Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Announcing GreenPunk

It seems that no matter how hard status quo-oriented people want the world of the last few decades to carry on forever, it is obvious that the old days are not only ending, but perhaps actually ended a long time ago. Consider these facts:

1) Finance-Capitalism has collapsed. No matter how Republican you want to be, it is, as you have known it, done, down in the ash-can of history, dead forever. Finished as surely Stalinism was. The party’s over, and it probably should have been cancelled long before the food and the band showed up;

2) The planetary climate is undergoing a shift that is currently and will continue to be perceptible within the lifetimes of people living now. The estimates of how long it will take to move radically toward a warmer and much different-looking planet are starting to look way too conservative and, (sorry to my neighbors, the “I-Don’t-Need-Facts-I-Got-Faith” folks of Jesusland) there is no serious scientific doubt anymore that something is happening. None at all. You can argue all day about how and why and what to do about it, but it is happening, and continuing to pollute the hell out of the planet is not going to help;

3) We have created (and by “we” I mean, collectively, the people of countries where people get to sit and type on computers like I am right now) mountains and heaps and rafts and flotillas of—excuse my language—shit. There is shit heaped everywhere, towers of manufactured crap, hordes of cheap and useless consumer goods, monumental barge-loads of human-made garbage as far as the eye can see. There’s a vortex of water bottles, trash bags and other plastic crap the size of Texas out in the Pacific ocean for eff’s sake! This is simply unsustainable in a world where the level of human anguish and the depth of planetary exhaustion and the complete and total fuck-all-this world-pain demand profound change at nearly every level.

End of lecture. But I said all that as a preface to presenting the following: Matt Staggs’ “GreenPunk Manifesto,” published yesterday on his fine blog Enter the Octopus. He proposes to identify and promulgate a sub-genre of fiction centered around this premise:

GreenPunk: a technophilic spec-fic movement centered on characters using and being affected by the use of DIY renewable resources, recycling and repurposing. GreenPunk would emphasize the ability of the individual – and his or her responsibility – for positive ecological and social change.

“Rejecting steampunk’s romanticism while embracing its focus on approachable, ‘knowable’ technology (as opposed to the ‘black box’ nature of digital tech), GreenPunk envisions a world in which the detritus of consumer culture as propagated by the Elite is appropriated and repurposed by the masses toward the reconstruction of a devastated ecology and the address of social ills.”

Please go to Matt’s page and read more. A lot of people have posted interesting comments suggesting some already-existing literature that may fit under this umbrella or which may presage it. Also, according to recent Twitter updates from Matt, there will soon be a full-blown web resource for GreenPunk (if it hasn’t been launched already), and I will update as appropriate. Finally, I will commit right now to using M-Brane resources, such as they are, at some level with producing an anthology of new GreenPunk fiction should that seem to be demanded by the Movement.

[I’ll note that the website also ran an article about Matt’s post today, but (as is common on that site) somewhat missed the point (at least in user comments) that this is first and foremost a written fiction concept and not just a visual aesthetic. That may come later, but the TV/movie/videogame fanboys who like to dump on book-related ideas are not yet the whole intended audience for this. Also, I swiped that image of a library with trees growing in it from Matt's own post.]

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Anonymous said...

I feel sheepish... I just twittered earlier today that there should be no more {subject}Punk genres. OOoops.

I agree with the POV and politics, but I question if it is wise to keep naming new movements in this way since it seems kind of faddish. No insult to Matt's or your efforts whatsoever.


Anonymous said...

and btw, I'm probably just being irritable. Just blogged abt health care reform... need to go watch something with rainbows and unicorns.

Christopher Fletcher said...

Hmmm. Well, I have to warn you that there is probably going to be at least one more: In addition to this green business, I am also backing a post-colonial Mexico-oriented "punk" genre that Cesar Torres has named "beanpunk" (and for which he may be, so far, the only major member, but it will grow). :)

But yeah, your point is well taken about the fad names and how they can get tiresome after a while, but I guess it's sort of become an easy shorthand since we can now say "cyberpunk" or "steampunk" etc and we all know now what that means more or less without needing it described in detail. I guess these sub-genres would evolve and exist without the labeling, and it could be that the labeling then causes a category to exist that wasn't there before and that motivates new writers to write to the label. Which can be good, but not always. I think a lot of people got to where they'd had enough of cyberpunk for a while because there was maybe too much of it all at once. But then it kind of came back later in some new ways and we called it (of course) "post-cyberpunk."

Laura Eno said...

I rather like the 'GreenPunk' name. It brands punk as something viable and positive instead brooding and negative.

Hopefully enough people will make an effort at changing our current lifestyle while we still can.

Christopher Fletcher said...

Cheers to that, Laura!

I'm trying to think if I have run any stories in M-Brane already or have any upcoming that might fit into this category in any way, but I'm not coming up with any from memory. There is one that I can think of coming up in THINGS WE ARE NOT which might qualify.

Anonymous said...

I wondered about the beanpunk comment I saw recently.. lol

Anonymous said...

Greenpunk - I can see this working.

We have to do something and if we are able to channel our efforts in producing 'non-shit', then we are taking steps towards making people more aware of the consequences of their actions.

I'm all for it. Now to write that story... amongst all the others.

A said...

Sounds VERY cool! I'm actually writing a novel called "Mender" which isn't quite Greenpunk--according the the manifesto--but more of a "biopunk-gone-amok / anti-ubercyberpunk" novel. Er... it's about ecology on a very large scale. Hive cities, and terraforming, and druids, oh my!

How do I officially align myself with this super-cool subgenre? This is teutally something I could get behind and support!


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