The end of the world, whether wrought by Peak Oil, rising sea levels, the rage of nature, war, warlordism, nuclear conflagration or--D'oh!--tailored virus will not be achingly beautiful, nor morality tale. So will insist the Post-Elegiasts. This grumpy group of literary dissidents will be infuriated by the lightly disguised End-Times pornography of all the countless supposedly 'bleak' and 'dystopian' (right...) apocalypse fictions and culture. Visions of startlingly gorgeous ice floes under the Chrysler building, lugubrious lip-smacking depictions of ash landscapes, the lumpen bucolicism of all those overgrown cities, will not be for them.
Post-Elegiasts are to be united in scorn for what they will perceive as this cowardly surrender, and will term 'High Tea among the Ruins'. This will manifest in one of two very contrasting ways: the 'High' Post-Elegiasts will depict the not-end of the world, endless accelerating advances, perhaps including singularities, perhaps asymptotic improvements, never one-sided but doggedly progressive. The 'Low' or 'Punk' wing will revel instead in depictions of Ragnaroks of various kinds that are genuinely horrible, ends-of-the-world unrecuperable by sanctimonious aesthetics, ugly, base and totally depressing. These are to be considered the more daring artists, but will sell in very low numbers.
The influences of the High Post-Elegiasts will include Golden-Age Science Fiction, Extropianism, Futurology and Fabianism, as well as self-help manuals and Paolo Coelho. The Low will focus instead on splatterpunk, Pierre Guyotat and D. Keith Mano's The Bridge. Both wings will be united in their disdain for Alan Weisman, Richard Jefferies and Cormac McCarthy's The Road.
What to say: 'Fiction of justice beyond an eschatological horizon is exoneration.'
What not to say: 'Will Smith sucked but overgrown New York looked kewl.'
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Posted by Gerry Canavan at 12:40 PM