Forum / Welcome To The Terrordome

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    Chris Okum
    Dec 21, 08:38pm

    It would appear than on or right around September 12, 2008 Post-Modernism officially died, its sometimes playful and increasingly confused pantomimes of eternal regression finally taken to their logical conclusion. There was a bottom to that hole after all.

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    Mathew Paust
    Dec 22, 04:41pm

    There can always be a post Post, and, if necessary, a post or three after that. But I agree with Harlan Ellison on at least this: why try to lump individual fiction styles into anything more exclusive than "speculative?" Not a big deal with me, but I've always been a tad put off by pigeonholing. If nothing else it sounds academic, i.e. deadening.

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    Chris Okum
    Dec 22, 06:38pm

    Nothing wrong with aesthetic frames, Mat. I think the old frame, i.e., Post-Modernism, doesn't work anymore, and I think we've moved on to the next frame. As a matter of fact it's fairly obvious we have, and it started in the late 90s. That no one has given this new frame a name yet is what's stopping it from being readily apparent. Someone will give it a name that sticks, though, eventually.

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    Mathew Paust
    Dec 22, 07:19pm

    Whoever names it must risk receiving dead gophers in 4th class mail from Ellison. I know what you mean, but I guess I've never looked at fiction as a study. Always been more attracted to voice than particular style. Can be counted on to spill the wine at soirées, etc.

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    Dec 28, 04:27pm

    Chris and Mathew: good points all.

    At the risk of receiving dead gophers via 4th class mail from anyone or several, and since The Academy which is pleased to dominate contemporary American letters and publishing with its MFA factories is too hesitant or too unsure of itself to name our contemporary literary circumstance, we in the trenches might as well lob a few firecrackers, even if they turn out duds.

    In naming our contemporary literary age, since we here agree we now grope our ways through a post-postmodern fog, I vote for "neo-Victorianism" simply for the growing dominance of editorial prudery which disallows unchecked satiric expression. (With all the likely suspects at hand all around, for the very life of me I cannot understand how we fail to live in an arch-satiric literary moment.) The Victorian era itself seems never to've been too favorable to satirists (certainly never as welcoming as Britain's Augustan Age had been) and seems to have perfected itself with polite and pretty prose, formally exacting perhaps but soulless enough or too tied to its contemporaneities not to find avid readership across subsequent decades except as fashion statements to be regarded in mirrors.

    To offer a name for the beast from the other end of the arc of the pendulum's swing, perhaps we can say credibly that we have entered an age of "quantum literature", since reliable narrative structures are collapsing before our eyes under their own weight, writers now commonly lack the acuity to penetrate minds or souls convincingly, the atomization of attention spans has helped give cogency to flash fiction (its historical antecedents unknown to or unspoken by The Academy, which seems to have forgotten entirely the role of the feuilleton even in 19th century literary production), and short(er) works speak as much as possible of the disabling or vexing temporal velocities that overtake readers daily.

    I offer the foregoing as mere attempts at phenomenol description: were I to offer any prescriptions for the names of roads I think literature might profitably travel in the near term, I would suggest a movement that could be termed "New Goliardism", since the historical experience of many displaced literate persons in the world today (in our beloved US, I think of the legions of Millennials crowded out of universities by the Boomer philanthropic class) suggests the displacement and marginalization of inspired utterers that the original Goliards exemplified through the late Middle Ages, from their acknowledged heyday in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries all the way down to the careers of Villon and Rabelais.

    Alternatively, we could profitably wish for a brief detour, if but for a single decade, to a fresh encounter with classical literature, the ancient Greek and Latin varieties, both to remind ourselves of someone's glorious past and to acquaint ourselves anew with the very headwaters of the Western literary tradition we inevitably stand watching trickle at our feet today. (Of course, history being history, we in the US would probably have to depend on neo-classicism emerging from the bowels of the UK, since Latin and Greek studies no longer figure in American curricula where they hardly ever exactly flourished.)

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    Mathew Paust
    Dec 28, 05:25pm

    It seems, Stran--and perhaps it always has been thus--that success in connecting with even the most exclusive literary herd requires just enough originality to lure its pathfinders from the familiar to the new without risking unquenchable separation anxiety. If so, it makes perfect sense from a marketing view to provide, as Chris suggests, an "aesthetic frame" or chute to channel the herd body on its way, greener pastures. I suspect Harlan Ellison's true objection to such narrow classification was to avert a stampede of the hooves heading his way.

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    Smiley McGrouchpants
    Mar 14, 11:26pm

    Does this mean "The Simpsons" is serious, straight drama? Or that "The Colbert Report" is actual news? Some right-wing commentators invited on the show seemed to think so; they apparently didn't get that it was a joke. So be it. I guess "FOX News" has managed to confused people as to what real news *is*, anyways, what with their "technically" commentary all-day-but-one-hour format ... is there any "there" there?

    "I'll have 'meta' with that." I, personally, still like reading for the frames within frames; sorry I'm post-meta out-of-date, and therefore obsolete. As stubborn as a Victorian in the Gilded Age, that's me! It's a "You can have my John Barth books when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers" sort-of thing.

    My 2¢.

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    Gary Hardaway
    Mar 15, 01:27am

    Fuck it all. I like what I like because I am a moron. Or a genius. The pay is the same, either way.

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    James Lloyd Davis
    Mar 15, 05:51pm

    The era we live in today is ineffable and as thus, unnamable.
    Tomorrow, we will name it... Post-Ineffablism.
    Since I have named it, I will be forever known as its author and you, good people, can post in your journals, "I knew him."

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    Mathew Paust
    Mar 15, 09:17pm

    You appear to me to be a natural born (whatever that means) effable marketing whiz, JLD.

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    John Riley
    Mar 15, 10:01pm

    The world has exploded. The concept of movements and avant garde were ideas from the old Europe that have been overwhelmed by literature and art from what was called the undeveloped world and other cultures that weren't part of modernism or post-modernism or surrealism or any other Western movement. This ain't politics of any form or ideology. It's the world. We're in a hyper-modern world and as nation states--and borders--continue to lose significance we'll enter an actual post-modern world with a name historians a few centuries down the road will decide.

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    James Lloyd Davis
    Mar 16, 07:17am

    Long resigned to historical obscurity, I take my fame where I can find it... usually beneath my cap.

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