Saronik talks with Manish Melwani about outdated visions of the future and stale science fiction ideas that just won’t die.
Manish is a Singaporean writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop in 2014, and then completed a master’s thesis at NYU entitled Starports, Portals and Port Cities: Science Fiction and Fantasy in Empire’s Wake. (That’s where he met Saronik.) Manish has published several short stories, with several more—and a novel—on the way.
They talk about science fiction’s imperialist heritage and how going to Mars is just a distraction from the imaginative (and literal) dead end our civilization faces. They also throw shade on Cecil Rhodes and certain tech moguls who have completely missed the point of Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels.
Manish’s perspective has been shaped by many other writers and theorists including: John Rieder’s work on Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, Samuel R. Delany’s seminal essays, Alec Nevala-Lee’s Astounding, a group biography of John W. Campbell and other figures from the Golden Age of science fiction, and Kim Stanley Robinson’s recent climate sci-fi oeuvre.
Further reading includes Joanna Russ’s We Who Are About To, Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future, Chen Qiufan’s The Waste Tide, Malka Older’s Centenal Cycle, Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers edited by Sarena Ulibarri, and Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation edited by Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland.
Image created by Saronik Bosu using open source vectors.
Kim talks with Michelle Rada about the death drive in psychoanalysis.
Michelle references Todd McGowan’s Enjoying What We Don’t Have: The Political Project of Psychoanalysis, University of Nebraska Press, 2013.
She also recommends Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets, by Todd McGowan.
In our longer conversation, she also quoted, What IS Sex? by Alenka Zupančič, MIT Press, 2017.
She also recommends a special issue of differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies on “Constructing the Death Drive.” This issue includes an article by Luce Cantin, “The Drive, the Untreatable Quest of Desire” which she discusses in the epidsode. Michelle thinks the whole issue is worth checking out, and especially recommends the article in there by Tracy McNulty as well, “Unbound: The Speculative Mythology of the Death Drive” and the piece by Willy Apollon, “Psychoanalysis and the Freudian Rupture.”
She also highly recommends Life and Death in Psychoanalysis by Jean Laplanche (Johns Hopkins UP, 1976), which really informs her understanding of the economics/psychic structure of the drive.
and of course….Beyond the Pleasure Principle by Sigmund Freud.
And “On Narcissism: An Introduction,” Freud’s 1914 essay on primary/secondary narcissism.
Michelle Rada is a PhD candidate in English at Brown University and Affiliated Faculty at Emerson College. Her research is on modernist aesthetics, form, the novel, and psychoanalysis. Michelle’s work has appeared in Room One-Thousand, The Comparatist, The James Joyce Quarterly, The Journal of Beckett Studies, and The Journal of Modern Literature. She is Senior Assistant Editor at differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies.