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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #21
Robert Adam Gilmour
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Of course, as an academic, he probably feels compelled to distinguish himself in order to stay relevant. It's certainly disingenuous, but it's how the game is played.
Convincing people you're a turbo-bigot probably isn't a smart move for an academic.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #22
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Of course, as an academic, he probably feels compelled to distinguish himself in order to stay relevant. It's certainly disingenuous, but it's how the game is played.
Convincing people you're a turbo-bigot probably isn't a smart move for an academic.
I can't dispute that. It looks as though it ultimately cost him a long term academic position.

There's a lot of ambiguity here. I don't really know what the "alt-Right" stands for. It seems it's meant, at least in Land's case, to stand for a return to the right-wing ideology of the French Revolution, i.e., the safeguarding of autocratic and/or absolute monarchical rule. But the label "right-wing" is a very slippery one. A conservative in America is called "right-wing," yet the term itself signifies the exact opposite of Land's more old-fashioned use of the term. If Land does indeed believe that "egalitarianism" is the devil, or that a populace should be told what to do by some intellectual elite, such as Land himself, then I personally find his beliefs to be reprehensible. I would have to side with the "Left" (another slippery label) on this issue. But I suppose Land believes that both conventional liberals and conservatives are guilty of embracing "egalitarianism." Both exist, in other words, within the same "space" of liberal democracy.

Seriously, the desire to place others beneath you, to introduce hierarchy into the mix, is a very infantile one (especially when you intend to be on top). I'm a repressed individual myself, but I would never stoop that low.

I'm siding with HiddenX on this one.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #23
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

I can't help but notice the one question that many people on here seem to be dodging in regards to Land's forays into Abstract Horror (though, really, you could still just as well call it Weird Fiction): "Is the writing good?"

Which, really, is the only question you truly need to ask.

Personally, I find Land's recent attempts at writing Weird Fiction (along with some of his older works, such as the texts he helped write for Ccru) to be far more innovative and creatively inspiring than most of the material currently being churned out by certified Weird Fiction writers.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #24
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

Land has a blog called Outside In. He wouldn't call himself Alt-Right, but Neo-reactionary. From this post:

Quote
Neoreaction is also a species of reactionary political analysis, inheriting a deep suspicion of ‘progress’ in its ideological usage. It accepts that the dominant sociopolitical order of the world has ‘progressed’ solely on the condition that such advance, or relentless forward movement, is entirely stripped of moral endorsement, and is in fact bound to a primary association with worsening. The model is that of a progressive disease.
The ‘neo-‘ of neoreaction is more than just a chronological marker, however. It introduces a distinctive idea, or abstract topic: that of a degenerative ratchet.
The impulse to back out of something is already reactionary, but it is the combination of a critique of progress with a recognition that simple reversal is impossible that initiates neoreaction. In this respect, neoreaction is a specific discovery of the arrow of time, within the field of political philosophy. It learns, and then teaches, that the way to get out cannot be the way we got in.
This is consistent with his views on capitalism and AI. Land's work is highly regarded by S.C. Hickman, who thinks of him as the Anti-God in the Sewers. Make of that what you will.

His writing is good but dense. I haven't managed to penetrate Fanged Noumena yet, though I really should.

"So in the end it remains advisable to accept whatever comes, to behave like an inert mass even if one feels oneself being swept away, not to be lured into a single unneccesary step, to regard others with the gaze of an animal, to feel no remorse, in short to crush with one's own hand any ghost of life that subsists, that is, to intensify the final quiet of the grave still further and let nothing beyond that endure." ---Franz Kafka, Resolutions
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #25
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

I get the impression that major alt-right figures are more heavily influenced by Julius Evola than Nick Land.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #26
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

One has to read enough alt-right and neo-reactionary blogs to compare. I don't have time to read left wing, lest alone right wing, NRX, or alt-right blogs. I do know Land writes well though. Here's an excerpt from the appendix of Chasm:



Quote
Abstract literature writes in clues, with clue words, but without hope. It is the detective fiction of the insoluble crime, the science fiction of an inconceivable future, the mystery fiction of the impregnable unknown, proceeding through cryptic names of evocation, and rigid designators without significance. The weirdness it explores does not pass, unless to withdraw more completely into itself. There is no answer, or even - for long- the place for an answer. Where the solution might have been found waits something else. Description is damage.

"So in the end it remains advisable to accept whatever comes, to behave like an inert mass even if one feels oneself being swept away, not to be lured into a single unneccesary step, to regard others with the gaze of an animal, to feel no remorse, in short to crush with one's own hand any ghost of life that subsists, that is, to intensify the final quiet of the grave still further and let nothing beyond that endure." ---Franz Kafka, Resolutions
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #27
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

I'm sure Land is a very talented individual. I just don't care for his politics. He's certainly entitled to his views.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 2 Days Ago   #28
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

Hello all,

As the person that suggested Shipley wrote the piece for LitHub I wanted to post the entirety of it, unedited, for posterity.

There's absolutely no desire in me to go anywhere near the whizzing blue touch-paper of Land's politics, but in the wider sense of testing the boundaries of literature-that's-acceptable-to-read, I did think that the opening quote to Clarice Lispector's book from Bernard Berenson was startlingly apt:

"A complete life may be one ending in so full identification with the non-self that there is no self to die"

Here's Shipley's recommendations:


6 Abstract Horror Novels

Having had the “abstract horror” label applied to my own work on numerus occasions, most recently to my latest novels Warewolff! and The Unyielding, I began thinking about the distinguishing features of this rather sparsely populated area of literature, about novels that embrace impenetrability, in subject matter and/or exposition, and by doing so unnerve, intimidate and dissect not only themselves and their characters but their readers as well. These works invariably offer a way in but no way out, and spend their time establishing an absence where we would otherwise expect to find a something, a tangible adversary. And the reason we do not escape from them is that, for all their variant weirdness, the underlying horror is just the simple fact of being alive in the first place. The holes they excavate are not only inimical to our sense of ourselves, but also immediately recognizable as integral to it, where the inscrutable functions as an affliction, as mortal antagonist and human inevitability. This is not, then, just the slightly tired notion of not revealing the monster, but more that the reader and the novel’s protagonists cannot work out what the monster could even be in order to accurately see or encounter it. The thing pursued is conceptually elusive, while at the same time resembling in many fundamental ways the life you already find yourself living. All these books, in all their different particulars, remind us of an inescapable paradox, remind us that, in the words of Clarice Lispector, “being alive is inhuman.” Below are some of my favourite examples.


1. Blake Butler, There Is No Year

There is a family and a house, but no sooner has the family been introduced, documenting in particular the father’s odd compulsions and nighttime voyeurisms, there is another family, a copy family, already there in the house waiting for them. These peculiar circumstances set the tone going forward, as we cannot help but wonder why it is that the discovered family are to be considered copies and not the family that discovers them pre-existing in their home. And ultimately it is from bizarre insecurities and contingencies such as this that Butler weaves the aberrant logic of this haunting family drama. For, while being wilfully and relentlessly experimental in its language, tones and arrangement, it never wavers in its steady accumulation of eerie specifics and the all too pedestrian details of family life: accounts of the son’s classroom experiences, the father’s commute to work, and phone calls to the realtor, etc. are seamlessly interspersed with a concatenation of lacunas, anomalous illnesses and sinister packages. Butler it seems is perennially mindful that for all the novel’s improbabilities, all its insidious layering of paranoid delusion and ominous light, it’s the slyly constructed everydayness of the horror that will allow these things, and indeed the novel as a whole, to leave their unnerving and indelible mark.


2. Reza Negarestani, Cyclonopedia: Complicity With Anonymous Materials

We follow American artist, Kristen Alvanson, to Istanbul, where she has arranged to meet none other than Reza Negarestani, who though failing to arrive in person is discovered in kind when an arcane and puzzling manuscript turns up bearing his name. The manuscript, found in a dust-covered box under her hotel bed, is Cyclonopedia itself, and from here on in we follow Alvanson inside its involuted tangle page by mystifying page – and like her we do not emerge out the other side. Famed for its tortuous intricacies and deanthropomorphized brand of horror, this work of theory-fiction is a sui generis opus of various intellectual accretions, its subjects ranging from archaeology, esoterica and philosophy, to Islamic lore, geopolitics, and demonology, through the entirety of which runs the conscious entity of the Middle East. We are told that “the Middle East is the best place to go missing … the best place to get lost,” and Negarestani is surely one of the best possible guides, as he theorizes our disorientation into this snarling and magnificent network, this hole of the earth, this unctuous and tentacled nowhere we call home.


3. Tony Burgess, Pontypool Changes Everything

We arrive in Pontypool with Les Reardon, garbage truck driver cum drama coach, who is recovering (or not) from a bout of psychosis, and continue to arrive with a variant coterie of likewise damaged characters. “In the beginning was a virus,” or so we are told about halfway through the book, by which time we’re already fully immersed in its effects; but then for a virus thought by some to resemble déjà vu, this postponement feels shrewdly germane – as does the identified host of this incomprehensible infection, that may or may not exist, which is nothing less than language and memories and even reality itself. In sum, this adrenalized and fragmented take on the zombie apocalypse is a masterclass in how to coalesce the visceral and the nebulose, where nothing is stable and all the better for it, its many narrative derangements being pursued with a rare vigour and tenacity of style. As you might expect, Burgess’s zombies often defy expectation: they are prone to shouting and verbal mimicry, seemingly fascinated by alliteration and ethical quandaries, and their cannibalistic ferocity is mirrored by an equally self-destructive force, whereby the snapping of a victim’s neck invariably results in the assailant’s own neck being snapped. Articulate and witty, with imagery to bite the faces off your loved ones for, the end of humanity never looked so good.


4. Nick Land, Chasm: 89 Manifesto for an Abstract Literature (also see Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator)

Teeming with Lovecraftian refrains, Chasm is ostensibly a tale about five men on a boat (called appositely enough the Pythoness) tasked by the mysterious and indifferent QASM corporation with the disposal of an inscrutable object into the deepest extremity of the Mariana Trench; and while the boat they are in is scarcely more than an idea, and the object due for disposal in many senses a non-thing, a void, their eventual effects on the crew prove most deliriously and violently real. All that is established in this novel is absence, but an absence “that wants us to think about it,” and it is this thinking that unravels the crew and the reader alike. We watch on as the narrator, Symns, surrounded by enigmatic insanities and fevered aporias, becomes aware that there is no working it out, this nothing, only its working you out, and inside out – like the telekinetically inverted tennis balls he remembers from his youth. In addition to this narrative there is a 25-point appendix, titled Manifesto for an Abstract Literature, in which Land makes his case for abstraction with consummate flair, albeit a case already made, with atypical eloquence and persuasiveness, in the pages preceding it.


5. Dennis Cooper, Zac’s Haunted House

If, as Nick Land points out in his manifesto, “pictures are mistakes” when constructing a work of abstract horror, then my inclusion in this list of a novel made from nothing but a series of Gifs would seem to suggest I’d done so in error. However, the horror inculcated here is less in the images than in the movement between them, in the diegetic struggle, in all the unseen obscenities manufactured by the reader in an effort to make narrative sense from its fractured parts. The reader is immersed in a sprawling house in which the silly, the slapstick, the cute and the banal sit comfortably with endless children spewing blood, with decapitation after decapitation, with hands reaching inside bodies over and over again, with stabbings, with spontaneous combustions. It’s all equally cartoonish, all equally hideous. It says falling is just falling, liquid just liquid, collapse just collapse, fire just fire, death just death, we chop bread we chop humans: to be squeamish about one half is to miss out on the fun of what is, in Cooper’s world, inevitable anyway. Point being: the horror is not in the sameness or the difference, but in our futile yet inevitable attempts to assimilate them both into a meaningful whole.


6. Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.

G.H., an affluent sculptor, enters her maid’s room and does not return. Inside she encounters a cockroach that she subsequently crushes in a wardrobe door, and from this point on is utterly mesmerized by the expiring insect and the hell they share. It is G.H.’s realization of the fragility of the forms that exist around the formless (the roach’s carapace around its soft, white insides) that invite the horror in. Ultimately, it is not the reality of death that G.H. finds has been previously denied her, but that she is alive in the first place, and how this living is an infirmity, inescapable and fundamentally inhuman. And for once someone has the nerve to stay faithful to the enigma of these moments of crisis, to the “hell of living matter,” to the disenfranchising of the human being, the pale, twitching ugliness of life for once clearly and cruelly seen (as opposed to always being seen as and in relation to something else). The oozing miscreation at the nucleus of this novel is nothing other than life itself, taking its revenge and refusing to die. What more penetrating scope from your horror could you rationally anticipate?
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Old 1 Day Ago   #29
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

Nick Land: the Alt-writer | Prospect Magazine


I'm not particularly interested in all this stuff about Land and alt-right thing, but certain points made in this text exemplifies myopic and bigoted thinking of, yours-typical, Ivory Tower (anglo) liberal.

Nietzsche is apparently 'Tolkien crap' and Burroughs 'immature (genius)'. That's the problem for me, this kind of clear-cut denomination - 'keeping hands clean'.

Nietzsche is certainly not typical philosopher by any means; nor is Burroughs typical writer. Nietzsche is a prime example of, said disparagingly, 'Continental Philosophy' (nobody on the continent knows what the #### that is), while Burroughs is drug-propelled hack who is only acceptable because he belonged to, essentially left oriented, Beat movement. And he was homosexual. We acknowledge them, wash our hands very good and run away. Going deeper in it or taking any of their work seriously is big no-no. And so, of course, thinkers, philosophers, writers like that are left to retards, so they come and do their thing, as they always do. And they are very serious.

People who consider themselves Left can't afford to act like that, Left should always be one ready to embrace, to be inclusive, to go deeper in it, if necessary to subvert to their cause - worst thing for the Left would be this kind of distancing, labeling and moralizing-away from it. What I want to say is that, take for example, Marquis de Sade in France. Who wrote about him? Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, Annie Le Brun... Left. They accepted him, analyzed him, politicized him, subverted him, basically transformed him into progressive, feminist, liberal humanist. You do it like that, you don't hold your dumb reserves and prejudice of what is acceptable or which is the right way to fight for liberal causes.
Can we have Nietzsche with revitalization of values but without rest of it? or hippe-WSB, without all that Mugwump crap? Being bigoted, snarky puritan, should not be the way of Left intellectuals.

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Old 1 Day Ago   #30
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Re: Absences and Inhumanity: Six Works of Abstract Horror

I didn't have much of a problem with that article. It was the attempt at burying good work due to politics in the original post's list I didn't like. Pointing out why supporting Donald Trump is pretty dumb doesn't bother me unless the article is factually incorrect and Land is not a Trump supporter but rather a traditionalist whose views have been conflated with the consumerist, modernity-worshipping, Twitter and reality TV-driven, nuke-thumping Trumpism, which can unfortunately happen in journalism.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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