I write things and am nominally in charge here. Below are my most recent posts.
The bulk of my work is in a style I have, in an act of mild narcissism, named psychochronography. Psychochronography, an offshoot of the artistic concept of psychogeography. Psychogeography is a practice originally developed by the Situationist International as part of their efforts to forcibly dismantle the established social order. Psychogeography is the study of how physical spaces impact social, cultural, and personal lives. Its central technique is what is called the derivé, or drift, in which one wanders through an urban area according to some idiosyncratic logic that causes one to cut against the usual lines and paths traced.
Psychochronography applies this notion to our internal landscape. Taking seriously Alan Moore's notion of ideaspace, psychochronography suggests that we can wander through history and ideas just as easily as we can physical spaces, and that by observing the course of such a conceptual exploration we can discover new things about our world. Topics I've applied this approach to include Doctor Who, British comic books, and Super Nintendo games.
Almost as soon as Doctor Who abandoned its post the world went to hell in a handbasket.
The first visible sign that 2016 would be a cacophonous disaster came ten days in when David Bowie died. Like Doctor Who, Bowie served as a sort of mass culture Lamed Wufnik; an enduring figure that lasted over countless cultural shifts steadfastly defending his corner, ensuring that the strange and wondrous had some quarter in any landscape. For a long time the two moved in sync—scrapping their way to the center of the culture over the 60s, co-founding glam in the early 70s, becoming shambling and gaudy wrecks in the mid-80s, and finding new, if niche life in the paranoid back alleys of the cyberpunk 90s. Then they began a period of effectively taking turns. Bowie held down the fort in the late 90s and early 00s with a respectable dotage that would have served as a perfectly acceptable final act, albeit one with the unsettled and partial ending of a minor album and a final world tour cut short by a heart attack. Then, as he pulled his great disappearing act, Doctor Who roared back to life. Finally, in 2013, they reconverged ...
After an eight year furlough, Iain M. Banks returned to the Culture series in 2008 with Matter, the longest Culture novel to date. The problem is that it’s not entirely clear why he did this. Matter, to put it bluntly, is a mess. Were it not for Consider Phlebas’s intense lack of quite knowing what it wanted to do with this “Culture” idea, Matter would straightforwardly be the weakest novel in the series to date. The problem, from what I gather, is not that Banks has run out of ideas. I’ve not read Surface Detail or The Hydrogen Sonata yet, but they are apparently perfectly good books. It’s just that Matter… isn’t.
This is not a hugely controversial opinion about Matter. Most of the diagnoses center on the ending, which amounts to basically every major character in the book dying in rapid succession, starting when an ancient planet-killing machine wakes up with very little setup and eliminates the entirety of one of the three plot lines that had been occupying the book thus far, and culminating when everyone else dies stopping it. This has led to suggestions that Banks’s heart simply wasn’t in the book, or that he ...
I'm joined for our first and last Doctor Who podcast of the year by the delightful Miranda, whose DeviantArt is well worth checking out if you're into My Little Pony.
Back Wednesday with a new Cultural Marxism, and on Monday with Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea: Blackstar.
I mean, it was fine in the sense that this is clearly as good as we’re going to get within Chibnall’s bold five year plan of “what if Doctor Who, only bad.” This is him firing on all cylinders, making a confident piece of self-consciously major Doctor Who that struts around like it knows it’s in its imperial phase. It’s the best script he’s written all year. And it’s perfectly entertaining, in a sort of straightforward junkfood television way. There are even a couple of bits—most obviously the parallelism between the Dalek making its shell and the Doctor crafting her sonic—that are actually intelligent, subtle, and interesting. As the Chibnall era goes, this is a triumph worth celebrating.
It’s still fucking crap TV Movie-tier television. I mean, you can see this from its basic conception. There’s no idea here other than “what if we brought back the Daleks with a real make them scary again vibe?” And so we get the bog standard tricks for that: one Dalek, its identity revealed fifteen minutes in, and we don’t actually see it in its case until fifteen from the end. There’s no larger concern here. This is just a ...
Still poking the Resolution review, so expect that Friday. For now, have the audio of Jack and I answering all manner of ridiculous questions on Discord.
Jack and I will be doing a live Q&A on the Eruditorum Press Discord server on December 30th at 6pm UK time, 1pm eastern US time, and a variety of other times. It'll be a pretty open-ended AMA format with us chatting and talking about whatever you lot can drag us into. Sobriety is not guaranteed. We'll release a reording of the mayhem as a podcast at some point. If you won't be able to make it, there's a channel in the Discord where you can leave questions in advance. Otherwise, we'll see you tomorrow.
It's Boxing Day, which means that it's time to put a bunch of Eruditorum Press books on sale until New Year's. This year I've gone with something relatively simple. All four in-print books are on sale on Smashwords for $2.99 instead of their usual $4.99. You can get them at the links below, using the coupon codes listed.
Neoreaction a Basilisk: CC25E
I've also, because I've been slow getting them back into print, put my out of print books temporarily back in print in their deadnamed editions for anyone who missed them and is desperate to catch up. I've set them all at "name your own price." I set a recommended price of 99 cents because they made me set one, but you should please consider the name your own price a tip jar. Do not feel bad about naming a price of free. All I'll ask is that if you do grab them for free, please consider paying for them when they come out in upgraded editions over ...
Right. Posting schedule for the next couple weeks is this. Next week, my post will go up mid-to-late week and be a review of Resolution. Then I’m gonna do a Cultural Marxism post that I’d meant to get done today but then this thing I was throwing together for Patrons got out of hand and I got busy with holiday travel and preparation and I just decided fuck it, this is a blog post now. (Patrons will be getting a draft of an essay on magic and psychogeography very soon though.) Then on January 14th I’ll be going back to TARDIS Eruditorum with a Pop Between Realities post on Blackstar. That’ll run into the summer, at which point we’ll probably start up Boys in Their Dresses: A Psychodiscography of Tori Amos. Because I’ve never done a song-by-song blog, and I’m due.
Also, you’ll want to clear some time on December 30th to be in the Discord server, where Jack and I are planning on doing a live Q&A to round out 2018.
For now, however, my 2018 highlight reel.
Weirdly the category I have the most options in. The honest answer is probably some Seeming demo I’m not ...