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Mythmakers and Lawbreakers: Anarchist Writers on Fiction

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Mythmakers and Lawbreakers: Anarchist Writers on Fiction Cover

ISBN13: 9781849350020
ISBN10: 1849350027
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

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"Basically, anarchy is in fact the only political position that is actually possible." — from the interview with Alan Moore, author of V for Vendetta

We all know that there is a deeply entwined relationship between personal politics and works of fiction. For centuries, authors have used the veil of fiction to cast a critical eye toward the larger society around them: think of emile Zola, Victor Hugo, Issac Asimov, Margaret Atwood, Aldous Huxley, J. R. R. Tolkien, H. G. Wells, and even Mary Shelley. Now, for the first time, in an unprecedented new release from AK Press, some of the biggest names in contemporary fiction discuss this relationship with a specific focus on anarchist politics.

Sci-fi powerhouses Ursula K. LeGuin, Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock, and Lewis Shiner join activist authors Derrick Jensen, Starhawk, Cristy C. Road, and a variety of other up-and-coming young writers in a series of interviews that explore fiction's deeply political roots. Ranging in scope from serious political discussions to hilarious personal anecdotes, the interviews collected here paint an intimate portrait of the author as a political agent.

Compiled and annotated by SteamPunk magazine founder Margaret Killjoy, and with an introduction by Kim Stanley Robinson, Mythmakers and Lawbreakers is an engaging and highly readable book — a must-read for any serious fan of sci-fi or political fiction, and a useful tool for both new and seasoned authors interested in developing their own political utopias.

Synopsis:

"The best fiction has always been dangerous. In this volume is a collection of interviews that explore the deep-seated relationship between personal politics and the world of fiction. A number of authors reflect on how and why their political beliefs have shaped the stories they create, and explain the ways fiction can change society." Mythmakers and Lawbreakers is a must-read for any serious fan of sci-fi or political fiction, and a useful tool for both new and seasoned authors interested in developing their own political utopias.

Synopsis:

The best fiction has always been dangerous . . .

About the Author

Margaret Killjoy is a writer, editor, and designer. The founder of SteamPunk magazine, and the author of The SteamPunk's Guide to the Apocalypse, Margaret lives a nomadic lifestyle and has been involved in local politics around the globe.

Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. He is the author of numerious books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Fifty Degrees Below, Forty Signs of Rain, The Years of Rice and Salt, and Antarctica. In 2008 he was named one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Kyla, October 26, 2009 (view all comments by Kyla)
"Any book that doesn’t start from the fact that this culture is killing the planet and work to resolve that is unforgivable. We’d be better off with blank pages."
-Derrick Jensen

"I guess when I was 17 or 18 and I started doing Food Not Bombs and working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in south Florida. ... I was becoming an activist outside of my brain, outside of creating art. And by being more involved in the world, I started thinking about my identity: who fucked me over, why am I the way I am, why were Green Day the only people who understood me when I was 14?"
-Christy C. Road

I am getting beside myself trying to write this review in a coherent, organized fashion. My favorite zinesters for once taken seriously as creators of culture, political theory, and radical praxis! Calls to arms for the hopelessly romantic; calls to imagination for the hopelessly political! Collective writing processes! Punks!

Mythmakers and Lawbreakers is a collection of interviews with contemporary anarchist fiction writers by a contemporary anarchist fiction writer. The Table of Contents alone is a fantastic collection of diverse ideologies, writing styles, and fame. Zinesters Jimmy T. Hand and Christy C. Road share the page with big name novelists like Ursula Le Guin and graphic novelist Alan Moore. Derrick Jensen, the author of epic anti-civilization tomes, is right alongside an "anonymous Crimethinc. agent," responsible for short and sweet semi-fictionalized, somewhat plagiarized True, capital T, political adventure narratives. There are a lot of authors featured who I had never heard of, including the no-longer-anonymous Steampunk, Professor Calamity, and punk-punk carissa van den berk clark. Anonymity reins, and most names seem fictionalized. No need to kill your heroes when they symbolically kill themselves for you! ("Just like punk rock—- never put authors on pedestals." -Jimmy T. Hand)

Editor Margaret Killjoy asks mostly the same questions of all his interviewees, but gets a vast array of answers. Still, some themes develop. Unexpected for me was the number of authors who use some sort of collective process with which to write. This ranged from the collective use of one pseudonym by many authors, like the Crimethinc Workers Collective, to Professor Calamity's Curious George Brigade who, together, "hash out the story and then huddle around the computer and take turns typing." Another major theme for anarchist authors was self-publishing. This is reflected in the number of zinesters interviewed, many of whose bodies of work may only be found in hand-stapled, folded over 8.5x11 photocopies handed out for $2 each from scummy travel backpacks. I love this shit!

A third theme to come out of these interviews wasn't so surprising: politics. Anarchist fiction writers grapple with politics all the time. The politics of writing fiction when the world is dying (see the Derrick Jensen quote, above). Creating an anarchist utopia that is more reality and less utopia. Accurately reflecting the political struggles of everyday life-- including the lives of punks, traveler kids, hackers, pagans, earth first! eco-warriors, and direct action activists. In every interview, Killjoy asks what it means to be an anarchist and a fiction writer. The responses he gets demonstrate how fiction is a political act. While most anarchist writing of our day is limited to real-life ("boring as fuck" -crimethinc.) theory and analysis, anarchist fiction writers play the important role of dreaming what could be and distilling useful stories from what is.

This is best illustrated in the large appendixes at the back of the book. Killjoy lists 20 pages worth of short bios of anarchist fiction writers through the ages, and another 6 pages of "also of notes," writers whose work was anarchist or espoused anarchist ideas, but who did not themselves identify as anarchists (a nice touch, by the way, to limit ones' list of anarchist authors only to those who self-identify as such). Fiction is a powerful tool for transmitting ideas through time and making them accessible beyond subculture. Oscar Wilde, Leo Tolstoy, Kurt Vonnegut, Edward Abbey are some of the big-name writers whose work is well-known and well-regarded in mainstream US culture, but who Killjoy's research proves can be claimed unabashedly by the anarchist milieu. Finally, Killyjoy includes a few lists of stories to check out once your appetite it whetted, including "Stories that explore anarchist societies" and my favorite: "Stories that feature anarchists as villains."

(written in between drinkin whiskey and makin out in the back stacks of the library)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781849350020
Author:
Killjoy, Margaret
Publisher:
AK Press
Introduction by:
Robinson, Kim Stanley
Introduction:
Robinson, Kim Stanley
Author:
Robinson, Kim Stanley
Subject:
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Anarchism
Subject:
Regional, Ethnic, Genre, Specific Subject
Subject:
General
Subject:
Science fiction -- History and criticism.
Subject:
Fiction -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Subject:
Science fiction
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20091031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
140
Dimensions:
7 x 5.5 x 0.5 in 9 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Criticism
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Mythmakers and Lawbreakers: Anarchist Writers on Fiction Used Trade Paper
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Product details 140 pages AK Press - English 9781849350020 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "The best fiction has always been dangerous. In this volume is a collection of interviews that explore the deep-seated relationship between personal politics and the world of fiction. A number of authors reflect on how and why their political beliefs have shaped the stories they create, and explain the ways fiction can change society." Mythmakers and Lawbreakers is a must-read for any serious fan of sci-fi or political fiction, and a useful tool for both new and seasoned authors interested in developing their own political utopias.
"Synopsis" by ,
The best fiction has always been dangerous . . .
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