Fredric Jameson has suggested that “now it is practical thinking which everywhere represents a capitulation to the system”. The imperative to accept the world as it is, to ‘be realistic’, to work within existing paradigms and structures, has drowned out the old Situationist call to social dreaming: ‘be reasonable, demand the impossible’.
It begins with a young man, terrified, panicked, being brought in for interrogation by a Stasi officer, Gerd Weisler (an excellent performance by Ulrich Mühe). You can almost smell the stink of the young man’s sweat, of his fear; you can sense that he is going to piss himself. Cutting away from the interrogation itself, we are in a drab classroom where young students, training to be the future grey faceless men and women of the Stasi.
Entering the Gdańsk shipyards is more difficult than entering Europe. AñA and I knock on the security guard’s door, give him our names, then huddle out of the rain while he phones through to Grzegorz Klaman. The temperature has dropped to ten degrees.
Speculative fiction – an umbrella term for science fiction, fantasy, horror and other non-realist forms – has always been peculiarly suited to political radicalism since the form investigates a world that is ‘other’ to our own, a world which is in some way changed or altered. It is a thought experiment: by developing this sense of estrangement, science fiction asks us to think back upon our own society.
I think it started when I was at school. A sense of not having anything to do with what I was supposed to be doing. It wasn’t painful. It wasn’t a hard school. I simply was not the slightest bit interested in the basic activity of being at school, being a high-school student.
Among the beneficiaries of Australia’s twelve-year-old native title process have been the cartographers. Indigenous claimants and their opponents must have their interests in land mapped. The colourful results, representing familiar empty spaces cluttered as the Balkans with Aboriginal claims spelled with noodling vowels and diphthongs, festooned, for a time, offices across Australia.
Those quiet moments those times of
Early winter, the jubilant bush flowers, little mammals in the evening. My hut was warm and smoky, antechinus skipped along the carpentry.
This is a family-values forest. The red-checked table cloth is spread on grass where the canopy has been removed.
it invisibly defined our lives, hidden matrix of black blood the post-war boom fuelled by it
In a letter to friend and fellow-conservationist Kathleen McArthur, Judith Wright lamented that for all their hard work nothing seemed to have been conserved except, oddly, the stories of their attempts to conserve them.