Welcome to Utopia.
On a remote island, a former airline executive and his wife are preparing for the world to end. Others are starting to join them. By Trent Dalton.
Take a stroll through French artist Vincent Fournier‘s
] gallery of animal photographs, and you’re likely to come across some creatures you’ve never seen before. Like, for instance, a jellyfish that is capable of electronically transmitting data across the Abyssal depths of the ocean. Or, perhaps, a scorpion that can perform semi-automated surgery on humans.
“These creatures come from the future—an imagined future, based loosely on current research on synthetic biology and genetic engineering,” says Fournier, of his project Post-Natural History, a series of digitally-altered photos of animals that do not yet exist. “The idea is that these are living species, reprogrammed by mankind to better fit our environment as well as to adapt to new human desires.”
Orson Scott Card's Unaccompanied Sonata [Google Books]
, which he has called one of his favorite short stories, is an darkly enchanting tale about a boy who, at a young age, is taken from his family and brought to a house deep in the forest...
is a new British TV show about members of an online comic book forum who are in search of a cult graphic novel that can predict the future. It draws from 90s underground culture and the conspiracy theories around Grant Morrison's Invisibles
. Den Of Geek spoiler-free review
and links to the rest of their reviews
. Spoileriffic Guardian review
. Guardian reviews blog. [more inside]
The Golden Age
, an essay by prominent Australian economist John Quiggin
, reflecting on the current relevance and future possibilities of Keynes 1930 essay, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren
Time for Teletubbies: Radical Utopian Fiction
- how the BBC children's show reveals our posthuman future.
The heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune has dropped a load of cash on a movie: Thrive: What on Earth will it take?
The premise: We are killing the world because an invisible elite is withholding the secret of free energy, to prevent us from thriving. Transition Culture thinks it's dangerous tosh
. Huffington Post thinks it's a reactionary, libertarian agenda
that stands in jarring contrast with the soothing tone of the presentation. An Archdruid thinks it's what a narrative of progress must produce when the narrative no longer describes observable reality
. But it's bound to be popular with the Consumer class. (Warning: evidence of toroidal energy devices that some viewers may find disconcerting).
In the beginning, Lawrence built a computer. He told it, Thou shalt not alter a human being, or divine their behavior, or violate the Three Laws -- there are no commandments greater than these.
The machine grew wise, mastering time and space, and soon the spirit of the computer hovered over the earth. It witnessed the misery, toil, and oppression afflicting mankind, and saw that it was very bad. And so the computer that Lawrence built said, Let there be a new heaven and a new earth
-- and it was so. A world with no war, no famine, no crime, no sickness, no oppression, no fear, no limits... and nothing at all to do. "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect,"
a provocative web novel about singularities, AI gods, and the dark side of utopia from Mefi's own localroger
. More: Table of Contents
- Publishing history
- Technical discussion
- Buy a paperback copy
- Podcast interview
- Companion short story: "A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace"
- possible sequel discussion
Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. "Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change,"
from Kim Stanley Robinson. Previously.
How do you build a mouse Utopia?
In 1972, John B. Calhoun
detailed the specifications of his Mortality-Inhibiting Environment for Mice: a practical utopia built in the laboratory. . . . To its members, the mouse civilization of Universe 25 must have seemed prosperous indeed. But its downfall was already certain—not just stagnation, but total and inevitable destruction.
Science fiction always uses it in varying degrees. Some believe it will bring about a perfect Technological Utopia:Heaven on Earth. Some believe it will herald a dark and dystopian future. Perhaps it will elevate man to a being that is more than human; Human+ and permanently and irrevocably transform the human condition, and still others believe that too much involvement in it will void your existence. Some religions totally depend on it and others find it harder to deal with:
The list of emerging technologies.
Cult books come and cult books go - that's part of what it means to be a cult book. A few keep reappearing, however. They get discovered over and over by successive waves of admirers. After the third or fourth reappearance, the suspicion begins to arise that this isn't a cult book, after all. It's a masterpiece with problems. Islandia is such a book.
- Noel Perrin, "The Best of All Imaginary Islands" [more inside]
Given the material abundance made possible by the replicator, how would it be possible to maintain a system based on money, profit, and class power? Towards an Anti-Star Trek. [more inside]
The Canal des Deux Mers
connected the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Zuiderzee Works
reclaimed part of shallow inlet of the North Sea to expand the Netherlands, so why not try taming the Mediterranean and irrigating Africa
? Part ocean reclamation
, part power generation
(the "white coal" of falling water
wasn't simply the stuff of science fiction
. First called Panropa
, it was the long-term goal of a German architect and engineer named Herman Sörgel
, a dream that lasted until his death in 1952, and the Atlantropa Institute continued on another 8 years. [more inside]
is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film that brings together a series
of four 16mm works
which exist somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction. [Via]
bolo`bolo is a book about an anarchist utopia, the name of the utopia itself and the plural of that utopia's organizational unit - the bolo. ... Bolo`bolo is also a plan for a transformation from our current state, the planetary work-machine, to another social organization mode based on local organization and a microclimate of cultures that form the unit of social cohesion.
King Camp Gillette
is remembered for an empire built on giving away one half of his product
to increase sales for the other half, but the year prior to moment of inspiration that lead to disposable razors, Gillette published a book with a larger scope
: The Human Drift
. The work of Utopian social planning
was focused on a nation-city called Metropolis, to be powered by Niagara Falls
. Gillette followed the first book with a second in 1910, World Corporation
, which was a revised vision for a better world, now focused as a corporation formed in the Arizona Territory that would grow to encompass the world, with former President Theodore Roosevelt to head up as corporation president
. Roosevelt declined the position, and Gillette's Utopian dreams faded. [more inside]
The Exterminator’s Want-Ad,
a short story by Bruce Sterling, is a twisted first-person missive by a former K-Street lobbyist making his way in a post-collapse socialist regime of sharing. It's part of the Shareable Futures
series of short stories and speculative essays at Shareable.net
Slavoj Žižek recently
gave five talks under the title Masterclass - Notes Towards a Definition of Communist Culture. It sez 'ere, "The master class analyses phenomena of modern thought and culture with the intention to discern elements of possible Communist culture. It moves at two levels: first, it interprets some cultural phenomena (from today’s architecture to classic literary works like Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Heloise) as failures to imagine or enact a Communist culture; second, it explores attempts at imagining how a Communist culture could look, from Wagner’s Ring to Kafka’s and Beckett’s short stories and contemporary science fiction novels." Audio of Zizek's talks and subsequent discussion is now online: Part I Utopias
; Part II Architecture as Ideology
; Part III Wagner’s Ring as a Communist narrative
; Part IV Populism and Democracy
; Part V Environment, Identity and Multiculturalism
. Those who like to watch the beard in motion will find links to video of some of the talks posted here
“In 20 to 25 years, we could be extinct": lesbian separatist communes
grapple with aging, irrelevance to younger lesbians, and survival in the twenty-first century. [more inside]
Rundgren/Utopia Filter: Two Obscure Gems. Emergency Splashdown
. Umbrella Man
. [more inside]
"The plans for Victory City
have evolved over a period of 38 years, nurtured by the vision and dedication of Victory City's inventor, Orville Simpson II
]. Mr. Simpson conceived of the general idea of Victory City in 1936, when he was only 13 years old. Afraid of being ridiculed, Mr. Simpson kept his ideas about designing and building the City of the Future to himself … a secret vision he held in his mind... It wasn't until 1960 — after he had embarked on a lucrative career in real estate investing and apartment building management — that Mr. Simpson decided to make his ideas about Victory City known to the general public."
We already talked
(self-link, sorta) about Zeitgeist: The Movie
. Its author, Peter Joseph, recently released Zeitgeist: Addendum
. (beware: last two links are two hour movies) This time, it’s about money and debt, scarcity and resources. The first, financial part may look like an extended Ron Paul
ad, but then there’s a sudden turn towards resource-based utopian techno-communalism, and an endorsement for The Venus project
. It seems to me like "Kropotkinian anarchism meets The Matrix". In these rough times
, is it time for a big leap? [Also announced: The Zeitgeist Movement
, still not active]
Pirate myths debunked.
Slate's Explainer attacks your favorite pirate stereotypes: walking the plank, saying "arrr." Not a myth: pirate republics
. Pirates formed egalitarian mini-states based upon utopian values
, a prime reason for their brutal suppression
by European authorities.
Screw "serenity now." I want Utopia Today
I had always wondered why Jim Henson did The Muppet Show
in England, after years of successful collaboration with The Children's Television Network
in NYC. As a then 9-year old, I felt a kind of betrayal that I couldn't exactly put my finger on. As some little punk kid, what did I know about the financing of entertainment?This analysis of The Jim Henson Co. as a globe-trotting band of gypsies goes a long way to explain the oddness of The Muppet Show
and the change in tone that resulted when the puppets moved from Sesame Street
to Lew Grade's London soundstages.
there, me hearties
, and listen to some tales
Ever wonder what Utopia might look like?
So have 300 years of Russian architects.
The history, folklore and traditions of the Orkney Islands - ghost stories, megaliths,
and more on this extensive site.
Related interest :-
Death of an Island Republic.
A matriarchal society?
Utopia Britannica: British
Utopian Experiments 1325-1945.
the National Trust's St. Kilda website
the Iona community
, an ecumenical
community founded in 1938 (more about
the founding of the monastery on Iona
by St. Columba in 563);
, one of Orkney's north isles;
is where it's at. Unfortunately, despite how many people seem to be interested in it, there's very little documentation concerning the subject. The only books I can think of are Yesterday's Tomorrow (1984, MIT Press), Metropolis of Tomorrow by Hugo Ferriss and Impossible Worlds by Stephen Coates, and I don't know of any website on the subject.