Books

Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Genius and Mysterious Life of Edward Gorey

The writer and illustrator Edward Gorey, who died in 2000 at 75, was the unequaled master of gothic whimsy and camp-macabre melodrama. The influence of the obsessively crosshatched, amusingly lugubrious little worlds he conjured up with pen, ink, and disquieting nonsense verse reverberates in the novels of Lemony Snicket and Ransom Riggs, the movies of Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Toro, the fashion of Anna Sui, and the graphic novels of Alison Bechdel. Based on newly uncovered correspondence and interviews with members of his inner circle, Born to Be Posthumous draws back the curtain on the eccentric genius and mysterious life of Edward Gorey.

 

 

The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium

Terrorists, tabloid media, and Xtreme culture: To many, America seems like an infernal carnival, equal parts funhouse and madhouse—a “pyrotechnic insanitarium,” to borrow a turn-of-the-century nickname for Coney Island. Are we on the eve of an Age of Unreason?

 

Escape Velocity

Escape Velocity is without doubt the best guide I have read to the new computer culture that will soon dominate our lives. Mark Dery is witty and provocative but always sane and thoughtful.” — J.G. Ballard

 

Wannabe cyborgs, machine-sex junkies, punk roboticists. Poised between Tomorrowland and Blade Runner, the digital fringe poses the fundamental question of our time: Will technology be used as an engine of repression or a tool of empowerment in the coming millennium?

 

Flame Wars

Afrofuturism! Technopagans! Brain-jackers! Amok robots! An African-American cleaning woman reincarnated as an all-powerful cyborg! Before Wired, before the Web, there was Flame Wars, the mind-ripping anthology of essays on digital culture that launched Afrofuturism, cyberfeminism, and cybersex studies.

 

Culture Jamming

Popularized by Mark Dery through his groundbreaking 1990 feature in The New York Times and contributions to Adbusters (which introduced editor Kalle Lasn to the term), “culture jamming” is media hacking, guerrilla semiotics, sociopolitical satire, and a neo-Situationist insurgency, all in one. Media hoaxers, billboard bandits, pirate broadcasters, hit-and-run “subvertisers,” Left/progressive meme warriors, and other media wrenchers who intrude on the intruders, hijacking ads, newscasts, Hollywood movies, and other mechanisms of social control and repurposing them to politically subversive or perversely personal ends, are all culture jammers. Published in 1993 as part of the Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, this little manifesto was an Anarchist’s Cookbook for anti-consumerists and anti-capitalists itching to strike back at the Society of the Spectacle.
 

Read it here.