Posts Tagged ‘my media empire’
The essays in Green Planets are predicated on the proposition that two hundred years of SF can help us collectively “think” this leap into futurity in the context of the epochal mass-extinction event called the Anthropocene (which the literary theorists more simply call “modernity”). SF is our culture’s vast, shared, polyvocal archive of the possible; from techno-utopias to apocalypses to ecotopian fortunate falls, it is thetransmedia genre of SF that has first attempted to articulate the sorts of systemic global changes that are imminent, or already happening, and begins to imagine what our transformed planet might eventually be like for those who will come to live on it. Especially taken in the context of escalating ecological catastrophe, in which each new season seems to bring with it some new and heretofore-unseen spectacular disaster, my coeditor’s well-known declaration that in the contemporary moment “the world has become a science fiction novel” has never seemed more true or more frightening. Indeed, such a notion suggests both politics and “realism” are now always “inside” science fiction, insofar as the world, as we experience its vertiginous technological and ecological flux, now more closely resembles SF than it does any historical realism…
I’ll try not to be too aggressive about self-promotional spam, but I’m very excited to formally announce that the edited collection I put together with Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, comes out next month from Wesleyan University Press in paperback, hardback, and on Kindle. I just got my advance copy yesterday; we’re very proud of the book and couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
Here’s a table of contents:
Preface by Gerry Canavan
Introduction: “If This Goes On” also by Gerry Canavan
Part 1 Arcadias and New Jerusalems
1 ► “Extinction, Extermination, and the Ecological Optimism
of H. G. Wells” by Christina Alt
2 ► “Evolution and Apocalypse in the Golden Age” by Michael Page
3 ► “Daoism, Ecology, and World Reduction in Le Guin’s Utopian Fictions” by Gib Prettyman
4 ► “Biotic Invasions: Ecological Imperialism in New Wave Science Fiction” by Rob Latham
Part 2 Brave New Worlds and Lands of the Flies
5 ► “‘The Real Problem of a Spaceship Is Its People’: Spaceship Earth as Ecological Science Fiction” by Sabine Höhler
6 ► “The Sea and Eternal Summer: An Australian Apocalypse” by Andrew Milner
7 ► “Care, Gender, and the Climate-Changed Future: Maggie Gee’s The Ice People“ by Adeline Johns-Putra
8 ► “Future Ecologies, Current Crisis: Ecological Concern in South African Speculative Fiction” by Elzette Steenkamp
9 ► “Ordinary Catastrophes: Paradoxes and Problems in Some Recent Post-Apocalypse Fictions” by Christopher Palmer
Part 3 Quiet Earths, Junk Cities, and the Cultures of the Afternoon
10 ► “‘The Rain Feels New’: Ecotopian Strategies in the Short Fiction of Paolo Bacigalupi” by Eric C. Oto
11 ► “Life after People: Science Faction and Ecological Futures” by Brent Bellamy and Imre Szeman
12 ► “Pandora’s Box: Avatar, Ecology, Thought” by Timothy Morton
13 ► “Churning Up the Depths: Nonhuman Ecologies of Metaphor in Solaris and ‘Oceanic’” by Melody Jue
Afterword: “Still, I’m Reluctant to Call This Pessimism” by Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson
There’s also a lengthy “Of Further Interest” appendix that’s an annotated list of some key texts in the subgenre of ecological science fiction.
Thanks to all the contributors, and to everyone at Wesleyan, for all their hard work. I hope you’ll check it out.
* Reviews of Disability in Science Fiction at Tor and wordgathering focus on my chapter in particular, each taking up a different half of it; read them together and you get a pretty good sense of what I was on about.
* Confirm your suspicions about who the worst people at Gawker are: What Should Be Done About Detroit? A Gawker Internal Debate.
* Boy with Asthma Dies After School Confiscates His Inhaler. “Zero tolerance policy against asthma inhalers.”
* That’s not what the Left wants. We want to give people the chance to do something else with their lives, something besides merely tending to it, without having to take a 30-year detour on Wall Street to get there. The way to do that is not to immerse people even more in the ways and means of the market, but to give them time and space to get out of it. That’s what a good welfare state, real social democracy, does: rather than being consumed by life, it allows you to make your life. Freely. One less bell to answer, not one more.
* This won’t be the last time you hear about it, but Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction finally has a pre-order page.
* In a post-employment economy ridden with arbitrary credentialism, a résumé is often not a reflection of achievement but a document sanctioning its erasure. One is not judged on what one has accomplished, but on one’s ability to walk a path untouched by the incongruities of market forces.
* You can now order the special Paradoxa issue on “Africa SF.” The testimonials indicate that Samuel Delany has at least heard of something I’ve written, so there’s that…
* Those who do not study history will have their wise decision ratified by bean-counting administrators: One of the 17 University of North Carolina campuses could stop offering degrees in physics, history and political science. If you read that sentence and thought to yourself, “gee, I bet that’s a historically black college,” give yourself a prize!
-Half the population would be white men.
-Five percent of the population would be black men.
-Just 1.9 percent of the world would be Asian or Latino men.
-Overall, 57 percent of the population would be men.
-34 percent of the world would be white women
-3.8 percent would be African-American women
-And 3.8 percent would be Latino or Asian women
-31.8 percent of the population would work for the police or some sort of federal law enforcement agency.
-9.7 percent of us would be doctors.
-2.6 percent of us would be criminals.
-1.9 percent would be supernatural creatures or robots.
* What they are defending is a system in which wealth is passed off as merit, in which credentials are not earned but bought. Aptitude is a quality measured by how much money you can spend on its continual reassessment.
Students whose parents pay tens of thousands for SAT tutors to help their child take the test over and over compete against students who struggle to pay the fee to take the test once. Students who spend afternoons on “enrichment” activities compete against students working service jobs to pay bills – jobs which don’t “count” in the admissions process. Students who shell out for exotic volunteer trips abroad compete with students of what C Z Nnaemeka termed “the un-exotic underclass” - the poor who have “the misfortune of being insufficiently interesting”, the poor who make up most of the US today.
* …a recent Twitter thread started by a popular feminist blogger examines a dark side of that cliché in real-life academe, one in which professors’ advances – intellectual and otherwise – feed a need for validation and flattery, and at times cross the line into sexual harassment.
* Obama’s going to be super-mad when he finds out about the nonsensical security state procedures his administration has been using in lieu of actual oversight. And breaking into Yahoo! and Google? Why didn’t anyone tell him!
* Ripped from the pages of Philip K. Dick! Pentagon weighs future of its inscrutable nonagenarian futurist.
* The Chronicle follows up on last year’s PhD-on-food-stamps, who is now in a TT position at Martin Methodist College.
* The richest country in history: The Number Of Homeless Students In The United States Hits A Record.
* They’re marketing the Veronica Mars movie as a love triangle. This is my skeptical face.
* What’s W.R.O.N.G. with ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? A.L.M.O.S.T. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
* No accidents, comrade: The New Inquiry considers Cold War nostalgia and Twilight Struggle.
* Matt Zoller Seitz completes his series on video essays on Wes Anderson films. Bring on The Grand Budapest Hotel!
* PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 27: Princeton’s freshmen again have chosen Adolf Hitler as “the greatest living person” in the annual poll of their class conducted by The Daily Princetonian.
* And it looks like they’ve finally (almost) proved that Darth Vader wasn’t always going to be Luke Skywalker’s father. Gotcha Lucas! You can run but you can’t hide.
* zunguzungu: Sir Warsalot and the Daily Show.
* How to End It All: By Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof, Vince Gilligan, and Alan Ball. That’s not exactly a promising lineup for the end of Breaking Bad (though the last few minutes of the very last Six Feed Under were admittedly pretty all right).
For the most part, it’s not helpful to think of student lending, circa 2013, in terms of bubbles at all. Rather, as Chadwick Matlin has put it at Reuters, it’s more of an anvil weighing on a large but discrete group of very unfortunate borrowers.
* States generally meet their obligations to match certain federal funds that go to predominantly white land-grant universities, but this isn’t the case for historically black land-grant colleges, according to a new report by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.
* Want to break into professional comics artistry? Just draw us a cheesecake picture of a naked woman in a bathtub preparing to commit suicide and you’re in.
* In the popular imagination, opposition to the Vietnam War was driven largely by the privileged, while supposedly reactionary blue-collar workers supported the war effort. That memory is wrong.
* Mind-boggling: College students cheer sex abuse.
* CFP for the inaugural issue of BOSS: Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies. I can’t believe I wasn’t approached for the editorial board.
* “He was a wonderful boss. I lived with him for five years. We were the closest people who worked with him … we were always there. Hitler was never without us day and night.”
* And John Cleese explains the brain. That should clear everything up.
I have a few pieces out in a couple of new books:
* “Debt, Theft, Permaculture: Justice and Ecological Scale” is in Debt: Ethics, the Environment, and the Economy, which is based on a conference the Center for 21st Century Studies at UWM held a few years ago. This one is a little bit more political economy than the usual stuff I write, extending what Lisa and Ryan and I tried to do in the Polygraph introduction, though I did manage to sneak in some Kim Stanley Robinson near the end.
* “Life Without Hope? Huntington’s Disease and Genetic Futurity” is in Disability in Science Fiction: Representations of Technology as Cure, out in hardcover today. The piece takes up a bunch of different pop-culture figurations of Huntington’s disease, but the focus is on Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos, Ian McEwan’s Saturday, Robert J. Sawyer’s Frameshift, and Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy and “The Evening and the Morning and the Night.” No Kindle or paperback yet, but call your library!
I was also recently invited on the Old Mole Variety Hour out of Portland to talk a little bit about utopia, which you can find as a podcast here. As you can see at the link, I appeared as my famously inarticulate character “Jerry” Canavan, which explains why I begin every answer with “absolutely” and end every answer with “right?”
* Once you have been accepted into the elite, it is considered perfectly normal for various elite institutions to just give you vast sums of money for doing almost nothing, for the rest of your life. And the idea that outsiders might find these arrangements shocking, corrupt or simply sleazy is totally baffling to the people in charge of elite institutions. They don’t get it, at all.
* America’s Left: Find it on Twitter. Warning: He names names.
* Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, but that is only a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images. The innocent have nothing to fear he swore an oath to keep us safe is this even really news &c.
“When we first turned it on, it just quietly looked around the room for several minutes, and then shot itself,” said Samsung engineer Do-hyun Gyeong. “At first, we thought there was just a problem with the battery. But when we fixed it up and took it out for its first flight, it just threw itself in front of a truck.”
* It’s official: Military coup in Egypt.
* 15 Geeky College Courses You Won’t Believe Actually Exist. The Tolkien class I’m inheriting is #8. Fall 2014!
* “The rich get education and the poor get training,” Carnevale said. “It’s a way of reproducing class. The higher education system is now in cahoots with the economy to reproduce class.” Already, he added, “there are a lot of kids who are not getting a real education any more. They’re getting training.”
* Double Majors Produce Dynamic Thinkers, Study Finds. That’s why I majored in both English and Philosophy.
* When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago this month, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss—all 400,000 of them.
* More in NYPD-related travesties: Women who report domestic violence are exposing themselves to arrest under a new NYPD directive that orders cops to run criminal checks on the accused and the accuser, The Post has learned.
* The Washington Post is shocked, shocked to find money driving decisions in the NCAA.
* Well, there you have it: The Vatican lashed out at what it called a “defamatory” and “anti-clerical left-wing” campaign to discredit Pope Francis over his actions during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military junta, saying no credible accusation had ever stuck against the new pope.
* Rob Thomas: I did get an email from Bryan Fuller earlier today saying, ‘Hey, can you jump on the phone with me at some point? I know you’re busy, but I would love to talk to you about how this thing works.’ And I know it was specifically for “Pushing Daisies.”
* And in local news: A Wisconsin court has banned a local man from all the libraries on the planet after he was caught openly masturbating inside the Racine Public Library.
* Syllabus minute: I have W.H. Auden envy.
Some projections showed Athletics might not be able to make payments starting in the 2030s when the debt service balloons. The debt is structured so that for the next 20 years, Cal only needs to make interest payments on the debt. The principal kicks in in the early 2030s, resulting in payments between $24 million and $37 million per year.
Look, if it’s good enough for an idea man who settled out of court on securities fraud, it’s good enough for me.
* What If? on The Twitter Archive of Babel. The Twitter Archive of Babel contains the true story of your life, as well as all the stories of all the lives you didn’t lead….
* You and I are gonna live forever: 72 is the new 30.
* Settling nerd fights of the 1990s today: Is This the Smoking Gun Proving Deep Space Nine Ripped Off Babylon 5?
* The Star Wars Heresies: Star Wars and William Blake. Tim Morton’s essay in Green Planets has a similar impulse with respect to Avatar.
* And in even more insane mashup news: WWE Keeps Pressure On Glenn Beck.
Friday Links! Soviet Choose Your Own Adventure, World Tetris Competition, Gödel vs. the Constitution, and More
* In 1987, an anonymous team of computer scientists from the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic wrote a series of children’s books based on the popular Choose Your Own Adventure series. The books were hastily translated into English and a small number were exported to America, but the CIA, fearing a possible Soviet mind control scheme, confiscated them all before they could be sold. Now declassified, the books have been lovingly converted to a digital hypertext format and put online for the English-speaking world to enjoy. Via MeFi, which has some highlights from You Will Select a Decision:
“If you follow the bear immediately, turn to page 35.
If you follow the bear after some hesitation, wait for ten seconds and then turn to page 35.”
“If you say yes, turn to page 18
I will not permit you to say no. Turn to page 18.”
* Gödel, in his usual manner, had read extensively in preparing for the hearing. In the course of his studies, Gödel decided that he had discovered a flaw in the U.S. Constitution — a contradiction which would allow the U.S. to be turned into a dictatorship. Gödel, usually quite reticent, seemed to feel a need to make this known. Morgenstern and Einstein warned Gödel that it would be a disaster to confront his citizenship examiner with visions of a Constitutional flaw leading to an American dictatorship.
* This week, Europol, the European Union’s criminal-intelligence division, announced that its investigation into match-fixing, codenamed “Operation Veto,” had uncovered 680 suspicious games from 2008 to 2011. It’s huge news, not because the results are particularly surprising — there’s plenty of other evidence, even recent evidence, that match-fixing is rampant in global soccer — but because the sheer extent of the allegations means that we can no longer delude ourselves about what’s happening. This is what’s happening: Soccer is fucked. Match-fixing is corroding the integrity of the game at every level.
* Ted Underwood on text-mining and distant reading: We don’t already know the broad outlines of literary history.
* Fund snidely concludes: “But, of course, as you know there is no voter fraud. Pay no attention to that lightning coming out of Ohio.” While voter fraud does rarely exist, fighting these sorts of “lightning” with strict photo ID laws that disenfranchise legitimate voters is like banning orange juice to prevent jaywalking.
* The main point here: Germany doesn’t get all that much sunlight. In fact, it gets about as much direct solar-energy as Alaska does each year. Just about every single region in the continental United States has vastly more solar resources than Germany.
* Top college football prospect Alex Collins spent Wednesday trying to track down his mother, who had intercepted his letter of intent to attend the University of Arkansas. (Apparently she did not want him to attend college far from home.) Colleges cannot accept commitments from players under 21 without the signature of a parent or guardian. Eventually Collins’ father signed the form, but aren’t 18-year-olds legally entitled to make their own decisions?
* My piece on ecological science fiction and pessimistic despair from the “Weather” issue of The New Inquiry is online: Après Nous, le Déluge. Don’t let the title fool you; it’s in English!
Perhaps Lear would have thought it all a bit too on-the-nose—but now our suicidal urges and our selfishness and our sickening disregard for the future come back to us as hurricanes and heat-waves. Let a thousand science fictional panoramas bloom: the Statue of Liberty frozen over, toppled in the sand, neck-deep in water. Hollywood on fire. Texas cracked with drought. Hundred-year storms every other year. Après nous, la glace, le feu, le désert, le déluge.
* In case you missed it last night, my course this semester: “Thrill and Dread in the American Century.”
* Profhacker has a writeup from the people behind the Occupy MLA hoax for people who are still curious just what was going on there. If my Twitter timeline is any indication, it’s fair to say this was not well-received. Personally I think it’s very hard to argue this was about advancing cause of adjuncts and NTT faculty in any meaningful way, though I can see why they want to say so now. Nothing about the portrayal of the Occupy MLA participants either this year or last year cast critics of academic labor in a good light. Bérubé agrees! For a somewhat more nuanced take, see Noel Jackson’s timeline.
MOOCs are designed to impose, not improved learning, but a new business model on higher education, which opens the door for wide-scale profiteering. Public institutions of higher education then become shells for private interests who will offer small grants on the front end and reap larger profits on the back end.
* But, in fact, we’ve got two grand experiments of her theory,” he said. “The first is the American South, where teachers unions are weak and the schools are not lighting the world on fire. The other is charter schools, which are 88 percent non-unionized. In charters, you can do everything that Michelle Rhee wants to do — fire bad teachers, pay good teachers more. And yet, the most comprehensive studies looking at charter schools nationally find mediocre results.”
2. Call me Ishmael. I was a young man of military age. I was immolated at my wedding. My parents are inconsolable.
* Supreme Court Justice Death Calculator. I’ll save you the trouble:
The probability of at least 1 conservative justice dying by 2017: 46.62%.
* While popular culture has for centuries reflected an older form of law and justice, its capacity to undermine the very pluralist and discursive openness which are its well-spring, demonstrates the dangers to which the rhetoric of urgency and the emotional power of medium and message are prone. In a world shorn of its faith in the traditional structures which sustained the moral economy and the moral legality, the appeal to simply trust in an inarticulable justice sustained by an emotional pitch which is in ‘24’ at every moment apparent, opens the prospect of legal terrorism.
* And a public service announcement: Harmontown comes to Wisconsin next week…