Cosmic Anthropology 101

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reviewing THE PERIPHERAL by William Gibson at DAILY GRAIL


My review of The Peripheral by William Gibson is up at Daily Grail. Here’s a sample:

Most notable to me, apart from the foreground of economical collapse and subsequent radical transformation, is the thread of extinction woven into the world view. One of the characters is in permanent mourning for the species being killed by the ecological collapse under way right now. Another keeps simulacra of animals long vanished from our world as household pets, resurrected to act as perhaps no more than a status object. As Gibson is wont to do, this is an emergent part of the zeitgeist that is being tapped into. The question it leaves me with most of all is, as consciousness of this is raised, what is to be done?

All of which makes The Peripheral more than just a tightly constructed, fascinating piece of story-telling. It makes it an important element in a cultural conversation that desperately needs to be more visibly taking place.

Read the whole thing.

Filed under reviews, william gibson

a short review of AUTÓMATA


Above are the opening titles that introduce Autómata and its setting of #neartermhumanextinction, #heavyspaceweather and #atemporality.

This movie is an instant classic that belongs on the shelf right between Bladerunner and Hardware; and just in case you’re not sure it’s full of explicit spot-the-Bladerunner-bingo references, and features Dylan McDermott in a role that could make you think he’s always been a gritty sf actor, and never some forgettable tv star (sorry guy).

Add in a simplified version of the Three Laws of Robotics for good measure and plot engineering…

It takes a while to build (/wade through the slow-fire execution of said plot engine), but where the film gets amazing is as an exploration of the robot-as-posthuman-as-humankind’s child species and the slow boot-up of a machine civilisation.

With dialog like:

“Where’s your boss?
“Boss’ is a human thought structure.


“We do not obey orders from humans. Not any more.”
“Kneel down. Why is it so difficult for you to accept my orders, if you’re just a machine?”
“Just a machine? That’s like saying you’re just an ape. Just a violent ape.

Who does the scorched earth belong to? Who is the fittest species now? Who is shedding all masks and earnestly marching into the future (desert of the real) to make their fate?


The first rule of (De)Extinction Club is…


Prompted by ello’s quick (d)evolution into becoming yet another soon to be forgotten FaceTwitter clone, rather than a unique, albeit anti-social social network and wanting to back-up the posts there that had developed into their own thing, and also with a need to create a new space to drop some excerpts from works-in-progress as they developed and also publish The Dark Extropian Report, which is a thing now… -deep breath- A new blog was called into existence from the great void.

voila! The (De)Extinction Club is born:

A website for dark extropians, extinction aesthetes and anyone interested in the sixth mass extinction, and the ethics and efforts of the resurrection of past species.

Totally not an asteroid death cult.

Featuring The Dark Extropian Report, annotated book club entries, (de)extinction files and more.

With accompanying internet newsletter, no less – sign up here.


I’ve already said too much. There are rules to this, after all.