From the AP Lit website for 2012-13:
“ “Real Life” in Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., published in 1963:
Angela Hoenikker plays the clarinet for the narrator, little Newt, and Castle. The album she plays along with is “CatHousePiano” which was written by Meade Lux Lewis, an American pianist and composer in the 1950’s. The novel cites Lewis being: inspired by Jimmy Yancey; and a notable boogie-woogie piano player, which are both true facts.”
“The nickname “Lux” was given to him by his boyhood friends. He would imitate a couple of characters from a popular comic strip in Chicago, Alphonse and Gaston, and stroke an imaginary beard as part of the routine. His friends started calling him the Duke of Luxembourg because of this, and the name stuck for the rest of his life.”
Eric Felten wrote for the Washington Examiner of July 11, 2019:
“The protagonist of the new film Yesterday is a failing singer-songwriter who gets hit by a bus and wakes up in the hospital to find himself in a sort of alternative reality in which the Beatles were never a band. The singer-songwriter remembers all of their music that never was. His career, needless to say, improves.
This sort of thing has long been the stuff of science fiction. It can be a big “What if?” For example:…One might ask how the world would be different if 66 million years ago a butterfly had its already brief butterfly life shortened, squished under a time traveler’s boot.
That last one is an essential sci-fi short story by Ray Bradbury, “A Sound of Thunder.”…Bradbury posits that small changes to the past can make for catastrophic changes to the present. And it conforms to the general sci-fi consensus that time travel is a very, very bad idea.
As odd as it may be to call a pop-religious fantasy a work of science fiction, that is what It’s a Wonderful Life is. Just look at how different the world is without George Bailey. There are the ruined individuals, of course: Mr. Gower, the pharmacist, becomes a rummy ex-convict; Ma Bailey is no longer the soul of generosity but has become careworn and hard; little Zuzu has never existed at all.
But the impact on particular people is nothing compared to the transformed town. Charming Bedford Falls has become seedy Pottersville, a ramshackle neon-lit conglomeration of dime-a-dance spots, pawn shops, burlesque theaters, and cocktail lounges.
It’s not all bad, of course. The staid Martini’s restaurant becomes a rough-and-tumble bar called Nick’s where Meade “Lux” Lewis is pounding out rambunctious barrelhouse stride piano. Would I trade a polite spaghetti spot for a tough joint serving “hard drinks … for men who want to get drunk fast?” If it got me Lewis at the keys, you bet…”