ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
The summer 2018 issue of Into the Ruins has just been released, and it contains a treat...
Winter's Tales

Longtime readers of mine may remember the first work of deindustrial fiction I ever wrote, which appeared in the last months of 2006 on The Archdruid Report. "Winter's Tales' was a set of vignettes of everyday life in an American city in 2050, 2100, and 2150, taking three samples along the familiar historical curve of decline and fall. It's been turned into a graphic story by Marcu Knoesen and Walt Barna. Yes, this is the first page. 

I'm delighted, and I think my readers generally will find the graphic story a compelling revisioning of my tale. If you don't have a subscription to Into the Ruins yet, you can pick up a copy of the latest issue here

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
city under waterThere's a conversation that happens nearly every time I discuss climate change, or contemporary politics, or (as in the most recent case on my blog) the cultural chasm that divides privileged intellectuals from the rest of the population here in the United States. It goes something like this: 

Reader: How can those of us who recognize the threat of climate change convince the rest of the American people to listen to us? 

Me: You have to start by changing your own lifestyles. As Gandhi said, "you must be the change you seek to make in the world. 

Reader: No, you don't understand. The problem's too big for that.  Just having activists change their own lifestyles won't make enough difference to matter.

Me: I never said it would. The question you asked is how to get people to listen to you, and the answer is that you have to prove your sincerity and lead by example, by changing your own lifestyles, or nobody else will take you seriously. 

Reader: But the situation's so desperate! We've got to convince everyone on the planet to stop using carbon or we're all doomed!

Me: You can't be part of the solution if your lifestyle is part of the problem.  Why should anyone else take the problem seriously and stop using carbon if climate change activists themselves aren't willing to accept even modest cuts to their own carbon-fueled lifestyles? 

Reader:  (Crickets...) 

It's really quite simple. Imagine, dear reader, that instead of talking about stopping climate change, we were talking about stopping rape. Imagine that there were big organizations dedicated to stopping rape, and curiously enough, most of their membership consisted of serial rapists. Imagine, then, that people pointed out to the serial rapists that if they really wanted to stop rape, they ought to start by not committing any more rapes themselves -- and every time, the serial rapists responded by insisting that you can't stop rape by just having the members of anti-rape organizations give up raping people, that the problem's much bigger than that, and how can they find a way to communicate to everyone in the world that rape is wrong? The answer, of course, is that they can't, because nobody will take them seriously until they themselves stop committing rape. 

Climate change activism these days is almost entirely a concern of middle- and upper middle-class people in the industrial world: people, that is, whose lifestyles are disproportionately responsible for the dumping of greenhouse gases; people who use much more fossil fuel energy, and many more of the products of fossil fuel energy, than the average human being. This fact isn't lost on anybody outside the climate change movement -- and the fact that climate change activists by and large insist on leading carbon-intensive lifestyles, while insisting that everyone else has to do something about climate change, has done more to scuttle the movement to stop climate change than any other factor I can think of. Unless something changes fast -- and by "something" I mean the attitudes of those who aren't willing to draw the obvious connection between the problems they think they're fighting and the lifestyles to which they think they're entitled -- the deindustrial future I described in my novel Star's Reach is looking more likely every day. 

ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
The latest issue of Into the Ruins has just been released by Figuration Press. For those of my readers who aren't familiar with Into the Ruins, it's a magazine of science fiction stories about the future we're actually going to get -- as in, wave goodbye to the hackneyed, done-to-death mandatory orthodox interstellar future of mainstream SF, say hello to futures here on earth as people deal with the aftermath of the Industrial Age and the emergence of new cultures in the far future. I think of Into the Ruins as the ongoing quarterly successor to my four volumes of postpetroleum SF, the After Oil series, and it features some of the most thought-provoking science fiction being published today. Pick up a copy here, or better still, subscribe

Since this journal seems to have attracted a lot of people who are interested in writing, it's probably also worth mentioning that editor Joel Caris is always, as in always, looking for new stories suited to Into the Ruins. You can find the submission guidellines here -- and remember the tried and true advice from the old days of SF pulp magazines: always read an issue of a magazine before you submit a story to it. 
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Me talking with the irrepressible Greg Moffitt about what comes after the accelerating decline and impending fall of industrial civilization. Cheery stuff, granted, but livened up with dollops of deindustrial science fiction, among other things. Check it out:
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (JMG)
Just got my copy of the latest issue of Into the Ruins, the premier -- well, to be honest, also the only -- quarterly magazine of deindustrial SF.

Into the Ruins issue 5 cover

It's a good lively issue, with the usual assortment of highly readable stories, essays, letters to the editor, etc. (Full disclosure: I have a regular column in it talking about older works of deindustrial SF; in this issue, Stephen Vincent Benet's "By the Waters of Babylon," Clark Ashton Smith's "The Dark Age," and Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin's The Masters of Solitude get their place in the postcollapse sun.) Copies, for those who aren't already subscribers, can be gotten here.

One of the stories has me running a hand down my beard and considering a counter-story. Catherine McGuire, whose work I published in several of the After Oil deindustrial-SF anthologies, has a quasi-Utopian piece titled "Root and Branch;" it comes across as her idea of the good society, and strikes me as stunningly dystopian under a layer of warm emotional spraypaint. One way or another, it's thought-provoking...but as with most Utopian pieces, it leaves me thinking hard about what would happen once you add actual human beings to the picture. Hmm...


ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)John Michael Greer

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