Letter to Feral House

Earlier on the weekend I sent off a letter to publisher Feral House. It was basically about two books they had released, called Apocalypse Culture 1 and 2, years ago. Well the last book was published in 2000 and was out of print. Both books covered a wide scope of the fringes of society and culture. And they are among the most disturbing things I have read. And they were non-fiction.

Anyway, here is the letter:

Apocalypse Culture needs to have a third book. And it needs to be this year. It’s not just that this year, where we are already in the sixth month of Twenty-Twelve – the so-called “End of the Mayan Calendar”, but because it has been twelve years now since the last one. It is about time for reports from the dark fringes of civilisation and the underworld of society.

We all hope for the apocalypse. We really do. We’ll be sitting in our cars, burning the distilled remnants of an ancient world, idle in the rush-hour crush, our minds wandering, daydreaming of outrunning the mutant/zombie/plagued horde, burying our friends and living by a code of Darwinian kill-or-be-killed. And then we will all go to work and chat and look at our iPhones. There’s nothing quite like the potential thrill of losing everything to a force which we cannot comprehend or combat. It’s far easier than giving it up, as we’re too addicted to the conveniences and complications that our modern world provides.

But it may never happen like that. The world may never be ended by some Antichrist, Dajjal or Bizarro-Buddha. Self-propheteering religious zealots may never trigger a nuclear holocaust. Nibiru may never collide with Earth. Zombies, indeed, may never roam our streets, but if you’ve ever been in a shopping mall, you might already be one. It could just as easily be said that the world really ended in Nineteen-Forty-Five and not Nineteen-Eighty-Four.

And this was, and still is, the point of Apocalypse Culture, that yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow, with all of its wonders and horrors, are but a day away. Back in 1987, there were probably conspiracy nuts, talking of everyone becoming chipped. Now, that hasn’t happened, but anyone with a mobile phone, a credit card and a Facebook account will probably find themselves just as easily tracked. Getting a tattoo or hole punched through your skin, is fairly common these days, but back in Apocalypse Culture One times, body modification was a “fringe” thing. The future happens, just never as we completely expected. We never got jetpacks, but we are more connected to each other, and to information itself, than we have ever been in human history.

Everything that appeared in Apocalypse Culture has been somewhat prophetic. In this brave, new world, we no longer need to congregate in the same location. Subcultures have emerged and splintered. We see people posting their individual madness in the comments section or the forum threads. Anyone with a webcam has been speaking, recording and uploading their minds for everyone to see. Like people who think that the Hadron Collider will open a gate to Hell. People who talk about their Morgellons or the supposed danger of vaccines. People who think the Earth is still flat. A Facebook page and Twitter hashtag has replaced the revolutionary pamphlet. Slash-fiction and -art have a new generation, their sexualised works inspired by children’s cartoons. We idolise the idiot instead of the space hero. And we probably still won’t see anyone land on the Red Planet in our lifetime still. We just left behind launchpads contaminated with rocket fuel biproduct.

And that was the sticky thing about the World of Tomorrow. You never saw the sacrifice of those humble workers in a distant factory to bring you that electric car or electronic gadget. It was always about those who rose to be worthy of the luxuries that technology could provide. It didn’t matter about the toxic factories they came from. But this is how it has always been. I want to read about the subcultures that have emerged, splintered and became extinct. I want to hear about the travel stories from the darkest corners of the earth.

I want to see people that are the madmen and pioneers and monsters in our world. I want to see the future. I want to see the Apocalypse.

You can check out Feral House, but its not for the faint of constitution or children or most workplaces.

Thumbnail is: The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (from WikiCommons)

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