An existential odyssey weaving together lived experience and theoretical insight, this startling autobiographical hyperfiction surveys and dissects a world where everything connects and global technological delirium is the norm. The mediascapes of late capitalism reconfigure erotic responses and trigger primal aggression; under constant surveillance, we occupy simulations of ourselves, private estates on a hyperconnected globe; fictions reprogram reality, memories are rewritten by the future... Fleeing the excesses of 1990s cyberculture, a young researcher sets out to systematically analyse the obsessively reiterated themes of a writer who prophesied the disorienting future we now inhabit. The story of his failure is as disturbingly psychotropic as those of his magus—J.G. Ballard, prophet of the post-postmodern, voluptuary of the car crash, surgeon of the pathological virtualities pulsing beneath the surface of reality. Plagued by obsessive fears, defeated by the tedium of academia, yet still certain that everything connects to Ballard, his academic thesis collapses into a series of delirious travelogues, deranged speculations and tormented meditations on time, memory, and loss. Abandoning literary interpretation and renouncing all scholarly distance, he finally accepts the deep assignment that has run throughout his entire life, and embarks on a rogue fieldwork project: Applied Ballardianism, a new discipline and a new ideal for living. Only the darkest impulses, the most morbid obsessions, and the most apocalyptic paranoia can uncover the technological mutations of inner space. An existential odyssey inextricably weaving together lived experience and theoretical insight, this startling autobiographical hyperfiction surveys and dissects a world where everything connects and global technological delirium is the norm—a world become unmistakably Ballardian.
Providing an extensive reassessment of dominant and recurring themes in Ballard's writing, including historical violence, pornography, post 9/11 politics, and urban space, this book also engages with Ballard's 'late' modernism; his experimentation with style and form; and his sustained interests in psychology and psychopathology.
In the wake of the debates over high/low culture distinction spilling into the effective dismantling of the boundary that once separated them, the past decade has seen the explosion of ‘bad taste’ production on screen. Starting with paracinema or ‘badfilm’ – a movement that has grown up around sleazy, excessive, or poorly executed B-movies and has come to encompass disreputable and unworthy films – this trend has been evident in various formats: on television and in video-art, low-budget and straight to TV films, amateur and home movies. The proliferation of trash on screen can be seen as delivering the final blow to the vexed issue of taste. More importantly, it prompts a reconsideration of some critical issues surrounding production, circulation, understanding and teaching of ‘bad objects’ in the media. This collection of essays, written by international film and television scholars, provides detailed critical analysis of the issues surrounding judgements of cultural value and taste, feeling and affect, cultural morals and politics, research methodologies and teaching strategies in the new landscape of ‘after taste’ media. Addressing global and local developments – from global Hollywood to Australian indigenous film and television, through auteurs Sergei Eisenstein to Jerry Bruckheimer, on to examples such as Twilight to Sukiyaki Western Django – the essays in this book offer a range of critical tools for understanding the recent shifts affecting cultural, aesthetic and political value of the moving image. This book was originally published as a special issue of Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies.
Genre-defying fiction that accelerates "cross-cultural dialogue" into a kaleidoscopic rush of sensory estrangements, fairy tales, and alien encounters. "There's really no difference between us and them, so we're told...." Based on the author's experiences of living as an American in Iran, Kristen Alvanson's XYZT is a wildly imaginative dramatization of the idea of a "dialogue of civilizations" and its potentially outlandish ramifications. As part of an advanced technological test program, volunteers are shuttled back and forth between the US and Iran, hidden from the watchful eyes of immigration police and state bureaucracies. Each is given a single opportunity to be received by a local host and to have a brief authentic experience of what it means to live as “them” before being transported back home. But far from heralding the bliss of mutual recognition, the experiment unleashes a series of displacements so disorienting that the fabric of reality begins to fray. Ordinary people become entangled in extraordinary situations, and everyday life bleeds into mythological encounters, alternate universes and dark psychedelic journeys in alien lands where the real and the imaginary are indistinguishable. A treasury of tales told from multiple perspectives and in a multiplicity of styles, XYZT is an audacious cross-genre experiment, a firsthand memoir of what it means to see what "they" see, and a science-fictional, nonstandard engagement with anthropology in which cross-cultural encounters take on all the unpredictable features of a contemporary fairy tale.
No ordinary critic, Norman Spinrad explicates, celebrates, and sometimes excoriates science fiction from the privileged perspective of an artist armed with intimate knowledge of the craft of fiction and even of the writers themselves. In these 13 essays, Spinrad urges science fiction as a genre to reach its potential. He divides the essays—new works written specifically for this book combined with those that appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine—into five sections: "Literature and Genre: A Critical Overview," in which Spinrad establishes his critical standards; "Alternate Media: Visual Translations," a discussion of comic books and books made into movies; "Modes of Content: Hard SF, Cyberpunk, and the Space Visionaries"; "Psychopolitics and Science Fiction: Heroes—True and Otherwise"; and "Masters of the Form: Careers in Profile," discussions of Sturgeon, Vonnegut, Ballard, and Dick.