The pulp critical

The pulp critical is a minor analytic mode in which genre tokens are interpreted as arguments or ontological operations in their own right. Hence, it’s important to refuse the conventional terms of any standardized hermeneutics. The emphasis on “pulp” echoes the use of the term in literary history, where it refers primarily to popular fiction… Continue Reading The pulp critical

Annihilation failed

Imagine the following plot. There’s a married straight couple, and the woman cheats on her husband with a colleague. She feels guilty, but refuses to acknowledge it. He knows or suspects, but refuses to confront her. Instead, he decides to start volunteering for some dangerous work in the city. Their relationship is breaking down due… Continue Reading Annihilation failed

Consider the Retronomicon

Retronomicon [/ˌɹɛkɹəˈnɑmɪkən/]. Noun. 1. Any nonexistent media artifact that serves as the imagined or imputed retroactive source for a field of meaning or sense (e.g., a genre, a mode of aesthetic production, or a school of thought). 2. Hyperstition. A network site of increased hyperstitional activity or productivity that operates more effectively by not existing.… Continue Reading Consider the Retronomicon

Ligotti epherema: “The Blonde” from Theoretical Detective (1982)

Here’s an interesting piece of Ligotti ephemera, for which I’ve been searching for many years. It’s a sonnet Ligotti published in a very obscure 1982 speculative detective fiction fanzine called Theoretical Detective (edited by Tine Said). My interest in the material relates to a long-term fascination with Ligotti, on the one hand, and with philosophical… Continue Reading Ligotti epherema: “The Blonde” from Theoretical Detective (1982)

Gray sky thinking

The standard assumption about the future is that it will resemble the past. Often, we adopt the standard assumption because it is a useful heuristic in everyday life. In the context of contemporary risk assessment, however, maintaining the standard assumption is blue sky thinking at best and ruinous at worst. Contemporary trends, historical precedent, and… Continue Reading Gray sky thinking

Astronoetic pessimism and the posthuman: Prometheus and Alien: Covenant as philosophy

Introduction Refer to part one (“Introducing astronoetic cinema”) for the necessary context in which I discuss these two films. In preface, I will note that the critical and popular reception of both films isn’t particularly positive. In part, this is because both suffer from some issues of casting and pacing. However, both films also speak… Continue Reading Astronoetic pessimism and the posthuman: Prometheus and Alien: Covenant as philosophy