Articles Archive for June 2012

Interviews, Videos »

June 26th, 2012 | One Comment | Category: Interviews, Videos
Nick Harkaway: A Dynastic Succession of Trouble

I’ve been away, immersed in Nick Harkaway’s intricately constructed yet sprawlingly seductive second novel, Angelmaker (Knopf, 2012; His first is The Gone-Away World; Knopf, 2008). To wrap a genre around this book is to force it into a jacket that doesn’t fit. It’s noir, it’s science fiction, it’s steampunk, it’s a lot of things — informed by a lot of other things (William Gibson calls it, “The very best sort of odd.”). “We live in a muddled-together age where the past continues to play out in the present,” Harkaway wrote on his site, …

Essays, Reviews »

June 17th, 2012 | 7 Comments | Category: Essays, Reviews
Concept-Oriented Discography: Literary Post-Metal

Though the concept album has a history dating back to the 1940s, prog rock acts like Pink Floyd, Yes, and Rush are probably the first bands to come to mind. Just doing an album-length story connotes prog leanings, recall The Mars Volta‘s De-Loused in the Comatorium (GSL, 2003) and Francis the Mute (GSL, 2005). Metal picked up the concept mantle in a big way. Devilish icons like King Diamond wouldn’t have records if it weren’t for album-long narratives. The same can be said for Coheed and Cambria with their multi-album and …

Reviews »

June 11th, 2012 | 4 Comments | Category: Reviews
Babbage Claim: A Media Archeology Primer

Steampunk, that excitingly innovative yet alienatingly weird subculture, possesses hints of nostalgia, punk-rock attitude, and a love for self-styled, homemade gadgets. William Gibson and Bruce Sterling provided an easy touchstone with their 1990 book The Difference Engine (Bantam Spectra), a revisionist history of the world in which Charles Babbage actually finished a steam-powered calculating machine and the information age preceded the industrial revolution. Another great example is Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985). The movie’s ontology operates atop what Barry Brummett (1999) points out is a machine metaphor. He writes, “Several references within the film make it clear that …

Reading Lists »

June 04th, 2012 | 10 Comments | Category: Reading Lists
Summer Reading List, 2012

It’s time once again for the annual Summer Reading List. This is my tenth year of compiling reading recommendations from fellow scholars, musicians, artists, and other bookish friends. This year that includes regulars like Howard Rheingold, Douglas Rushkoff, Dave Allen, Paul Saffo, Zizi Papacharissi, Steven Shaviro, Ashley Crawford, McKenzie Wark, Alex Burns, Peter Lunenfeld, Brian Tunney, and myself, as well as newcomers Nick Harkaway, Lance Strate, Mark Amerika, Tricia Wang, Dominic Pettman, Jussi Parikka, Eduardo Navas, David Preston, and Barry Brummett. There’s a wide-ranging, far-reaching pile of books below to be sure. …

About, Book Stuff »

June 01st, 2012 | 7 Comments | Category: About, Book Stuff
Godflesh <em>Streetcleaner</em>: My 33 1/3 Book Proposal

I proposed a book for Bloomsbury Academic’s 33 1/3 Series on Streetcleaner by Godflesh. This being one of my all-time favorite records by one of my all-time favorite bands, I really wanted to tell its story. I knew it was a long shot: Bloomsbury received 471 proposals in this round and are planning on publishing a mere twenty titles. Today they narrowed the pile to a “long list” of ninety-four, and mine was not one of them. So, in lieu of the book, here is the Sample Material and Table …