Are YOU ready for the rise of the robots? Many leading thinkers now warn us that the tech breakthroughs of today will lead to humanity’s doomsday tomorrow: Elon Musk warns against “summoning the demon,” via artificial intelligence, imagining an advanced superhuman A.I. as, “an immortal dictator from which we can never escape.” Stephen Hawking declared that such an A.I. “could spell the end of the human race.”
With all this panic in the air, it’s a good thing we have Peter Clarke’s Singularity Survival Guide to prepare us for the coming tech–pocalypse. Learn how to stockpile weapons, embrace transhumanism, and welcome the awesome, jaw-dropping possibilities of the age to come! Clarke’s book provides a charming and richly humorous look at the debates, dreams, and doomsday predictions surrounding today’s thinking on artificial intelligence, and takes his readers on a truly hilarious ride in the process. Clarke’s Singularity Survival Guide is a timely satire for our age of A.I. anxiety, exploring both the thrilling and dire possibilities posed by this technology, writing with grace, humor, and perhaps most of all, truly human feeling. Don’t be caught off guard by the arrival of your new robot masters: get your copy of The Singularity Survival Guide today!
Lane Chasek writes:
My favorite work by Clarke so far.
The character of Helen gives HAL a run for his money in terms of memorable AIs. Whereas HAL plays a impersonal, calculating Yahweh in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Peter Clarke in Helen has created a terrifying yet seemingly necessary presence in the form of Helen, reminiscent of the goddess Kali.
Rather than playing in to the nightmarish hellscape AI technology could create, Clarke opts for a more nuanced approach. Annihilation of human life is of primary concern in the Survival Guide, but the possibility of AI fulfilling all our needs and granting us immortality could be just as horrifying.
The Singularity Survival Guide is an incredibly smart and darkly funny book, filled with handy tips on how to protect yourself in the event of the coming tech apocalypse. Told from the point of view of Helen, a computer program designed to help humankind survive the Singularity. Wildly original and a must read for any lover of dark comedy. Grab yourself a copy before it’s too late!
DeeGee Williams writes:
Thanks to Helen, Peter Clarke’s artificial intelligence “persona”, you will learn how to face the day that AI takes over humanity. Until then, have fun by reading this guide— and learn some things about yourself along the way, assuming you are a person. If not, you know them already. Bottom line: how many books do you read with a smile on your face?
William Abbott writes:
This is an enjoyable read and a great planning guide for the robot apocalypse. Will you be ready?
“A timely satire, even if humor doesn’t stand a chance of saving us from the sort of superintelligence Clarke envisions.”
Short and entertaining! It was funnier than expected. There are various “experts” who add comments to a number of the chapters–these comments developed a sort of subplot that I wasn’t expecting. It felt a little like the same idea as the commentary that happens in “Pale Fire” by Nabokov. Also the book does cover a lot of interesting topics related to the singularity. Probably anyone who’s into the idea of the singularity would enjoy reading this.
You can watch the book trailer video by Daniel Olbrych (with music by Sam Eliot) here.
Since 1972, no human manned space mission has proceeded beyond near Earth orbit.
Now, numerous countries, including but not limited to the US, China, Japan, India and Israel, seek to change that. However, the most prominent efforts promoting space colonization are not coming from governments, but from industrialists.
September 27, Space-X founder, CEO and lead designer, Elon Musk, gave a talk titled Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species at AIC on his company’s plans to colonize Mars and the numerous technical challenges entailed by the venture.
May 9, Jeff Bezos of Amazon held a talk for Blue Origin, whereat he discussed the tantalizing prospects of space colonization and what he and his company were doing to advance that cause. The near-hour long talk was titled, Going to Space to Benefit Earth, and covered a considerable amount of ground (as one must when attempting to plot out a rough trajectory for the interstellar future of a entire species).
Bezos talked at length about Earth’s resources, growth versus scarcity, and Blue Origin’s reusable rockets; however, most interestingly (to me) was his brisk discourse on O’Neill Colonies (or O’Neill Cylinders). Unlike Musk, whose talk centered on Earth-to-Mars transit for prospective future colonies without remarking what those colonies might look like or how they might be built, Bezos waxed more conceptual regarding potential rough guidelines for colonial deepspace habitats.
O’Neill Colonies were developed out of J.D. Bernal’s space colony sphere concept (aptly titled Bernal Spheres) by the American physicist, Gerard Kitchen O’Neill in a series of lectures in 1975 to 1976 and also in his 1976 book, The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. In brief, a O’Neill Colony was conceived of as a massive cylinder, 5 miles in diameter, 20 miles long, constrained at each end with a bearing system, that would generate artificial gravity by spinning so as to be maximally conducive to human habitation. Until Bernal and O’Neil nearly all space colonization discourse was constrained to planetary surfaces due, at least in part, to what Issac Asimov called ‘planetary chauvinism’ (who borrowed the phrase from Carl Sagan).
The Promise of the Abyss
Whilst the theoretical archive of space habitation is dense and public support strong, the like archive of oceanic habitation is somewhat thinner with public support being considerably less strong as a consequence despite the fact that it is now wholly within the realm of technological feasibility. One of the likely reasons why can be found in a line from Mr. Musk’s previously mentioned talk wherein he noted that,
“Right now, on Earth, you can go anywhere in 24 hours. I mean, anywhere. You can fly over the antartic pole and parachute out, 24 hours from now, if you want. You can get parachuted from the top of Mt. Everest — from the right plane. You can go to the bottom of the ocean. […] So, there is no physical frontier on Earth anymore.”
He is correct, as far as the surface of the earth goes (the subterranean is another story entirely), but traversing a frontier and settling a frontier are two very different things. Despite the ease with which a contemporary advanced submersible may traverse the bottom of the ocean, no permanent human settlement has ever there been created.
In terms of intercivilizational development, space colonization is the more important trajectory, this much is incontestable, as, given a sufficiently long timeline, a species-wide extinction event will eventually occur (such as the death of the sun, which would entail the evaporation of all life on Earth), thus, moving out into the solar system is a way to hedge our species’ collective bets for continued existence. That being said, there are a number of promising benefits from oceanic colonization in the short term, including resource extraction, migration alleviation, scientific and architectural experimentation and many more, all of which have their own knock-on effects (both potentially positive and negative). To further develop concrete plans for oceanic colonization, then, it behooves us to engage in a perfunctory cost benefit analysis, for if the negatives are found to outway the positives no one will want to engage in the project and if the analysis is not conducted, no one will care because no one will know. However, if the benefits of mass underwater habitation construction are found to be generally positive, the knowledge thereof will further incentivize those preternaturally exploratory few who would invariably be at the vanguard of any prospective future abyssal ventures.
Bountiful Sanitary Water
The first and most obvious benefit of ocean colonization is that, with a sufficient filtration system, one will never run out of clean water, both for consumption and sanitation. In a deepsea habitation with a reverse osmosis desalination system, the supply of clean water would be endless and energy expenditure, minimal, as (provided sufficient depth) the pressure would perform the majority of the operational heavy-lifting.
High-Yield Aquatic Farming
Crustacean, fish and mollusc farms in addition to gardens, would be both easy to maintain and provide ample, nutritional vittles, both for consumption and exportation. The novelty of deepsea base cuisine itself will, in some quarters, will likely be such to generate considerable demand.
Mineral Mining & Hydrocarbon Extraction
Polymetallic nodules, manganese crusts, metalliferous sulphidic muds and massiveconsolidated sulphides all can be exploited for metals, whilst submarine phosphorite deposits can be harvested for elemental phosphorous, fertilizer, feed and industrial chemical supplements.
New Sovereignty — Conflict Mitigation
Crowding and demographic diversity engender and intensify inter-tribal adversity, spurring a desire for system exit by those unamenable to assimilation. To alleviate future inter-group conflict by separatist designs or over-capacity migrant flow, new, submarine sovereignties can be created whereby future civil wars (the most bloody, fatal kind of warfare) are mitigated.
Mitigation Of Complications Brought About Via Sea Level Rise
The fear of sea level rise could be completely mitigated by designing oceanic habitations around the coast, whether above water-level, below-water-level or architectures capable of both floatation and submersion whilst sustaining a amenable habitat.
Beyond the immediate aesthetic and material benefits of ocean colonization, the single most important aspect of designing sustainable, durable human submarine habitation is in orienting design towards mastery of the inhospitable. In place of making previously habitable domains more habitable, the ultimate goal of colony design efforts should be to make all spaces habitable — whether that domain is the deep ocean, a distant planet, or the unlit and unpopulated expanse of void-space.
Past and Continuing Attempts At Inverse Arcology
Though ocean colonization has not been as feverishly pursed as space colonization (as can be gathered from the fact that every major industrial nation has a space program, but none have similar programs for sea-floor settlement), there have nonetheless been numerous past and continuing attempts to make the sea human habitable. Before we come to the various structures and plans for watery residence, it is important to note that though many of them were not forthright attempts at colonization (widespread, long-term settlement for large populations), there is no intrinsic reason why they could not in the future. Every metropolis in the U.S. was once but a scattering of small homesteads. In like fashion, the aquatic demenses of tomorrow can only arise from gradual, granular development.
The Conshelf I, II and III
In 1962, Conshelf I was set up off Marseilles at a depth of ten meters. The structure measured 5 meters long and 2.5 meters in diameter. Two men, Albert Falco and Claude Wesly, were the first ‘oceanauts’ to live in it, completely underwater, for a week.
In 1963, Conshelf II was deployed, it was designed to function as a small village, built on the floor of the Red Sea at a depth of ten meters. Like Conshelf I, the Conshelf II was developed by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in conjunction with the French petrochemical industry.
In 1965, Conshelf III was deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, between Nice and Monaco, at a depth of 330 feet (100 m). Like stations I and II, Conshelf III was intended to function as a proof of concept habitat and pave the way for future designs of deepsea industrial bases.
Sub-Biosphere Project II
Begun in 1998, the Sub-Biosphere project (SBS2) is the brainchild of London designer and concept artist, Phil Pauley which lays out a potential submersible human habitation. SBS2 consists of 8 spheres affixed in a circle to a larger central sphere from which life support is monitored, all of which would function as biomes capable of floating or submerging beneath large bodies of water.
The Muraka, which means ‘coral’ in Dhivehi, the language of the Maldives, is a opulent villa located 16.5 feet beneath the waves of the Indian Ocean. Whilst not meant for private residence, it certainly could be used as such and shows the aesthetic allure of submarine architecture.
Project Ocean Spiral
“This is a real goal, not a pipe dream. The Astro Boy cartoon character had a mobile phone long before they were actually invented – in the same way, the technology and knowhow we need for this project will become available.” —Shimizu Corp spokesman, Hideo Imamura on project Ocean Spiral
In 2014, the prolific Japanese architectural firm, Shimizu Corporation, announced plans for Ocean Spiral, a prospective underwater city which would accomadate approximately 5000 people and draw power from the water its via thermal energy conversion.
It is projected to be operational by 2030.
Ahnert, A. & Borowski, C. (2000) Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery, 7: 299.
Blue Origin. (2019) Going to Space to Benefit Earth. Youtube (Blue Origin).
Boban Docevski. (2016) Jacques Cousteau’s Underwater Colonies From The 1960s. The Vintage News.
Gerard K. O’Neill. (1976) The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. William Morrow and Company.
Jeff Kelly. (2014) 10 Underwater Facilities You Could Actually Live In. Listverse.
Jude Garvey. (2010) Sub Biosphere 2: Designs for a Self-Sustainable Underwater World. New Atlas.
Julie Johnsson. (2017) The New Space Race. Bloomberg.
Katharine J. Tobal. (2014) Japan Releases Plans For Futuristic Underwater Cities By 2030. Collective Evolution.
Leah Crane. (2019) Elon Musk’s SpaceX or a Superpower: Who’ll Win The New Space Race? New Scientist.
Lori Zimmer. (2014) Self-Sufficient Sub-Biosphere 2 Houses 100 People Under The Sea.
Matthew Williams. (2017) The Future of Space Colonization — Terraforming or Space Habitats? PHYSorg.
Richard Page. (2018) An Overview of Chinese Policy, Activity and Strategic Interests Relating to Deepsea Mining In The Pacific Region. DSMC.
SpaceX. (2016) Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species. Youtube (SpaceX).
von Rad U., Kudrass HR. (1987) Exploration and Genesis of Submarine Phosphorite Deposits from the Chatham Rise, New Zealand — A Review. In: Teleki P.G., Dobson M.R., Moore J.R., von Stackelberg U. (eds) Marine Minerals. NATO ASI Series (Series C: Mathematical and Physical Sciences), vol 194. Springer, Dordrecht.
The book has received a warm reception thus far; author, entrepreneur and political activist, Zoltan Istvan said of the work, “The technological singularity has officially been treated to a full-scale parody, and it’s even more comical and irreverent than it sounds.”
You can find the book online here and follow the author online here.
On March 7, 2018, Defense Digital Secretary Director, Chris Lynch gave a talk at the Cloud Industry Day in Arlington, Virginia, announcing and outlining a Department of Defense (DOD) program known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). Lynch’s talk was one of many, all of which revolved around a DOD-directed cloud migration entailing a ten year contract for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) instantiations, both classified and unclassified. The project was spurned on by DOD’s retrograde infrastructure and lack of cloud presence which paled in comparison to commercial innovators, as well as the fact that Amazon was the world’s single largest provider of PaaS and IaaS services (which made them a natural go-to). Cloud computing tools had become increasingly normative. The DOD, one of the largest employers in the world, could no longer compete. Thus, significant change was necessary.
Shortly thereafter, in October, Google – who had previously been attached to the bid – saw a upswing of internal protest against the action and swiftly backed out of the arrangement stating that their ‘corporate values’ were in conflict with the DOD deal. This marked the second government contract the company had backed out of; in June, Google had also removed itself from a second bid with the Air Force’s AI initiative, titled ‘Project Maven.’ Again, the Maven-disentanglement was driven by internal protest, with thousands of Google employees reportedly signing a document declaring that, “Google should not be in the business of war.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared no such apprehensions and went public with AWS’ direction in relation to the deal, emphatically declaring that he absolutely would not be backing out and that America was a great country which needed to be defended. He further went on to speculate that the country would be imperiled if the major tech companies turned their back on national defense.
As Amazon and the DOD continued hammering out the details of the cloud migration plan a intimate survey of 5,400 individuals was conducted by the Washington Post1 via support from the James L. Knight Foundation and the Baker Center For Leadership & Governance, conducted from June through July of 2018 and released in October. Of those polled 3000 were ‘nationally representative’, 800 were ‘african americans’, 800 further were ‘latinx2 americans’ and 800 were ‘asian americans.’ The results were, to many, surprising. Confidence in institutions was cratering amongst the polis and satisfaction with ‘democracy’ (despite the US being a constitutional republic and not a democracy) was also low. Upon being asked how satisfied they were with how democracy was working in the US, only 10% responded ‘very satisfied’, whilst 30% were ‘somewhat satisfied’, 25% were neutral, 21% ‘somewhat dissatisfied’ and 15% ‘very dissatisfied.’ There was very little variation between region and education; however, there was considerable difference of opinion between gender and race and especially, party affiliation. A meager 39% of Independents and 44% of Democrats were very or somewhat satisfied with democracy in the US whereas 76% of Republics were very or somewhat satisfied. Additionally, 35% of democrats polled believed that members of the opposing party were a ‘very serious threat’ to the United States and its people. 32% of republicans polled responded that the opposing party were a ‘very serious threat’ to the US and its people. Perhaps most interestingly, the study found that institutional confidence was highly driven by party affiliation. Google (which recently abandoned operations in Kreuzberg following heated demonstrations from locals), the US Military and Amazon were found to generally inspire high degrees of confidence from those polled whereas governmental institutions (congress, political parties) and Facebook were found to inspire low confidence.
Among republicans, the military inspired more confidence than any other institution (whether governmental or non), with the press inspiring the least. Among democrats Amazon inspired more confidence than any other company or governmental institution, with the executive branch (unsurprisingly) inspiring least confidence.
The results of the study were then predictably swept up by partisans of both parties and bandied as weapons to bludgeon their opposition. One Twitter user responded to the survey by declaring: “Democrats place more trust in a major corporation (Amazon) than in any other institution. Amazing encapsulation of the shift from the party of labor to the party of technocracy.” Another user responded to the findings by stating: “Incredibly sad. The FBI, Amazon, really??? Another reason not to trust the Democrats.” A list of similar comments could go on for some time, those above merely here interjected to illustrate a general public tenor which saw those opposed to the democrats expressing incredulity and outrage over the party’s affinity towards Amazon (and “big tech” more generally) and those opposed to the republicans expressing anger over their continued support for banks and the POTUS. However, what such commentators are missing is the uneven diagrammatic overlap of positive affinities between Republican and Democrat support as both heavily support Amazon. The Democrats support the tech giant directly where as the Republicans support them through their support of the military, of which the DOD is a part, the DOD in turn heavily relies on Amazon and hence, support of, at least the DOD, is itself, at this juncture, implicit support for AWS, which continues to unfurl itself across the world like a gigantic octopus. Whatever change they bring about it is unlikely that all of it will be negative; one thing, however, is clear, that the corporation and the state are becoming increasingly interwoven and as a consequence, increasingly indistinguishable. It is here worthy mentioning that this was largely accidental, Bezos didn’t set out in 1995 to completely restructure the US militaries technological infrastructure, he only got to his position through massive user consumption and promotion of his goods and services. A voluntary shift through the cloud from one sovereignty to another without disturbing the totality. A perforation of American sovereignty through a inability to successfully manage data-flows, the importance of which, can scarcely be overstated given that all states maintain their power, principally, through oversight, through being able to account for every pertinent perturbation (preferably before it occurs) when any other entity is able to better aggregate, manage and utilize dataflows that entity (without severe intercession) will nearly invariably assume a position commensurate or above the state. Displacing its conceptual efficacy without displacing its members or other appendages which will only be spurned on by the erosion of confidence in governmental institutions documented by the WaPo poll and recent Pew Research3 polls4 which are symptomatic of a continuing series of grand-scale narrative shifts and conceptual displacements (the new tale of various globalism running into competition with older narratives of nationhood; the tribal member vs the citizen vs the global citizen vs the ubiquitous non-citizen user).
Sovereign platforms congeal, regardless. Regardless of left or right or their imploding center. A political trichotomy for which there is little hope for extended future survival. Upwing is the future. Whether that will be for good or ill and who for will depend, chiefly, upon the constitution of those platforms which successfully integrate the US government and who, through new forms of sacral inscription (new cultural flows, modulated by multiplication of new data flows and attempts to controls them), garner the vestments of the priest (the ‘game changer’ the ‘tech guru’ the ‘self-made man’ etc) and subsume the contemporary clerisy. Where once the state was a great and self-contained machine, now it is the confluence of outputs of extra-national and intra-national forces. Neither, chiefly, user nor provider, but rather, mediating receptor.
1The Washington Post, just like Amazon, is owned by Jeff Bezos.
Defamation Factory: The Sordid History of the ADL by Kaiter Enless (preface by Tomislav Sunic) from Reconquista Press is now available on Amazon. It is the only book which documents the colorful history of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, from its founding in 1913 amidst the furor surrounding the trial of Leo Frank, all the way up to their present campaigns of internet censorship, in detailed chronological order. The book is presently available in paperback format.
Those that wish to shift any power structure will need to pervade not just in the military, the media and the legislation-complex but also in the arts.
– A Brief Primer on Fiction Writing, Part. 4
In the previous installment of this series I briskly documented the strange case of the self-styled “Leftist Fight Club,” created by the organization, Knights of Socialism (no, really, that’s what they call themselves) of the University of Central Florida. The group was inspired by the film Fight Club which was, in turn, inspired by the fictional novel of the same name by freelance journalist and transgressive novelist, Chuck Palahniuk. I illustrated this organization due to how starkly it showed the way in which art can work as a model for human action (outside of a momentary shaping of consciousness – that is to say, that which moves well beyond merely evoking a, “Ah, that’s cool.”). But it is far from a isolated incident.
Art as a model for human action. (continued)
Casting our attention back in time to the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte we can see the power of dynamic art to sway the minds and hearts of men by the numerous cartoons which were printed by the British to defame him after that once venerable sovereignty had set its sights upon the newly founded French Empire.
Such ridiculous caricatures upset the Emperor nearly as much as it amused its target demographics. In fact, the artwork so perturbed Napoleon (who as a master statesman knew well enough the import of “optics”) that he attempted, unsuccessfully, to convince the British newspapers to suppress them which only further inflamed the pre-war tensions between the two countries and invariably contributed to Britain’s ultimate decision to topple the new, and seemingly ever-expanding, French regime. The British, however, were not the only one’s utilizing art to their political ends, for Napoleon himself commissioned numerous paintings of himself, typically highly romanticized, after each of his successful battles to the effect that every battle was garnished in a aura of sacrality. The most popular of these numerous portraits, Napoleon Crossing The Alps, is still endlessly reproduced today.
But let us return to our central concern, writing, and flash forth to 1909, Paris.
Le Figuro has just published a most shocking text upon the front page of their magazine.
The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism.
The text, penned by the avante-garde Alexandrian-Italian poet, F.T. Marinetti, venerate the arrival of the machinic age and establish, “-war as the world’s only hygiene-,” and “-scorn for woman-,” as well as a whole host of revolutionary political aspirations which were as negatory and violet as they were prescient and constructive. The document would go on to spawn the socio-political art movement known as Futurism (not to be confused with Futurology – someone who is interested in prospective technology, a term which, today, is often used interchangeably with what we shall call lowercase ‘futurism’). The Futurists in their near 40 year reign, lead by Marinetti, aided in the creation of Fascism, guided the rise of Mussolini, championed both World Wars (and fought in them), pioneered the arts with the creation of noise music and free word poetry and inspired three of the most well known modern art movements, Dada, Vorticism and Surrealism – all three of which, in turn, continue in their own subtle ways, to influence art to this very day.
The reason futurism was so successful is that, despite it’s chaotic veneer, it, rather uniquely, was expressly designed and consciously, methodically implemented into every sphere of life. There were futurist theories on war, aesthetics, dance, music, politics (they advocated for women’s suffrage and sexual liberation for the express purpose of destabilizing society). They even had futurist cook books. But more than all of the ephermera, Futurism was a philosophy of life, wherein one strove ever to extend and glorify, not just one’s self, but the whole of the world even at the cost of its selfsame destruction. It was the endless, ceaseless, remorseless, ripping away of all that which was stultified and corrosive and hurling oneself at the world with, as Marinetti put it, “-ardor, splendor, and generosity, to swell the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.”
All this from a five page short-story/manifesto written by a relatively unknown, non-native-born poet.
Remember that when next you doubt the efficacy of your penmanship.
Lift up your heads!
Erect on the summit of the world, once again we hurl defiance to the stars!
The Logos Club proudly presents a collection of some of our finest choice writing featuring: Kaiter Enless, Cygnus-X, Gio Pennacchietti & Joel Hyduke. Re-distributing or altering the contents of this anthology will result in immediate manly challenge and a subsequent duel at ten paces.
Click the link below to receive the book and many thanks for your kindly patronage.
Putting aside many of the age-old questions concerning the validity of the concept of Human Nature one can with absolute certainty say that there are Human Universals, that is, Human Generalities. Everyone who exists was born and everyone who was born will die. Everyone feels the pangs of hunger and thirst, of dread and envy, jealousy and admiration, lust and love, of purpose and purposelessness. This is so easily observable that is wholly beyond contention (“but what if we are all brains in a vat in a vast simulation?!” Some cheeky fellow will doubtless interject at some point – mischievous rogues).
The acceptance of this a priori supposition then establishes some very fertile ground for purpose in fiction. Purpose is the first and most fundamental thing any given writer should ask him or herself before proceeding with a given piece of work (indeed it is the first of things which one should ask oneself before doing anything). “Why am I doing what I am doing? Why do I write stories at all? What do I wish to convey in it’s pages?” (and it should here be noted that if one does not wish to convey anything at all then there is no point in writing to begin with, the art that is only for the self and goes not beyond might as well stay contained within the brain! What is it then but a dream?) “What is the purpose of my art?”
Naturally, only you, the reader, can answer such questions in their particulars but there are some general principals that might help us better establish and define our aims as fiction writers. First and foremost among those principals is that if a story does not speak, in some meaningful way, to any Human Universals, then it simply will not be read with any regularity – or even if it is, it certainly isn’t going to be remembered (indeed, why should it?). But it isn’t enough merely to speak to the human soul, as it were, but also to do so in a clear and cogent way, that is to say, a understandable way. It is, of course, fine enough to write for a specific audience in mind (the case of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra is here illustrative: his work was oft found difficult to interpret at best and downright incomprehensible at worst; the US literary critic, Harold Bloom described Nietzsche’s only fiction entry as “unreadable”).
Writing with a specific audience in mind is highly recommended; however, writing in such a way that no one but one’s own self and some small cadre of philologists and linguists (such would be the kind to say, Underworld is a masterpiece because despite it’s endless meandering without coming to a point, DeLillo is very good at making symbolic representations of waste-fixation as a American by-product which lays bear the soul of the post-industrial age – or some such tosh) is hardly the way to go for the simple fact that one is then, essentially writing in another language which will be totally incomprehensible to the common man and often, to the not-so-common man as well.
There is a tendency among post-modern novelists to zealously seek after originality at the expense of anything else (not all post-modern artists are guilty of this, obviously, but it is a general trend I have observed) and that anything else is generally a coherent and clear theme (again, DeLillo is a supreme example of this, he writes a lot of words but rarely says anything; there are implications, suggestions galore, but everything is tangential to something else which isn’t defined, or if so, poorly. Everything is obscured and referential, so much so that the obscure references and the inertia of his language itself become the whole point of the text – though he does, of course, have his high points).
This is a tendency to be avoid if you wish to approach art as a form of social communication (it seems lost on modern man that this was the purpose of nearly all ancient art – not the selfish, narcissistic impulse to stroke the ego that says, “Look at me! I feel something fragile and fleeting; observe it nonetheless, for such is my importance!” – but rather the communal sharing of a given societies highest ideals and aspirations for the purposes of civilizational lift).
Once one has acquired the knack for both clarity and purpose (and clarity of purpose) one should turn the mind’s eye to the directionality of the story itself. It matters not how far from terrestrial reality one flies upon the back of that great bird, creativity – whether you are writing about ancient dragons, or orcs, or cosmic horrors – certain human factors will always remain visible to be plucked out by the discerning no matter how phantasmal, grotesque or fantastical the setting, plot, characters or dialogue. Why is this – because you aren’t a dragon a orc or a cosmic horror, how could you possibly think as one?!