Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (HBO, 2016). Westworld reconceptualizes lived experience by asking what “counts” as humanand what counts as death. ERIN E. EDWARDS Bring her back online. Westworld opens with a disembodied voice commanding the robotic “host,” Dolores Abernathy, to emerge from “sleep mode.” Dolores awakens into … More Posthumous posthumanism: Subverting the relationship between living and dead matter.
BY REBEKAH SHELDONAuthor of The Child to Come “Maybe it would be better not to survive.” That’s my favorite line from The Child to Come though I didn’t write it. It is spoken by Camilla Del Ray, a military woman and computer specialist from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s accidental colonization novel Darkover Landfall (1972), after learning … More Save Us.
Karen Pinkus is author of Fuel: A Speculative Dictionary, which is an idiosyncratic, speculative dictionary of fuels, real and imagined, historical and futuristic, hopeless and utopian. From “Air” to “Zyklon B,” entries in this unusual dictionary include Algae, Clathrates, Dilithium, Fleece, Goats, Theology, Whale Oil, and many, many more. This dictionary can help scramble our … More Fuel vs. energy: A new narrative, from A to Z
BY NIMA NAGHIBIAssociate professor of English at Ryerson University, Toronto In this first decade and a half of the twenty-first century, diasporic Iranians, many of them women, are deploying the autobiographical form to narrate their personal experiences of life in post-revolutionary Iran and in the diaspora. The explosion of life writing in North America since … More Nostalgia for a lost nation in diasporic Iranian memoir.
BY CARL H. SEDERHOLMProfessor of interdisciplinary humanities at Brigham Young University Under the right circumstances, certain texts suggest a “weird realism,” circumstances (as described by Graham Harman) when language either struggles to describe the impossibly real or when it overflows with multiple possibilities. One of H. P. Lovecraft’s strengths as a writer lies in his … More Alive in the Age of Lovecraft
BY ANDRÉ CARRINGTONAssistant professor of English at Drexel University In the 21st century, society has grown to rely on the axiom that “race” is a lie. For some people, out of paranoia or a desire to avoid conflict, touting the knowledge that race is socially constructed is a way of declaring that ignorance about what … More Racial justice, American exceptionalism, and speculative fiction
The military’s seizure of climate change and other environmental issuesis not as radically new as one might suppose.Image via Creative Commons. BY ROBERT P. MARZECAssociate professor of environmental and postcolonial studies, Purdue University In 1947, George F. Kennan, writing under the pseudonym “Mr. X,” published “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” in Foreign Affairs. The article … More On Climate Change War Games and "environmentality."
Shipwreck narratives, writes Steve Mentz, portray humanity caughtbetween divine fiat and the insufficient promise of human agency.The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt, 1633.Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons. BY STEVE MENTZSt. John’s University Humans love to tell stories that put humans at the center of things. In these fantasies, the Renaissance celebrates the … More Shipwreck narratives are central to the Age of Discovery.
Beyoncé (feat. Jay-Z) “Drunk in Love” Unofficial Emoji Video from JESSE HILL on Vimeo. BY JEFF SCHEIBLEAssistant professor of cinema studies at Purchase College, State University of New York Last year, Austin-based video producer Jesse Hill made a video to impress his girlfriend for Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “Drunk in Love” that transcribes the entire … More What do ellipses do for us?
BY PAUL STEPHENS In early 2012 I thought I had discovered the perfect title for my new project, which was to be a diary of my information habits. I wrote up several pages of notes under the title “Confessions of an Infomaniac.” Several weeks later I Googled the phrase, and to my chagrin found the … More Meditations of an Infomaniac, Part 2 of 2