H II Regions, 26 June 2012
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Insightful article over on Bookforum about the current relationship between fiction and class analysis. There are things I found a little too obvious to really be worth writing an article about (it’s difficult to show/not-tell economic phenomena!) but what I did enjoy was this:
But perhaps the best way to write fiction about money is to abandon realism at the door.
The article praises Don DeLillo’s absurdist presentation of finances; but what occurred to me, as it might you, is that we genre fiction writers are already a step ahead of DeLillo. We already write in absurdist realities, which allows us the freedom to “consider the culture of money and finance abstractly and in all its weird contortions.” Genre warps the context already. It’s an exciting justification for embedding economic discussions within genre books, one I hope current genre writers flock to.
Steampunk, Fascism, Correlation?
Lavie Tidhar, of World SF anthologies fame, has recently kicked up a little dust by comparing steampunk to fascism. I can’t really speak to the comparisons–steampunk is pretty far out of my wheelhouse. The empire/colonialism/superiority themes are readily apparent, but beyond that I got nothing. By way of elucidation, Tidhar posts a free short story about an alternate history interpretation of steampunk. It’s very interesting stuff, and if all it makes you say is “he’s wrong!” you’re probably not thinking hard enough.
“The New Normal”
Hat-tip to Felix Salmon’s “Counterparties,” a spiritual predecessor to the “H II Regions”–over at Business Insider you can find a handful of charts that succinctly demonstrate the backwards nature of our current economy. In sum: Corporate profits way up, employment ratio pretty low, wages very low.
A report from a year and a half ago, which I think is pertinent as a tide of dollars rush over us in the current elections, shows that in the 2010 elections, 85% of House races and 83% of Senate races were won by the candidate who spent more money. While they say that is a relative low for recent years, I find those numbers preposterous–how can you see those figures and not agree that our political system is completely malformed?