By Richard Powers
502 pp. W.W. Norton & Company. $27.95.
Trees do most of the things you do, just more slowly. They compete for their livelihoods and take care of their families, sometimes making huge sacrifices for their children. They breathe, eat and have sex. They give gifts, communicate, learn, remember and record the important events of their lives. With relatives and non-kin alike they cooperate, forming neighborhood watch committees — to name one example — with rapid response networks to alert others to a threatening intruder. They manage their resources in bank accounts, using past market trends to predict future needs. They mine and farm the land, and sometimes move their families across great distances for better opportunities. Some of this might take centuries, but for a creature with a life span of hundreds or thousands of years, time must surely have a different feel about it.
And for all that, trees are things to us, good for tables, floors and ceiling beams: As much as we might admire them, we’re still happy to walk on their hearts. It may register as a shock, then, that trees have lives so much like our own. All the behaviors described above have been studied and documented by scientists who carefully avoid the word “behavior” and other anthropomorphic language, lest they be accused of having emotional attachments to their subjects.
LINK TO REST OF STORY: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/books/review/overstory-richard-powers.html
One of the Writer/Director’s of Antrum said about Xen: The Zen of the Other:
…wildly creative experiments with form…through a down-to-earth lens and with a sense of humor. … I felt spoken to many times as Ezra articulated his own frustrations with life and with his own expectations of the world. – DAVID AMITO, award-winning Actor. Writer, Producer, Director of Antrum
Working for the app, which feeds users local crime information, ‘is very traumatic’ and the managers ‘don’t appear to care’
“There’s nothing that tells me that that wouldn’t happen again,” one employee said. “It’s a private security force controlled by a bunch of really rich white men who have no concept of the communities that they’re supposedly protecting because all they want is money. What could go wrong?”
Psychotherapists figured out a long time ago that a roundabout approach is necessary if you want to tease out the origins of any serious psychological problem. You won’t get there by any direct approach, since the defensive maneuvers the patient uses to keep from thinking about the real source of his problems will keep you from getting there either. That’s why dreams, slips of the tongue, and the like played so large a role in psychotherapy, back before the medical profession stopped helping people understand their problems and settled for the more lucrative option of drugging them into numbness instead. That strategy is also a viable option when the craziness we need to understand belongs to a society—ours, for example—rather than an individual.
LINK TO FULL STORY: https://www.ecosophia.net/rice-and-beans-in-the-outer-darkness/
A few days ago, millions of tons of super-heated gas shot off from the surface of the sun and hurtled 90 million miles toward Earth.
The eruption, called a coronal mass ejection, wasn’t particularly powerful on the space-weather scale, but when it hit the Earth’s magnetic field it triggered the strongest geomagnetic storm seen for years. There wasn’t much disruption this time — few people probably even knew it happened — but it served as a reminder the sun has woken from a yearslong slumber.
While invisible and harmless to anyone on the Earth’s surface, the geomagnetic waves unleashed by solar storms can cripple power grids, jam radio communications, bathe airline crews in dangerous levels of radiation and knock critical satellites off kilter. The sun began a new 11-year cycle last year and as it reaches its peak in 2025 the specter of powerful space weather creating havoc for humans grows, threatening chaos in a world that has become ever more reliant on technology since the last big storms hit 17 years ago. A recent study suggested hardening the grid could lead to $27 billion worth of benefits to the U.S. power industry.
“It is still remarkable to me the number of people, companies, who think space weather is Hollywood fiction,” said Caitlin Durkovich, a special assistant to President Joe Biden and senior director of resilience and response in the National Security Council, during a talk at a solar-weather conference last month.
If you’re reading this now, in these early stages of New Maps, you’ve probably found your way here from Joel Caris’s Into the Ruins or John Michael Greer’s blog Ecosophia. Thanks for coming. I’m excited to be starting this new project, and making sure good deindustrial fiction will keep getting out into the world.
The first issue of New Maps is planned for early this coming winter—I’m aiming for January of 2021. Until then, though, it’s not just all me. There are some things you can do to help make the first issue as terrific as I know it can be.
First and foremost, I’m looking for stories! If you’ve written for Into the Ruins, or if you always wanted to but never got to it before the last issue was announced, I want to hear from you. For that matter, I want to read your story even if you’ve just arrived here from none of the places I mentioned above, and you’ve never even heard of deindustrial fiction before, but you’re intrigued by what you see, and want to take a crack at writing some of it. Just head over to the contact and submissions page and get in touch.
I hope you’ll consider subscribing to the first year of New Maps. Each issue will be available for individual purchase, but everyone who subscribes early helps make this magazine more possible and better from the get-go. You can subscribe now, and order single issues once they come out, at the order page.
I’m looking for letters to the editor to make up the first issue’s letters section. I realize that without any previous letters or stories to respond to, obvious topics to write about are somewhat thin on the ground, but I hope the beginning of a new publication, as well as some of the interesting new manifestations of the long decline that have shown up around us lately, will provide enough material to go on. As I keep building this site and laying more groundwork for the magazine, I may also pose some questions here. Info on how to get in touch is at the contact page.
If you’d like to keep abreast of the latest, including questions for readers to weigh in on, progress, and the occasional sale, sign up for the New Maps email list, which will keep you updated whenever news is posted here or when a new issue is on its way. (I plan to keep the amount of email manageable: likely an email every one to three months.)
Thanks, and I look forward to creating a magazine you’ll love to read.
Author and master storyteller Martin Shaw brings us the Smoke Hole Sessions – a series of vital conversations with inspirational people, in the hope that in the crackle of the thinking, the fire of the language, the visioning and the wildness of the exchanges, we may find breadcrumbs that lead us out of the forest again, and into a deeper life. Inspired by his new book Smoke Hole, Martin speaks to some of today’s most admired writers, musicians, comedians, activists and more about their own work and what the last year has meant to them.
Our nineteenth book revolves around the theme of death, lament and regeneration.
With escalating reports of species extinction, the loss of habitats, and now a global pandemic, many people are waking up to the grief and loss that have threaded through the work Dark Mountain Project since it began. During a decade of descent, the books have appeared like small arks bobbing on a dark ocean, containers for creative work that mourns both ecological and cultural collapse and celebrates the beauty of a vanishing world.
Our core question we took with us as we began this voyage: How can we face and properly lament what has gone?
Shrouded, like a moth inside its cocoon, this collection sets out to hold ways to collectively mourn the loss not only of our fellow humans, but the wild world that has always succoured us. Our forebears knew the effect the dead have on life and the importance of grieving, of keeping the dead close. Our task was to find the words and images that mark the loss in ways we might have forgotten but still lie deep buried within us: how we might, like Caroline Ross, fashion our own Grave Goods out of deerskin and bronze, occupy the Houses of the Dead as in Fawzia Kane’s poems, and bear witness as Stephanie Krzywonos does, watching a penguin walk to its death in the arid Antarctic interior. How we can encounter the currents of the mythic beneath the ordinary world on a South Dakota highway as Samantha Wallen reminds us in The Death Mother.
The book has been created as a memorial by 60+ artists and writers, a gathering of testimonies from people and places, grief walkers and haunted lands. Ringed by the ashes of the burned forests of Australia and the Americas, entwined with the now-vanished tree roots of Deru Anding’s native Borneo, it enshrines the broken bones of dead creatures, reconfigured in ceremonial staffs by Jim Carter or intricately observed drawings by Kathryn Poole, the fallen feathers of the gyrfalcon, the wren and the black grouse, the testimonies of ancient grains and antediluvian fossils, wreathed by leaves of roseroot from Greenland and milkweed seeds from Ontario, the sharp scent of Mexican marigolds that light our way to the Underworld.
Words and images to take with us as companions into the dark…
Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It’s too little, too late.
Netflix’s The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness re-examines the infamous New York serial killer through the eyes of one man’s obsession with the case
The Sons of Sam, a four-part series which jumps off from the panic of summer 1977, argues that Berkowitz probably did not act alone, based primarily on the work of the late investigator Maury Terry, whose zeal for solving the case spiraled from grounded skepticism to manic obsession over the course of several decades. Terry, who died at 69 in 2015, was initially skeptical of the NYPD’s explanation for the case, not least because the department was under enormous public pressure to capture the killer and lock up the investigation. Although Berkowitz eventually claimed, from prison for six consecutive life sentences, that he acted in concert with others as part of a satanic cult, the official narrative remained that Berkowitz was the sole culprit.