Category Archives: verbal

“At his best, Wallace wrote about how impossible it was to truly know or connect with others in any kind of important or authentic way, despite our wired-in yearning to do so; how solipsism and anxiety and an addiction to the pleasures and artifice of modern American culture—with its fragmentary focus, narcissistic impulses, and worship […]

A sequence

The big turning point came when I was nineteen. And that was a really serious matter. I woke up one day and I looked around at the world. And I said, Causality does not exist. It’s an illusion. And I talked with a guy who was in the philosophy department. I said, “I suddenly realized […]

New Asia

When I lay down beside you, you rolled against me, waking, on your breath all the electric night of a new Asia, the future rising in you like a bright fluid, washing me of everything but the moment. That was your magic, that you lived outside of history, all now. (William Gibson “New Rose Hotel”)

Harrowing Idealism

For all its close and intimate focus, These Dreams of You may well be today’s Great American Novel. Not just for its portraiture of universal American dreams and anxieties; not for its social scope; nor for its historical and political topicality, in which it deals in spades, but rather because of its painful sincerity, its […]

america

Though to the outer waking world Sheba’s dream is only a few seconds, in her sleep she understands it’s a long voyage. Poised at the ship’s bow, transmitting a distant song, she sails in search of the word that will name her, a word for those who’ve never belonged anywhere and who make their own […]

Crazy

“It’s a country that does things in lurches. Born in radicalism, then reluctant for years, decades, the better part of the centuries, to do anything crazy, until it does the craziest thing of all. But it’s also a country – inherent in its genes – capable of imagining what cannot be imagined and then, once […]

Utopia

Very incisive but clearly elucidated thoughts on utopia, ecology, and the politics of now – by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Vision

Those footsteps that once led to a river’s edge haunted him; he loved, as does every man who is born to a vision, that unseen future that his courage once failed. He hated, as does every man who is born in America, that irrevocable failure that his heart won’t forget. Steve Erickson, Rubicon Beach, 282.

The Desert

In sublimity – the superlative degree of beauty – what land can equal the desert with its wide plains, its grim mountains, and its expanding canopy of sky! You shall never see elsewhere as here the dome, the pinnacle, the minaret fretted with golden fire at sunrise and sunset; you shall never see elsewhere as […]

Meat and math

“The story of the 21st century will be, in part, the story of the drawing and redrawing of these battle lines, the story of Homo sapiens trying to stake a claim on shifting ground, flanked by beast and machine, pinned between meat and math.” Love these last two images – the whole (not too complex […]

Now reading

Reading now: Nalo Hopkinson Midnight Robber Lauren Beukes Zoo City Marc von Schlegell Mercury Station Paul Grainge Monochrome Memories. Nostalgia and Style in Retro America

Write into dread

“My tendency is to write into dread in order to reveal to myself, as much as to any reader that may come after, the varied complacencies that make other, mostly more conventional writings, readable. It’s at the frontier between readability (security) and unreadability (terror) that I want to live creatively. That frontier is dread, a […]

The New Pornography

Do not imagine that the pornography upon which you are engaged will ever authorize any possible explanation, interpretation, or knowledge of the world; you have riskier, more interesting work to do. Pornographic invention is neither an alternative form of knowledge, nor does it replace knowledge. Rather, it is the irreducible supplement of knowing, pornographic invention […]

Reincarnation

You really go through different incarnations, in effect. That in any life your body changes, and where you live changes – the people in your life, your work, your habits. All that changes, so much that in effect you pass though several incarnations in any one biological span. And what I think is, if you […]

Riding Towards Everywhere

One night not long ago, in a certain desert valley that I love, a farewell gathering for friends had ended, and we were all feeling sad. Since I had been sitting in company for hours, I decided to return to the ranch alone and on foot. It was an easy walk of three or four […]

Now Reading

Reading now: J. K. Gibson-Graham A Postcapitalist Politics (2006) Paul Auster Sunset Park (2010) Gene Wolfe Pirate Freedom (2010) Just (sort of) watched: Triangle(2009) Enter the Void(2009) Avetik(1992)

Underground London ca. 1919

Serge, Audrey and Becky visit the salon several times over the next few weeks. After a while Becky teaches them the password sequence so that they can go without her: it consists of the visitor enquiring whether there’ll be a piano recital today, and the servant (since Madame Z’s seems to be open round the […]

Mieville on metaphor

“I’ve been very interested in metaphor for several years, and it’s been cropping up in the books (and does in ones not yet out). I don’t know that I can say that much super-rigorous about it, but basically I got interested in, in distinction to some of my other ‘fantasy’ novels, the idea of magic […]

Now Reading

Douwe Draaisma Machina metafor. Historia pamieci China Mieville Kraaken Jeff VanderMeer Third Bear Roger Luckhurst Science Fiction

The desert

I keep seeing the words. Heat, space, stillness, distance. They’ve become visual states of mind. I’m not sure what that means. I keep seeing figures in isolation, I see past physical dimension into the feelings that these words engender, feelings that deepen over time. That’s the other word, time. I drove and looked. He stayed […]

Reading novels

“Reading novels – serious novels, anyhow – is an experience limited to a very small percentage of the so-called enlightened public. Increasingly, it’s going to be a pursuit for those who seek unusual experiences, moral fetishists perhaps, people of heightened imagination, the troubled pursuers of the ambiguous self.” Jerzy Kosinski

Jean-Luc Nancy

“Between story and truth” Jean-Luc Nancy One day, the gods retreated. On their own, they retreated from their divinity, that is to say, from their presence. What remains of their presence is what remains of all presence when it absents itself: what remains is what one can say about it. What can be said about […]

Beauty in the eye

“The beauty of Mars exists in the human mind,” he said in that dry factual tone, and everyone stared at him amazed. “Without the human presence it is just a collection of atoms, no different than any other random speck of matter in the universe. It’s we who understand it, and we who give it […]