Facing the Future   Leave a comment

I mentioned here back in December that I was working on a new project, Into the Ruins, which is a new deindustrial science fiction journal. What’s deindustrial science fiction, you ask? Simply put, it’s the imaginings of the future that take into account the reality of peak oil, climate change, the fact that we will have fewer resources and less energy to play with as we move forward, that our infinitely idiotic ways of treating the earth and our ecosystem will continue to invite consequences (environmental and otherwise), and that the industrial and incredibly wasteful ways of living that the Western world currently considers normal have a rapidly approaching expiration date.

Essentially, those ideas are exactly what I wrote about here at Of The Hands, and they define the future that is . . . well, defining itself around us even as you read this. With every passing year, it becomes more and more impossible to ignore the climate chaos, the melting ice and rising seas, the political and economic instability, the wars and disruption, and the chaotic nature of fossil fuel and renewable energy markets. It’s not obviously apocalyptic by any means, but anyone with half a desire to pay attention to it can see the many ways in which our unsustainable and destructive way of life is crumbling around us. I expect that crumbling to continue to accelerate in the coming years.

Into the Ruins is essentially an attempt to put the ideas from this blog and its influences into fictional form. It’s about taking the future we face and weaving narratives out of it, placing us square in the sort of worlds that we can relate to our own—filtered, in other words, through the prism of human experience. These are visions placed on earth, not out in space. They’re visions of limits and consequences, not of infinite power sources and unbridled human exploitation. They’re stories of humans dealing with the harsh and messy future quickly bearing down on us. Sometimes they’re set a few decades in the future, sometimes a few hundred years, sometimes more than a millenium away. But they all are imaginings of the sort of futures we’re going to get, rather than the sort of false futures science fiction has too often peddled.

All that said, I’m very happy to note that the first issue of Into the Ruins is now available. For those of you who have enjoyed my writing here, note that this issue contains editorial content by me, as well as a couple book reviews. In addition to my contributions, it features five excellent stories set in the deindustrial, post-peak oil future, a wide variety of letters to the editor, and other content. Altogether, it’s a 110 page, 7″ x 10″ printed and bound book just waiting for you to peruse it. To be honest, I’m extremely happy with how it came out; I hope its readers will feel the same.

For those who are interested, one year (four issue) subscriptions to the journal are available for $39 and the first issue is available here on its own for $12. I hope a few of you will consider picking it up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. For those who enjoyed more the agricultural and homesteading aspects of this blog, well, there are a few stories set in agricultural societies making their way in the world without ready access to fossil fuels, and I imagine you’ll find them pretty compelling.

Finally, two notes of possibility. First of all, you may just see a true blue Of The Hands post here at some point over the next month. There are some major life changes taking place for me, and I feel compelled to write about them here and to reflect on the time of my life that this blog represents. Second of all, and in a similar but more ambitious vein, part of what I’ve done with Into the Ruins is set up a new and independent company called Figuration Press. As I write in the first issue of Into the Ruins, Figuration Press is a small publication house focused on alternate visions of the future and alternate ways of understanding the world, particularly in ecological contexts. It’s first and currently only project is Into the Ruins. But I’m exploring publishing more works beyond that, as well, and one idea that has come to mind is an Of The Hands collection with a mix of new and old content.

I don’t know if this will actually happen, as perhaps I simply won’t have the time or won’t find the right words to make it worthwhile. But with my life changes, I’m considering something that could be a hybrid of my life then, represented by a selection of past posts, and the life I’m currently heading into.

It may or may not happen. We’ll see. But if that’s something you might like to see—and something you might actually pay money to read—then consider commenting on this post or emailing me to let me know. I want to judge the interest.

And don’t forget to check out Into the Ruins. I’m mighty proud, and I want others to see it. I think it’s worth your time, and the more people we have reading about and imagining different sorts of futures than what’s normally peddled, the better.


Posted May 13, 2016 by Joel Caris in Uncategorized

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