Teeming Links – April 11, 2014

FireHead

Apparently, the whole of West Virginia has now become a sacrifice zone for the coal industry.

Did you know there’s an average of one train derailment every single day in America? This is why the oil transport industry is basically a giant, horrible, environmentally apocalyptic accident just waiting to happen.

You know all that propaganda in the past handful of years that scornfully dismisses warnings about peak oil and fossil fuels because of a “new oil boom”? Don’t be fooled: the era of world-changing energy transition is indeed upon us.

In light of the above, here’s a caution, clarification, and reality check: futurologists are almost always wrong, especially when they sound like techno-utopians and/or doomsday preachers.

Welcome to the new Gilded Age: “We haven’t just gone back to nineteenth-century levels of income inequality, we’re also on a path back to ‘patrimonial capitalism,’ in which the commanding heights of the economy are controlled not by talented individuals but by family dynasties.”

Welcome to the end of night: “An eternal electric day is creeping across the globe, but our brains and bodies cannot cope in a world without darkness.”

Beware modern medicine, which decreases our chance of a good death: “Death used to be a spiritual ordeal; now it’s a technological flailing. We’ve taken a domestic and religious event, in which the most important factor was the dying person’s state of mind, and moved it into the hospital and mechanized it, putting patients, families, doctors, and nurses at the mercy of technology.”

If you keep planning, but failing, to ditch Facebook and other social media, maybe this explains: “It is hard to resist a technology that is also a tool of pleasure. The Luddites smashed their power looms, but who wants to smash Facebook — with all one’s photos, birthday greetings, and invitations? New digital technologies, particularly social media, make money by encouraging us to spend our lives on their platforms.”

Worried about the rise of Big Data? Then good news! The whole field may be total bullshit: “At worst, according to David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge university, [the major claims about Big Data] can be ‘complete bollocks. Absolute nonsense.'”

Check it out: a fascinating examination of psychedelic, shamanic, and magickal themes in video game culture.

My first publication in print form came in the 2002 Del Rey horror anthology The Children of Cthulhu, where I was honored to share book space with many authors whom I had long admired. Among these was Alan Dean Foster, some of whose earlier work, including several of his Star Wars novels and the story basis he provided for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, played an important part in my science fiction education during adolescence. Then in 2011 I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and chatting with him at MythosCon.  So he’s always on my radar, and that’s why it’s nice to come across some high praise for his classic novelization of Alien, which is now out in a 35th Anniversary Edition.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on April 11, 2014, in Teeming Links and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This came across my path the other day – I’d be surprised if you haven’t linked to it somewhere, but just in case…: http://chronicle.com/article/Embrace-the-Unexplained/145557/

    🙂

    • Thanks for helping to keep the radar coverage broad, Wendy. That item, along with a couple of others that are related to it (specifically, its sequel — Jeff wrote a “Part Two” a couple of days ago — and Jerry Coyne’s negative response), is already queued for linkage and discussion in a Teeming Brain post to be published this coming Monday. Great minds, thinking alike, and all that. 🙂

  2. I’m currently researching hyperborean gnosticism. After speaking with my professor he recommended me Harold Bloom’s The Flight To Lucifer, and David Lyndsay’s A Voyage To Arcturus which Harold Bloom’s book is a sequel to. He’s also recommended me Ennemoser’s History of Magic; Ignatius Donnely’s Ragnarok and Atlantis; and Mallet’s Northern Antiquities (Henry Bohn edition). The reason I mention this besides something hip and happening right now in my personal life is that I was struck in the videogame shamanism article by the user’s fixation on Nintendo games… I consider Sony to be more hyperborean , less intoxicated, more gnostic, more hyperborean in the sense that they’re aware of weather, environment, climate, to do with empathy , in ways that are profound above and beyond Nintendo games. [ related, Sony’s ESP lab, http://disinfo.com/2013/03/e-s-p-exists-inside-sonys-corporate-research/ , believe it] . Sony games are often preoccupied with themes of woe, lament, dread, that transcend time and space , that are personable and transcendent, transformative. Think of any Sony exclusive… Jak & Daxter, Demon’s Souls, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, Silent Hill, etc.. they’re far more concerned with psi, the supernatural, and its power in and of itself for transcendental awakening.

    • description of A Voyage To Arcturus,

      A stunning achievement in speculative fiction, A Voyage to Arcturus has inspired, enchanted, and unsettled readers for decades. It is simultaneously an epic quest across one of the most unusual and brilliantly depicted alien worlds ever conceived, a profoundly moving journey of discovery into the metaphysical heart of the universe, and a shockingly intimate excursion into what makes us human and unique. After a strange interstellar journey, Maskull, a man from Earth, awakens alone in a desert on the planet Tormance, seared by the suns of the binary star Arcturus. As he journeys northward, guided by a drumbeat, he encounters a world and its inhabitants like no other, where gender is a victory won at dear cost; where landscape and emotion are drawn into an accursed dance; where heroes are killed, reborn, and renamed; and where the cosmological lures of Shaping, who may be God, torment Maskull in his astonishing pilgrimage. At the end of his arduous and increasingly mystical quest waits a dark secret and an unforgettable revelation. A Voyage to Arcturus was the first novel by writer David Lindsay (1878–1945), and it remains one of the most revered classics of science fiction. This commemorative edition features an introduction by noted scholar and writer of speculative fiction John Clute and a famous essay by Loren Eiseley.

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