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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
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Neo-Decadence

Drowning in Beauty: The Neo-Decadent Anthology is coming soon from Snuggly Books.

The question is, what the hell is Neo-Decadence?

Justin Isis: Second Manifesto of Neo-Decadence

Certain writers represented by Chomu, Zagava, Snuggly, and Ex Occidente fit the bill.

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
The question is, what the hell is Neo-Decadence?
Heck, I'm in the book and I'm not sure myself!

"The Outsider must find a direction and commit himself to it, not lie moping about the meaninglessness of the world."
-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Neo-Decadence is explained in the Brendan Connell manifesto, which should still be available online with a bit of handy Googling.

Anyway there are probably some general lifestyle traits that Neo-Decadent writers share:

1. Doing cocaine, amphetamines, acid and Hydrox cookies every week.
2. Being in better shape than you really need to be (more shredded than the majority of people around you) or in worse shape than you need to be (i.e. you walk to work every day and have access to healthy food but are still fat and eat at Wendy's and Arby's all the time).
3. Having sex with more than ten people a week.
4. Being able to name at least sixty clothing designers and having detailed opinions on them all.
5. Attending High Mass in Latin just to be hardcore, despite not technically "believing" in anything.
6. Having no children, or having more than five.
7. Spitting in the street every time an academic or anyone who has attended a "Writing Workshop" walks by.

If you overheard people talking at two different tables and simultaneously heard them making the following statements:

"Global warming doesn't have anything to do with people, the planet is just warming up naturally."

"UNIQLO makes clothes that are cheap and easy to wear, I like their 'normcore' style."

If you instinctively felt the urge to throw your drink at the person defending Uniqlo rather than the climate change denier, you're probably Neo-Decadent. Your rational mind might then be like 'Climate change deniers are a bigger problem than fast fashion,' but the important thing is the initial impulse.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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Re: Neo-Decadence

This would be far easier if actual examples of such stories were provided. I think I can see how some Isis's own fiction or some Crisp stories would fit into this. Can't say the same about majority of Ex Occidente releases, bar some exceptions, as most of their authors are consciously imitating continental European writers from late 19th and early 20th century, often with appropriate historical settings for their fiction. So, close to direct opposite of what you appear to be going for...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Some representative examples of Neo-Decadence:

"The Last Mermaid" and Life of Polycrates by Brendan Connell.

I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like by Justin Isis

All God's Angels, Beware! by Quentin S. Crisp

Daughters of Apostasy by Damian Murphy

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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Re: Neo-Decadence

The upcoming anthology will establish a lot of this and make things a bit more clear; it has a great introduction from Daniel Corrick (Evans on here) that lays out much of the groundwork. I don't feel that I've personally done much work in this area yet, although I feel like the third collection and upcoming novel will be more definite examples.

A lot of the Ex Occidente writers have until now focused on historical settings, but I don't see Neo-Decadence as being backwards-looking, although that's part of it; it's more Janus-faced and can include things set in the future as well as some post-Naturalist work set in the present. I am going to be interviewing Damian Murphy soon and I think this will reveal a lot of our shared concerns and common approaches, writing fiction as practicing occultists, etc.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Quote Originally Posted by Hidden X View Post
This would be far easier if actual examples of such stories were provided. I think I can see how some Isis's own fiction or some Crisp stories would fit into this. Can't say the same about majority of Ex Occidente releases, bar some exceptions, as most of their authors are consciously imitating continental European writers from late 19th and early 20th century, often with appropriate historical settings for their fiction. So, close to direct opposite of what you appear to be going for...
Pretty much all of the stories in Ballard's Vermilion Sands are good examples of what I'd consider futuristic Neo-Decadence. Technology is put at the service of a languid, elitist aesthetic venture which is itself growing out-moded and succumbing to entropy.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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Re: Neo-Decadence

I'm not sure to what extent it's really possible to avoid writing science fiction if you're going to write anything set in the present. "Literary fiction" mostly seems like a dodge that's relying on outmoded forms (Victorian novel, etc.) and assumptions (human beings are like "characters" who "develop" or change over time; life is a plotline). Ballard was simply ahead of the game in realizing this fifty years ago. We're clearly living in a cyberpunk dystopia so I'm not sure how it's possible to pretend "literature" is about village manners or some character's marriage prospects anymore, despite a bunch of academics wishing it were otherwise.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
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Re: Neo-Decadence

This thread is making me feel very old and unhip.

*returns to reading Victorian novel about relationship problems*

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
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Re: Neo-Decadence

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
This thread is making me feel very old and unhip.
Neither.
It is harder to avoid belonging to the herd than to become part of one.
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