Steve Aylett is at it again. Science fiction’s best-kept secret, Jeff Lint biographer, and author of such strange beauties as Slaughtermatic (1998), Shamanspace (2002), Smithereens (2010), and Rebel at the End of Time (2013) has a new satirical project in the works. He told me in our 2004 interview from Follow for Now that satire
only works if there’s a scrap of honesty in the reader to begin with, so it doesn’t always work, and the way things are going socially, it’ll work less and less. There’ll be no honesty to appeal to, and no concept of that. There’ll be no admission that there are facts and nobody will even remember the original motive for that evasion — that to deny that there’s such a thing as a fact, means you can do anything to anyone without feeling bad about it. If you tell yourself they didn’t feel what you did to them, they didn’t feel it. To deny you did it means you didn’t do it…. Hypocrisy won’t exist in the future because hypocrisy requires an understanding of honesty as at least a concept. So satire will be a sort of inert, inoperative device which won’t hook into anything.
And it looks like he’s revisiting the idea, though from a slightly different bent. Here’s the pitch for the new project:
“Nothing new under the sun” is an order, not an observation — and one driven by a strange unspoken fear of genuine originality. Heart of the Original is about the professed desire for originality and the actual revulsion toward it, why the same idea is repeatedly hailed as a breakthrough, how to locate original ideas by thinking spatially, why almost any situation is improved by a berserking hen, why obvious outcomes are declared unexpected or “unthinkable,” why history is allowed to repeat, and whether humanity wants to survive — true originality increases a planet’s options. As well as a secret history of where and when certain ideas appeared first, it’s a creativity manual and a rich piece of satire.