anarchySF - an anarchist, science fiction podcast
By Yanai Sened / Eden Kupermintz
anarchySF - an anarchist, science fiction podcastFeb 27, 2020
Acknowledging the Complexities of Humanity with Ammonite
We talk about Ammonite, a somewhat under-the-radar excellent sci-fi book about a virus killing all the men in a far-off planet and exploring indigenous lands as a colonizer anthropologist
- Anthrophopolitics and diversity within identity
- Biopolitics and virology
- "Going Native" (TM)
- Some Ursula LeGuin themes
Eden's ep of death-sentence about The Dawn of Everything:
Can we fix it? Maybe! Kinda! With Ixion
We talk about the sci-fi strategy game Ixion and its somber adventure through space.
Some topics discussed:
- Shameful space
- Space is silence and death
- Gravestone science
- Accelerating the flows
- The eternal recurrence of the same
- Middle management euphemisms
Referenced Some More News video 'Jeff Bezons Learned Nothing in Space':
The Potential and Limitations of Clowning on Billionaires on Space Sweepers
This is an especially rambly episode of us talking about the excellent kitchen sink space romp movie Spacesweepers.
- Billionaires hate humanity
- The limits of Villainry
- What internationalism looks like
- The ethics/politics distinction
Raging in alliance with The Only Harmless Great Thing
We read Brooke Bolander's short and painful novelette and spoke about:
- Nuclear semiotics
- The uses of violence
- The master's tools
- Being pushed to the corner
Optimist Awakenings with Citizen Sleeper
Citizen Sleeper is touching and optimistic without being saccharine and might be just what we need in these trying times.
The podcast opens with us venting our feelings and thoughts about another demonstration of incredible violence from Israel against the Palestinian people. Free Palestine!
Then we talk some themes. Here's what you can expect:
- Gaming under capitalism
- Vicious and virtuous cycles
- Refugee experience
- Care ethics - A softer world is possible)
- Intra-class struggles
- Radical embodiment (Yes, Eden talks about the body some more)
Repo Virtual repossesses Cyberpunk
We talk about Corey J White's modern vision of Cyberpunk: Repo Virtual, reimagining the genre and its radical potential.
- Data creep
- Radical potential of games
- Firearms in smart cities
- Cyberpunk's questionable beginnings
- Opting in / Opting out
- Identity politics and data dystopia
- Video discussing (among other things) how youtube manufactures identities:
- Watched over by machines of loving grace:
Spire, racialization and resistance
We discussed the role-playing game Spire, with its different ways of representing oppression and the struggle against it.
- Epistemic vice and epistemic resistance
- Construction of knowledge and infrastructure space
- Adevnturism and the challenge of struggling in a hopeless fight
- Good weird and bad weird
Eden's podcast appearance about magical realism and much more:
Eden's essay on the topic:
The Materialist Fantasy of Mordew
Mordew is a down-to-earth, complex fantasy world, and a promising beginning to a promised trilogy. We talk about:
- Realist fantasy
- Materialist morality
- Knowledge and Protagony
- Mark Fisher's Red Plenty
See much more anarchist science fiction at anarchysf.com
Protagony, by Innuendo Studios:
Woah, the Matrix
We dive deep into "The Matrix (1999)" and a little bit into the sequels. No Resurrections here as this was recorded before it came out.
- What is the Matrix?
- Snooty philosophers vs. the Matrix
- Abolishing everything
- The Messiah Complex
- Do we want to escape to the Desert of the Real?
- Fighting together
Editing took a while, so references to current events are referring to about a month ago, including the sad discussion of Charles Mills' death.
Charles Mills' NYT obituary (many more exist):
CCK Philosophy's video on Baudrillard and the Matrix:
Kurt Vonnegut Wrote Some Pretty Good Books
We talk about a medley of Kurt Vonnegut books, how they play around with cynicism and sentimentalism, how they're anarchist and humble and absurdist.
Near the end Eden mentions this paper by David Graeber and David Wengrow:
Dishonored, not Resentful
We talk about the video game franchise Dishonored. Topics discussed:
- The means of magical production
- Sociological storytelling
- Hypocritical opiate (of the masses)
- What good is an individual?
- What to do after a revolution
Oval - Is Reciprocity in Our Nature?
We had a great time talking about Oval, by Elvia Wilk. It's a complicated little story about being an artist in Berlin and watching as the world around you burns, or turns.
- Leftism's "call to action"
- Reciprocity vs. Transactions
- The Relationship Between Hi-Tech and Art
- How Tech Falls Apart
- Human Nature and Economics
"Hauntology" is discussed in Derrida's "Spectres of Marx"
We mention a video by the great youtube channel space commune, about art and gentrification:
Elysium, design fiction and fake scarcity
We talk about a cool little action movie that didn't do well in theatres but has its own little place in our hearts with its scathing critiques of bad environmentalism, bad identity politics, and bad cyberpunk.
Paper on design fiction (though it doesn't use the term):
An Unkindness of Ghosts and the Love of Saying No
We talk about the Rivers Solomon's thought provoking and gut punching "An Unkindness of Ghosts". But we promise there are no spooks! Some rough discussion topics though (Body manipulation, sexual assault and rape).
- The pneumatics of power
- The revolutionary potential of food
- Gendered Racism
External reading referenced:
- Article about Afropessimism:
- More critical view on Afropessimism:
Aniara also Carries Ruin Within
We talk about the incredible film adaptation to the early 20th century epic poem Aniara. Pretty depressing stuff, but we refuse to be doomers.
- Why are the people who cause calamity in charge of fixing it?
- Why do we obey?
- Why do we work?
- How do temporary hierarchies become permanent?
- Opium for the masses
- The complicity of scientists
Lindsey Ellis video essay on three act structure:
Oliver Thorn's video essay on airport security:
On "efficiency" compromising the readiness of hospitals for a pandemic:
Annihilation, Discussions of Bodies Being Morphed
We talk about Jeff Vandermeer's New-Weird book - Annihilation, a book about climate horror and accepting uncomfortable changes.
- The horror of climate change
- Unintelligible politics
- The failure of facts and logic
- Doing better than Lovecraftian racism
- Becoming other
- Permeable boundaries
Moon, Exploitation and Opportunity
We talk about the excellent solitary space adventure that is Moon (2009). Topics discussed:
- How exploitation is marketed to white men
- Foucault's "Care of the self"
- How space capitalism is an especially risky form of exploitation
- How space can be an opportunity to organize
- The race between capitalist exploitation and worker organization
- Capitalism's obvious failures
Innuendo Studio's discussion of the right's obsession with cucks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQjVbk6JSck&ab_channel=InnuendoStudios
The Ethics of the Care of the Self as a Practice of Freedom: https://pages.uoregon.edu/koopman/events_readings/cgc/foucault_ethics_concern_for_self.pdf
PhilosophyTube and Mexie's video on the housing market: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qihG6AGjkRk&t=1059s&ab_channel=PhilosophyTube
Current Affairs' Fake Nerd Boys of Silicon Valley: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/07/the-fake-nerd-boys-of-silicon-valley
Too Like the Lightning, and Enlightenment
We talk about Ada Palmer's "Too Like the Lightning", how it portrays the enlightenment, gender, politics, all the goodness.
It's a challenging read, but it delivers on its promises
- How the social contract makes a new person
- What was the Enlightenment?
- Confusing gender roles
- Fabricating consent
Shadowrun; Acceleration and Mosaics
We talk about the pen and paper role playing game Shadowrun, focusing on the themes it allows its players and storytellers to explore. Shadowrun is a troperific mix of sci-fi and fantasy that takes everything that's wrong about the world and blows it up at the same time.
- Accelerationism and the Frankfurt school's influence on it
- Reclaiming Cybernetics
- Meaning in postmodern works
- Radical infrastructure space
Random Acts of Senseless Violence - The center cannot hold
We talk about Jack Womack's "Random acts of senseless violence" - a "minute into the future" dystopia told from the perspective of a 12 year old girl. It's gritty and depressing, just our speed.
- How this is a horror story for the Bourgeois
- The atomization of daily life
- Hobbesian themes
- Derrida and the duality between center and periphery
- The merits of a political book with no obvious villain
- The violence/mundanity barrier
Splendor, Misery, Time and Resistance
We talk about a Sci-fi album by the band Clipping - Splendor and Misery. The album is a prime example of Afro-Futurism, dealing with such topics as time, space, bodies, space travel, slavery, and much more that we couldn't cover.
The discussed album:
- Queer time and its relevance to race theory
- Space, resistance and the body
- Alternate futures in space
- Anger as a political emotion
- Anarchy and violence
The Telling, Colonialism and the Center
We discuss one of science fiction's titans: Ursula K. Le Guin, in one of her slightly less read books: The Telling, offering a radical perspective on religion, colonialism and reason. Some themes:
- Center-based vs. non-center-based epistemology
- Non-ideal anthropology
- Multiple views on religion
- Ways of life as resistance
Audio on my (Yanai's) side is a bit rough due to a recording issue, sorry about that!
For more information on Decolonialism I would, from my limited experience, recommend Serene Khader's "Decolonizing Universalism" and Vrinda Dalmiya's "Caring to Know" (tangentially related)
Frostpunk and Snowpiercer, Leviathan and red plenty
Listen people, we're mad about capitalism. We discuss the game Frostpunk and the movie Snow Piercer, two critiques of capitalism in frozen worlds.
- Hobbes' Leviathan
- Mark Fisher's "Abandon hope, summer is coming"
- The revolt of nature
- Inherent conflict
- Religion and society
- What do we work for?
Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, Sex, Drugs and Knowledge
We discuss Philip K. Dick's "Flow My Tears the Policeman Said".
Some themes discussed:
- Kant's metaphysics in Philip K. Dick's writing
- Power's will to knowledge
- Radical embodiment
- The danger and potential of drugs
- The transparency of police
- Self identity as a source of stability
Akira, Violence and Friendship
We discuss 1988 Anime masterpiece "Akira"
Some themes discussed:
- Deleuze and Foucault's ideas of societies of discipline and societies of control
- Hannah Arendt's approach to violence, and violence in leftist ideology
- The rise and fall of capitalist Japan
- Science as Pandora's box
- Radical friendship
Catherine M. Valente's Radiance:
Hannah Arendt Reflections on Violence:
The Girl in The Road, Infrastructure and Standpoints
We Discuss Monica Byrne's "The Girl in The Road"
- Franz Fanon's phenomenology and race theory
- The Infrastructure Space
- Standpoint theory
- Byrne's unusual approach to writing an audience-insert character
- Embodied writing
Fanon's "Black Skins, White Masks":
Extrastatecraft (on infrastructure space):
Stanford Encyclopedia entry for standpoint theory (as well as other feminist epistemology theories):
Disco Elysium, Ghosts and Angels
For our podcast premiere we discussed the ZA/UM movement's game: Disco Elysium.
- Mourning and Walter Benjamin's angel of history
- Radical friendship
- The Cartesian experiment and the cop within your head
- An anarchist love letter to communism
Derrida's "Specters of Marx": https://books.google.com/books/about/Specters_of_Marx.html?id=sEENbAP5FZsC
Dark Crystal: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6905542/
Relevant essay by Mark Fisher: https://frieze.com/article/mark-fisher-and-work-mourning-visual-essay-tony-cokes
Walter Benjamin's Concept of History: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/benjamin/1940/history.htm