We’re not living in the dystopias of George Orwell or Aldous Huxley, the author insists, but in the shifty algorithmic universe of Philip K. Dick, where the world that the Internet and social media shape is less a system than an ecology, a proliferation of unexpected niches, and entities created and adapted to exploit them in deceptive ways. In this view, it’s a world in which technology is developing in ways that fudge the difference between the human and the artificial.
The author queries the existence of bad readers, linking causes not to illiteracy or injuries of class or the diffusion of mass culture, but to a Cold War literary trend sporting "an abundance of paraliterary works," such as memoirs, diaries, biographies, diplomatic studies, and feature reports as primers for engaging with literary texts as seemingly historically accurate yet stressing outcomes and expectations consonant with systemic social ends.
Tidbits - November 23, 2017 - Reader Comments: Portside annual Fund Appeal; Trump Tax Scam; The US and Africa; Keystone Pipeline; Public Bank Option; Sci-Fi and Fantasy; and more....
New York Review of Books
Clancy Sigal died Monday night at 90. He wrote "Going Away" in the midst of the McCarthy period. It is a soul-searching memoir filled with fascinating characters. He chronicles the battles over racism at a time when the modern civil rights movement was just getting started. The novel became something of a cult favorite among the baby-boom generation of radicals in the 1960s and 1970s, and has remained in print and popular among subsequent generations.
The ThreePenny Review
Returning to two of socialist Jack London's classics, The Iron Heel and The People of the Abyss--both available free at Project Gutenberg--the reviewer finds stark similarities between the deprivation of the early 20th century and the modern world of neoliberal capitalism, with its gig economy and the emergence of a precariat, valorizing London's injunction that class supremacy can rest only on class degradation.