06 July 2007

You know me. Prepare to die.

Hmph. No saucers again?

Anyway, the big news is that this blog is about to be kickstarted into life with a series of guest contributions. I won't spoil the surprise of who or what just yet, but I will undertake to act as a bit of a "warm-up act", to make sure you're still watching.

Longtime readers may know that I am impressed by the work of the sci-fi author Lawrence Miles - although perhaps less because of his work (mindfuckingly good as it is in places), but because the kind of things he says in interviews and blogs come off as extremely similar to a lot of the basic ideas behind Chaos Marxism. Unfortunately the site which used to archive his interviews has fallen victim to a time paradox, but behold the magic of intarwebz necromancy! Have a good browse.

I want to point out one of the most interesting ideas that come out of his Faction Paradox mythos. In this mythos based around time travel, all of humanity's history is featured, from the australopithecines to the "post-human" civilisations that will exist after Earth and its sun are no more and beyond. In the entry from The Book of the War on "Humanity", Larry (I think it's him, anyway) explains that in this timeline, just about now, in the early 21st century, (the "Ghost Point" of human history), all human cultural progression stops, and then begins to go backward. At one level this is supposed to explain why science fiction futures always look like, as Douglas Adams puts it, "the present with faster cars and smellier air". But it's also a representation of how the dominant culture thinks. To quote Marx: for the bourgeoisie, history was something that used to happened but has now thankfully stopped, with the right people in charge. If anyone paid me for it, I could write a very interesting Marxist analysis of the place of the Time Lords in the Doctor Who and related mythoses.

In any case, Larry in his other articles rants and raves about what he sees as this closing down of human potential that he sees all around him in the stultification and conformity of the mass media. He's no Marxist - he's a consistent and principled left-liberal who has not become reconciled to the victory of neo-liberalism but can't see any way out of the predicament. I hear his later work This Town Will Never Let Us Go is an extended meditation on these themes, and I may have to write about it.

If Chaos Marxism has any real point, it is to make sure that the Ghost Point is not allowed to happen. Well, of course, it wouldn't, because (given current science and human nature) you could never have a static society, or even one which gradually fell to bits over a long period. The choices are still socialism or barbarism. To quote another, more naive Doctor Who spin-off, "The 21st century is where it all starts." Or, alternatively, stops.

A parting thought - the reason most of this isn't written down in book or academic article form yet is pretty much that I don't want to be one of those wankerish "Marxist cultural commentators" who make a living pointing out the class relations of the lifeboat crew as the Titanic is going down. When Chaos Marxism is presented in for-the-masses form, it will be as a how-to guide. "101 Things An Enterprising Cultural Revolutionary Can Do To Seriously Fuck Things Up, As Opposed To Creating A Niche Market So You Can Buy A Flash Hybrid Car", or something like that. I want this to be eminently practical, and I get frustrated that I haven't got results that would stand up to peer-reviewed scrutiny yet. But I am working on it.