Tag Archives | Literature

The Emerging Speculative Genre Of “Cli Fi”

climate fiction

Is environmental change poised to thrust us into new worlds? NPR writes:

Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow is the latest in what seems to be an emerging literary genre. Over the past decade, more and more writers have begun to set their novels and short stories in worlds, not unlike our own, where the Earth’s systems are noticeably off-kilter. The genre has come to be called climate fiction — “cli-fi,” for short.

“I think we need a new type of novel to address a new type of reality,” says Rich, “which is that we’re headed toward something terrifying and large and transformative. And it’s the novelist’s job to try to understand, what is that doing to us?” As far as Rich is concerned, climate change itself is a foregone conclusion. The story — the suspense, the romance — is in how we deal with it.

Of course, science fiction with an environmental bent has been around since the 1960s (think J.G.

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Alan Moore and Psychogeography

Picture: Karen Karnak (CC)

Picture: Karen Karnak (CC)

Alan Moore interviews are always worth reading. Here he discusses psychogeography as it applies to various of his works.

via Reasons I Do Not Dance:

What exactly, in your not unlimited understanding, is Psychogeography?

In its simplest form I understand psychogeography to be a straightforward acknowledgement that we, as human beings, embed aspects of our psyche…memories, associations, myth and folklore…in the landscape that surrounds us. On a deeper level, given that we do not have direct awareness of an objective reality but, rather, only have awareness of our own perceptions, it would seem to me that psychogeography is possibly the only kind of geography that we can actually inhabit.

What books and writers ignited your interest in psychogeography?

The author that first introduced me to the subject was the person I regard as being its contemporary master, namely Iain Sinclair, with his early work Lud Heat.

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Fearing Feminism As A Dystopian Science Fiction Scenario

the feminists

Infinity Plus expounds on the lost not-so-classic 1971 pulp novel The Feminists, a fascinating example of the trope of misogynist fears regarding gender equality wrought as dystopian sci-fi theme:

The future is distant 1992, and everything’s gone to hell in a handbasket since the female coup (often for reasons that are not immediately apparent: for example, I cannot understand why a drop in industrial production to virtually zero should have caused devastating global pollution). Men are a subjugate species; they have their uses, but not many of them, and are expected to be self-effacing and subservient at all times.

Husky hetero Keith Montalvo has sex with a like-minded colleague, and their crime is discovered. He goes on the run, hides in the New York subway, encounters and joins the underground (literally) resistance. Oops, I forgot the obligatory bit: he falls in love with a sultry rebel temptress.

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West Virginia Lawmaker Proposes Requiring Science Fiction In High School

solarisThe goal is to spur interest in math and science, and encourage kids to ponder the benefits and drawbacks of emerging technologies in their own lives. Via Blastr, a fantastic antidote to the efforts of politicians to mandate religious content in classrooms:

A Republican legislator in West Virginia is proposing a bill that would require the State Board of Education to integrate science fiction literature into middle-school and high-school reading curricula. Delegate Ray Canterbury hopes that even if the bill doesn’t pass it will pressure the Board of Education to adopt science fiction on its own.

“I’m primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers,” Canterbury said. Canterbury cites Isaac Asimov and Jules Verne as early influences in his own youth that lead him to earn a degree in mathematics.

“In Southern West Virginia, there’s a bit of a Calvinistic attitude toward life—this is how things are and they’ll never be any different,” Canterbury says.

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The 1969 Science Fiction Novel Which Eerily Predicted Today

zanzibarJohn Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar, written more than forty years ago but set in an imagined year 2010 in which ever more power is concentrated in the hands of a few global corporations, is eerily accurate about so much current reality. Via the The Millions, Ted Gioia writes:

Brunner’s vision of the year 2010 even includes a popular leader named President Obomi. Let me list some of the other correct predictions in Brunner’s book:

Random acts of violence by crazy individuals, often taking place at schools, plague society in Stand on Zanzibar.

The other major source of instability and violence comes from terrorists, who are now a major threat to U.S. interests, and even manage to attack buildings within the United States.

Prices have increased sixfold between 1960 and 2010 because of inflation. (The actual increase in U.S. prices during that period was sevenfold, but Brunner was close.)

The most powerful U.S.

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‘The Forbidden Book’

Trailer for the hardcover edition of a disinformation® book by Joscelyn Godwin & Guido Mina di Sospiro. Available now at Amazon.com. "Watch out Dan Brown and Umberto Eco! Here's a real esoteric thriller written by some real Illuminati who know the real thing and aren't afraid to let the secret out. Sex, magic, politics, and mystery. 'The Forbidden Book' is a gripping, exciting, and illuminating...
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World’s Largest Historical Collection Of Deviant Erotic And Drug-Related Cultural Works Now At Harvard

Harvard Gazette on a treasure chest for anyone looking to explore the darkest corners of human experience:

Harvard’s newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection is the largest of its kind in the world. It includes a vast collection of boxes, drawers, shelves — whole rooms — full of art, literature, and popular culture artifacts dating back to the 16th century, related to the chief avenues to altered states of mind: sex and drugs.

The Santo Domingo collection is on long-term deposit at Harvard. “We do not own it,” said Morris, but the owners “want us to catalog it, and they want it available for research.” The largest collection of its kind in the world, it will gradually be available to scholars of literature, fine art, photography, film, history, medicine, popular culture, and more.

It has an estimated 30,000 books and 25,000 posters, photographs, and other ephemera assembled by Colombian businessman Julio Mario Santo Domingo Jr., who died in 2009.

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How Philip K. Dick Can Change Your Life

For the growing number of Dickheads among us, Trevor Smith's recent article "I Understand Philip K. Dick" was a great reminder of how Dick's writing contained such valuable human insight that to label it as just "science fiction" really doesn't do it justice. Inspired by Trevor's piece and the Terence McKenna essay his essay linked to, I went a mini PKD binge and turned up an interesting article and video at The Verge published during the PKD Festival in San Francisco last October. It's worth checking out just for Jonathan Lethem's intro...
There are a lot of ways to characterize a legacy. You could start with numbers: 44 published novels, at least 121 short stories, and a dozen movie adaptations, most of them major Hollywood affairs — and then the expanding circle of influence that includes 12 Monkeys, eXistenz, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Over $1 billion in film revenue...
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I Understand Philip K. Dick

While reading bits of The Exegesis of Philip K Dick, I realized just how tapped in PKD’s mind was with the coincidental ether, and how this relates with other topics posted recently on this site. Namely Opti and I, by Opticuswrangler, and my article Plant/human symbiosis and the fall of humanity – A talk with Tony Wright, which places a biochemical basis for our disconnected and left-brained state of consciousness, psychedelics, and diet into an evolutionary context.

Phil had extracted gems for years out of the mercurial mists of the minds imagination, and shared them with us all in his novels; some of which have made their way onto the big screen. Something much less known, but just as stacked with gems of insight, was his Exegesis: a document of some 8,000 pages in which he attempted to turn his mind inside out onto paper every night for almost a decade, in an effort to come to grips with the mysteries of existence.… Read the rest

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Interview With ‘Psychopomp’ Author Amanda Sledz

In her series Psychopomp, author Amanda Sledz takes a literary approach to writing about urban shamanism, magical thinking, tarot, telepathy and other themes usually reserved for the fantasy genre. The series follows four characters: Meena, a woman who has experienced a break with reality; her parents, Frank and Esther; and Lola, a teenager who is becoming a shaman whether she wants to or not.

The first book in the series, Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate, explores mental illness, empathy, our differing experiences of place, immigration and cultural identity, and the way our experience of family shapes our identity — without resorting to the cliches of genre fiction or descending into boring academic prose.

An excerpt from the first installment is here. I recently caught-up with her to talk about Psychopomp, self-publishing and more. Via Technoccult:

Klint Finley: I understand you wrote a first draft of the first book in college — can you walk us through how the book evolved?

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