Sunday Reads

Greenhouses in Southern Spain

Exploring the Future Beyond Cyberpunk’s Neon and Noir

by Jay Owens, my go-to for explaining cultural stuff that makes me feel old, and she does it in such a wonderful way. This is a run-down of nine sci-fi genres that feel like cyberpunk did in the 80s, because these days cyberpunk is nostalgia for a future imagined in the past. As we reach one of those “end of history” moment when it seems impossible to see a future beyond iterating the present, new methods of speculation become more urgent.

Climate Change and Technology Define the Rural Future

This is a good example of why a new sci-fi is needed. We’re changing the countryside in ways that make our concepts of “countryside” woefully outdated. The otherwise retro-porn Blade Runner 2049 is mentioned as having a rare-for-sci-fi scene in the countryside, acknowledging that the city of the future cannot be an autarky (great word for a self-sufficient system, that). This article looks the weirdness of the countryside right now, from solar farms and greenhouse fields to structural attempts to fix climate changed landscapes. A fascinating overview with some amazing images.

The Automation Charade

This is turning into quite the speculative fiction newsletter, it seems, as this leftist look at automation is really about the stories about automation which denigrate those who do the actual work making their labour appear worthless because it can be automated away. What’s of note is these stories are becoming less and less effective at covering up the truth that automation, by whatever term it goes by (AI being the current label) is pretty woeful. Maybe capital needs some of those new sci-fi genres?

100 Websites That Shaped the Internet as We Know It

OK, something a bit more light-hearted for those of us enraptured by the early web in the years around the turn of the century. Get ready for some Proustian rushes from these screenshots.

‘Oumuamua, Thin Films and Lightsails

And we’re back with the science speculation. I swear I just dump these links in a document over the week. Any patterns are accidental. This contains the news that ʻOumuamua, that weird asteroid shaped like a baguette that flew by Earth last year, behaved like a Lightsail, designed to capture solar radiation, and could therefore be a remnant of a structure powered by solar radiation, and all that entails. Far fetched, of course, but fascinating none the less.

Sunday Listens

Divide And Dissolve
Do you like doom? I like doom. This is some Australian neoclassical ambient doom from a duo called Divide and Dissolve. I came across them on Jay Springett’s blog-roundup which often has nice things.

Marika Hackman
If that’s a bit much for a Sunday morning, I’m quite liking Marika Hackman who cropped up on my Spotify Discover algo. The song Time’s Been Reckless reminds me of lots of things.