41, January 1954, available at the Internet Archive.

The story is set in 21st century "Nyok City". In a post-apocalyptic technocratic dystopia, somebody finds an ancient phonograph with a recording of "Honky Tonk Train Blues" by Meade Lux Lewis. (Lewis is not mentioned by name in the story, but the piano player in the illo on p. 63 looks like him, and "Honky Tonk Train Blues" is his most famous work.)


But the girl had produced a small cranked handle from the lid, and, inserting it in a hole in the side of the box, busied herself by winding up an unseen mechanism that creaked and groaned as though burdened with a century of rust and dirt. Then she pushed a small lever near to the turntable, and the latter began to revolve. Carefully, she picked up the long cylindrical tone arm, and dropped the needle on to the shiny black recording. Bax listened—horrified, but fascinated.

The quality was atrocious by twenty-first century standards. There was an almost intolerable hiss and mush from the needle point, and the reproduction was tinny and unreal, but the music that came from the grille was recognisable. It was a recording of a pre-Inferno instrument, a primitive hammer and string device that produced music from the out-moded Reversionist twelve-note chromatic scale. But as he listened the rhythm of the music seeped into his brain.

It was a sound that had not been heard in the world for nearly a hundred years, a type of music utterly foreign to a humanity that knew only the synthetic discords and subtle rhythmic interplay of tones and harmonics produced by an audio-permutator from a metal matrix, inscribed with curves and lines, corresponding to mathematical equations and formulas. It gripped him and hypnotised him. He felt his feet tapping instinctively in time with the precise beat and the dynamic syncopated chords and melody.

It was piano music. It was wonderful piano music. He was listening to boogie-woogie, to the Honky Tonk Train Blues, played by an acknowledged master of his craft. It was Reversionist and primitive, while he was a technocrat and a world-famous composer, but he was entranced.

  • Dear user14111, If you have not already you should listen to some of Lux's recordings. I think he was one of the three or four best players, he hammered those notes out almost faster than you could listen to them. Good luck. Jul 29, 2017 at 12:25

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