The World in the Satin Bag has moved to my new website.  If you want to see what I'm up to, head on over there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brain Freeze: Where to next?

I've come to a standstill on this blog. That's not to say I don't have anything else to say, just that I'm not sure where to go next. Having now finished the cyberpunk series, I've hit a point where I can offer nothing more on punk literature, primarily because I do not know enough about the other movements. Steampunk is something I've yet to spend considerable time reading, and all the newer punks (dieselpunk, biopunk, greenpunk, etc.) are either too new to have grown into established subgenres or unfamiliar to me.

I also suspect that going on a long tear on capitalism in science fiction, particularly the critique of it, would be of little interest to all of you reading this blog. I do not want to come off as the radical Marxist science fiction guy, because I am not a Marxist by any stretch of the imagination. I simply see between the lines and readily admit that capitalism is like any other system: flawed and easily manipulated by people with "agendas." But, I like capitalism; when regulated, it is one of the best economic models in existence. Unfortunately, this is getting away from the point of this post.

In the course of writing the cyberpunk series, however, I found myself becoming remarkably out of the loop in the SF/F community. I used to have a good idea about the goings on, but it seems that has changed, or I simply find those things that are going on to be rather trite or meaningless.

So, this is where I ask all of you a few questions: what are you interested in? What do you want my opinion on, or what do you feel is a pressing issue that needs addressing? Where do you think or want me to go next? I value your opinions and thoughts, which is why I am asking.

Yes, this seems like I'm fishing for blogging ideas from all of you, but it is also to help me get a grasp on things that I otherwise would be unable to address. Graduate school and teaching, being what they are, does not lend one excessive amounts of free time for external research. That means, right now, I am focused on my studies, on what I intend to write about for my masters thesis, rather than on what is outside of that narrow world. I'd like you all to inject a bit of chaos into that mix (good chaos; I think I've had plenty of bad chaos lately, what with sick animals, broken computers, and all manner of teaching problems filling up the gaps). Push me in new directions.

Leave a comment!

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book


  1. I don't know if you would want to dive into it, but lately I have reading a lot of the New Wave writers of the 60s and 70s (Aldiss, Ballard, Disch, Moorcock, Harrison, Russ, Ellison, etc) and think there is a great deal of awesomeness that has been for a large part ignored or forgetten by both current readers and writers. I have been making up my reading list as I have been going along, with little/no systematic process in mind.
    Readers now are bombarded with new new new almost every week, so it is easy to miss all the really good work that has been done over the past half century. Would a New Wave retrospective be of interest?
    Or, you know, its okay to induldge in critiques of capatalism through sci fi, and I think more people should be that engaged with what they read. There is the China Meiville co-edited collection on Marxism and SciFi that sounds pretty good.

  2. Tim: It would, but it would not be something I could speak to immediately. That would take time and research. I was hoping for some more immediate ideas, but I will stick your New Wave retrospective on my list of things to do. I need to get my reading chops up to speed again.

    As for the capitalism idea, that would probably work well, I think. I find that science fiction has a lot to say about radical forms of capitalism, and that could prove interesting in the future.

  3. Write to Wesleyian Press and ask for review copies of some of their latest books (all non-fiction examinations of SF). I think you should be able to get copies by noting that you are a grad student in the field, plus I think you'll find reading books by John Rieder and the MiƩville one Tim mentioned (oh, and Farah Mendlesohn's excellent Rhetorics of Fantasy may aid you in your research or at least provide you with interesting questions, which is much the same, no?) to be very helpful in terms of the footnotes stimulating your desire to explore other facets.

    As for the Marxist bit, I tend to use Marxist historiographical tools when examining cultural history, but that doesn't imply anything other than Marxists have developed some excellent interpretative tools. So why not use them if it'll help in critiquing things like capitalism in SF?

  4. Larry: Thank you. I should do that most definitely.

    I agree with you. Marx is a lot like Freud: the ideas don't exactly work anymore, but they're still interesting to use when examining literature!

  5. Anonymous2:17 AM

    "I also suspect that going on a long tear on capitalism in science fiction, particularly the critique of it, would be of little interest to all of you reading this blog..."

    You suspect wrongly in my case! I think that would be fascinating. Specifically if you were to get into a dissection of the unspoken socioeconomic assumptions that underlie the sf/f mainstream. NO ONE is doing this to my knowledge, and you seem to have the intellectual chops to give it a go.

  6. Anon: You, sir (or madam), are surely overestimating my intellectual abilities.

    I will certainly think on it, though, and see if I can't come up with something! I can't guarantee it will deal with the mainstream of sf/f, though. I find myself drawn more to the obscure when it comes to deep analysis. We'll see.

    And I imagine someone is doing this, just not someone famous or known by lots of people... Have you read Evan Calder's blog? He deals a lot with capitalism and this thing he coined called "salvagepunk." As of late he's been talking about zombies and other undead critters, but you should really check out his blood. He was my TA for a cyberpunk class I took at UC Santa Cruz. I think his blog is called Socialism or Barberism, but I bet if you Google "salvagepunk" he'll come up. He's apparently working on a book, and I hope to read it when it comes out.