machine cycle upgrade

“Expelled as commander to be integrated as connector, the human is transformed by its own works from a brain legislating life to a ligament binding machine cycles.” Brian Massumi, quoted by Pierre Joris in “Nomad Poetics” I stayed in a Mercure Hotel last night (the picture’s the view from my room), and was struck by […]

Friedman, Capitalism and Fantasy

Fantasy’s often condemned for ignoring reality; but much supposedly rational, descriptive writing can have a tenuous relationship with reality, and with the fundamental structures of reality, too. Stories of the fantastic at least have the virtue of being honest about their fictive nature. Take Milton Friedman, for example. I’ve just been reading ‘Capitalism and Freedom’ […]

What’s a person anyway?

So much narrative removes the possibility of change. Although faced by risk, the hero always win out, the quality and correctness of his or her original vision unchallenged. They’re superficially about progress, but in fact such narratives privilege stasis. The hero might develop new skills (whether practical or emotional) to allow them to achieve their […]

A mirror to shine in

Seeing a ghost is like experiencing a fragment of someone else’s memory; an insistent, present, repeated moment broken out of all context. Fiction takes such fragments and sets them in a reasoned and coherent narrative and emotional context. For example, there’s Jack Torrance in Stephen King’s novel ‘The Shining’. He’s trapped in the Overlook Hotel, […]