A Feast Impending. Our Ruin to Come. It Becomes Symmetry (The Last War in Albion Book Two Part Thirty-Four: In Pictopia!)

Figure 969: Left: First two panels of "In Pictopia." Right: Last two panels of "In Pictopia," showing Moore's characteristic elipticism. (Written by Alan Moore, art by Don Simpson and Eric Vincent, in Anything Goes #2, 1986)

Previously in The Last War in Albion: Alan Moore wrote a short story called "In Pictopia" for a Fantagraphics charity anthology. We discussed a lot of implications of those last three words and never managed to get to the story itself. 

In many ways, the story of “In Pictopia” is one of the strip constantly overperforming. Moore’s original commitment to Groth was two four-page strips, but he found the idea of “In Pictopia” too big to fit into such a small container, and ended up doing one eight-page script, although given that Simpson then expanded the script to thirteen pages, in terms of Moore’s short work it’s perhaps easiest to frame it as a forty-panel script, compared to his Future Shocks, which tended to have panel counts in the high twenties. And thinking of “In Pictopia” as a super-sized Future Shock is helpful, as Moore is using techniques he honed at IPC. The overall structure is typically elliptical - both the first and ...

Neoreaction, Rationalism, and Eliezer Yudkowsky

Last War in Albion this afternoon

So, there's been a line of complaint about Neoreaction a Basilisk (my new book, currently funding on Kickstarter) that accuses it of being an attempt to slander "rationalism," and specifically Eliezer Yudkowsky, by linking them to neoreaction. And of being part of a communist propaganda campaign to this end. It's not. 

This weird theory mostly been pushed by a guy who blogs under the name nydwracu who's active in both circles, which highlights the irony of the complaint(though he's been pushing it on social media, not that blog)  I've sent him a preview copy, so he can at least trash talk it honestly now. Of course, he's a white nationalist, and we know how good they are at intellectual honesty

All the same, it's a serious enough concern that I want to address it, if only because it's a concern Yudkowsky himself raised while news of the book was first flitting about the aether, and while there are some significant ways in which I do not respect Eliezer Yudkowsky, he seems a nice bloke, and I genuinely don't want to cause him ...

Why Jack and I Will Write About the Austrian School for Money

EDIT: Text of a Twitter DM exchange where Jack and I accidentally started hashing out the essay appended to the bottom.

The Neoreaction a Basilisk Kickstarter is presently having its second-best day so far, meaning that it's stormed through the "Theses on Trump" threshold, and we're now looking at the $8000 stretch goal of me and Jack writing an essay on Austrian School economics. (Also, there's now a Twitter poll for what the order of the next two stretch goals should be. And a $7000 mini-stretch goal on the Kickstarter to check out.) Unlike "Theses on Trump" and "The Blind All-Seeing Eye of Gamergate," there's no demo of the Austrian School essay written - it doesn't even have a for-certain title yet. But I can at least talk a little about why it's a thing, and why I asked Jack to write about it. (And Jack will be along later to add his perspective.) And if it sounds interesting, well, the link's at the top of the post.

So, first of all, why this goes in a book with everything else. Which is pretty simple - the Austrian School is a tremendously influential school of ...

Shabcast 19, Part 2

Today's image is of Magneto killing some Nazis.  Because I like that.

The exciting conclusion to Shabcast 19 is now available to listen or download here.

Here are some links to things referred to in both parts of the conversation:

Here's some more info on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, the 2007 Boston Mooninite Panic, and the subsequent press conference.

And here's Susan of Texas on the awful Ross Douthat.


Also, here's a link to Kit Power's new piece about Hillsborough.  It's excellent.

And here's Norman Finkelstein talking some much-needed sense about the so-called anti-Semitism crisis in Labour.

Comics Reviews (May 4th, 2016)

A-Force #5

You can pretty much see Marvel deciding this isn't actually a book they care about anymore. Its lineup seems incompatible with Civil War II, its star writer is gone, and it's clearly biding time til cancellation. Thompson is a perfectly fine writer - it's notably not as though Wilson was slaying on it - but there's an awkwardness here, such as Nico needlessly re-explaining the restrictions on her powers to a character who should know already. Meanwhile Ben Caldwell, much as I loved his Wonder Woman strip back in Wednesday Comics, is an awkward fit here, and the book as a whole just feels like disposable ballast for the lower end of the sales charts. Alas.

Radioactive Spider-Gwen #8

The Spider-Women crossover finally has a bit of a dud. Only a bit - this isn't a bad issue or anything - but the decisiveness with which it's moved on to Act Two is a bit jarring, and the structure of this issue ends up having Gwen be a spectator to the mostly less interesting Cindy Moon. Still, this is heads and shoulders above most Marvel crossovers, and I'm hoping this is just a bum issue (which ...

Eruditorum Presscast: David Gerard (Neoreaction a Basilisk 1)

This month I'm joined by a variety of cool guests to whom I sent preview copies of Neoreaction a Basilisk to talk about the book. First up is David Gerard, who's been volunteer copyediting the book, and to whom I serialized it as I was writing it in 2000 word chunks. We talk about why on Earth he agreed to do such a ridiculous thing, and about what's so interesting (and frustrating) about the three major figures of the book, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Mencius Moldbug, and Nick Land. It's a fun chat, and you can check it out here.

And, more importantly, you can back Neoreaction a Basilisk on Kickstarter here - we're just over $1000 away from "Theses on Trump."

Neoreaction a Basilisk: Excerpt Three

Thanks to all who have been making the Kickstarter for Neoreaction a Basilisk such a success - at $4469 right now, and happily plugging along towards "Theses on Trump." Here's a third excerpt from the main book, as we digress into another discussion of red pills and the notion of "pwning" a person, as in Moldbug's multi-part essay "How Dawkins Got Pwned" before, inevitably, arriving at Hannibal Lecter. As always, if you enjoy, please consider backing the Kickstarter here.

Moldbug unpacks this in terms of Dawkins’ own famed biological metaphor for ideas as “memes,” focusing on the idea of a parasitic memeplex, which is to say, a hostile and destructive cluster of ideas. Being Moldbug, he approaches this in preposterously manichean terms, proclaiming that “when we see two populations of memes in conflict, we know both cannot be healthy, because a healthy meme is true by definition and the truth cannot conflict with itself.” Which, hahaha no. I mean, you don’t even need to plunge into postmodern notions of multiple and variant truths to recognize that, when we’re working in any sort of immunology, biological or memetic, the notion of “healthy” and “unhealthy” is not a straightforward ...


So that’s that, then; we’re safe. Nemesis contained in a singular, defined terrain, the rest of creation free for our joyously innocent explorations. Oh boy, we’ve even got a good game up next, Super Metroid. Indeed, an excellent game; no one would judge you for declaring it your favorite for the system. A top five without it seems contrarian.

Let us simply bask in its presence.

Sentimentally, it pays a lingering debt from the NES era. Metroid is a curate’s egg; a brilliant game ruined by its limitations. Metroid II improved it, but was ultimately constrained by the tinny confines of the Game Boy’s grey-on-brown monochrome, a tantalizing glimpse of what could be. More broadly, there’s the whole genre of the exploration-platformer, which had been done pretty well - Castlevania II, for instance, or even arguably Metroid - but never brilliantly.

Until Super Metroid, of course. We have talked before about the Super Nintendo as the decadent phase of platformers, home to finely polished perfections of a form on the brink of decline. Nothing embodies this more than Super Metroid, a game so good Castlevania managed to outlast the rest of the genre by a full seven years by ripping it off ...

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