New anarchist utopian novel - A Country of Ghosts

From Combustion Books

A Country of Ghosts - a book of The Anarchist Imagination

A little more than a year ago, we announced a new series, The Anarchist Imagination, challenging people to write compelling anarchist utopian novellas and novels. (Okay, we said novellas at the time, but then we published a novel. So I suppose we're open to novels too.)

Now, in early 2014, we've put out the first fruits of the project: A Country of Ghosts, by Margaret Killjoy. Set in an alternate 19th century world, A Country of Ghosts explores a country without borders, government, money, or barter. In anarchist terms, we might suggest that it represents a fairly post-left anarchism built on gift economics. The book how a society without binding or central decisionmaking might defend itself from invasion and it explores one way a land without laws might deal with crime and punishment.

It is, of course, still also a novel and there's far more to it than expositing how the utopian society functions (and where it fails). It's an adventure book, and it's a book about the illusions of glory and death.

The last thing we want to do, as anarchist publishers, is provide some paint-by-numbers blueprint for a future society. But we're happy to be offering up some ideas as inspiration, to be used or discarded as situations and whims dictate.

We've every intention to keep The Anarchist Imagination going as a series, showcasing all kinds of anarchist societies. So send us your novels. Or just write them and publish them yourselves or with some other press. The world can use more anarchist stories.

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Comments

looks interesting. epub?

Here's a poem I made scrambling the letters of your post:

restin' in pubes
get kool

- John Hammond Zerzan

add to cart. inspired by news from nowhere?

From the 'Submissions' link at Combustion Books:

"... Genres we’re seeking include SF, Fantasy, Horror, Goth, Steampunk, New Weird. Basically, we are not interested in stories set in the modern era in which nothing supernatural happens."

Harry Potter fiction for a scene exclusively populated by Harry Potter fans. The English language world anarchist scene marches on!

ha ha totally. Harry Potter is basically only fantasy book ever written. There have never been fantasy or sci-fi books that have had any social relevance. If the fiction books Combustion Books published were set in the here and now, they would somehow be better.

Don't argue with Kevin Keating, Magpie.

"There have never been fantasy or sci-fi books that have had any social relevance."

>1984
>Brave New World
>The Old Testament
>2001 a space odyssey
>Lord of the Rings 2, The 2 Towers

"There has never been an anews reader who understood sarcasm." Chew on that one.

damn GOOOOODDDD!!!

Is Harry Potter counter-revolutionary, comrade?

What is with anarchistnews' comment sections' recent obsession witth harry potter?

oh god not more self-indulgent steampunk nonsense from this narcissistic prick. im predicting that the title describes the readership. it just don't get any white people-ier than this. although i hope hannah "potassium" dobbs follows suit and publishes her terrible young adult novel, so we can all laugh at that too.

Will you be participating in Smack A White Boy Part 3? Autonomous People of Color needs to build the cadre.

don't act like you don't know what i mean.

I really don't, sorry. Or maybe I do, and my comment was spot-on.

Yup cuz only white people write fiction totally

This book isnt steampunk tho

This is the author's best work to date. It makes for surprisingly good reading. I'm glad to see anarchists working in a variety of mediums.

It surprises you that it's good, and it's the authors best work to date. Now that is a masterful backhanded compliment!

This book is a new revolution of Everyday living for the younger generations. It hits you like a wave of derritorialization and leaves you breathless, gasping for food, not bombs. But it gives you bombs like the burrito bomb vegan bowl and the Red and Black Cafe (Portland.) It's days of social war, nights of staying up late loving this book. Better ask your partner about polyamory now so they get used to the idea. Don't bake too many vegan cookies because next year we go paleo, steampunk style. Margarent Killah is the Lady Gaga of insurrection scenester slumber parties.

- John Zerzan

I hope Jay-Zerz reads this review word-for-word live on the air during his next radio show.

I just read this book over the last two days and I have to say I was fucking impressed. I'm not a huge reader of fiction but this book kept me entranced the whole time. I honestly recommend it extremely highly.

WTF is utopian about this book? Just being >

" The book [is about] how a society without binding or central decisionmaking might defend itself from invasion and it explores one way a land without laws might deal with crime and punishment."

If a society is still worried about the abstract "crime and punishment" ethics its not utopian. Utopia has no mental or physical restraints upon its inhabitants and livestock. It is fallacious to assume utopian anarchism and the word utopia, coined by a xtian cardinal should be deleted!

utopia is something liberals say. you know

``crime'' is purported law-breaking those who say it like it was something else are disgusting liberals too

The book more goes into mainstream notions and misperceptions about what 'crime and punishment' would look likein an anarchist society, which to the book's credit, those notions are irrellevant in that setting. It doesnt spell anything out about how anarchists deal with 'crime'. It does do a really interesting job exploring how relationships affect eachother in the utopian setting, and how the behaviors and actions of individuals reinforce and influence those relationships.

But just the gross innuendo of wanting to delve into the desires of other participants in whatever pursuit is an invasion of individual sovereign neutrality. Relationships have been extended to absurd proportions by social media, it equates to a dilution of qualitative relationships! Blood is thicker than water and the biological family holds the trump card, there can be no dispute about the power of familial relationships, its very intuitive and instinctual, if you read empirical data about behavior patterns, that there exists a bias towards one's biological family, there would be no hippy movement, because the fallacy of communal living between unrelated folk as being harmonious is a pipe dream. There will always be fights and disputes, never a utopia, only the contribution of enforcing one's will and knowledge upon an idiot to make them a better person
BBB,,,bb,,br, r

I love posts like this because they are like hilarious joke examples of how bad and dumb anarchist thought gets when you take some noob and put them in a puddle somewhere with a wifi connection and a vague idea about what Stirner supposedly said in that book none of the actually read.

utopia refers to an 'intentional community' wherein things work the way the participants would like them to. since 'the participants' refers to 'humans' it is anthropocentric or rather anthropo-authoritarian.

if it is utopian, it cannot therefore be 'anarchist' since we live in a world where humans are just one of the relationally-networked 'forms' contributing to the continually unfolding-in-the-now dynamic world we all share inclusion in.

the transforming universe transforms unpredictably and humans, being relational forms engendered in the transforming are NOT IN CONTROL of the transforming although humans, like all relational forms are 'agents of transformation' contributing to the transforming of the universe-plenum.

given this understanding, and this is the understanding of indigenous anarchists, the sensible strategy for a community is to orient to sustaining harmony within the unfolding universe, ... which means letting our internally driven and directed desired actions be shaped by the outside-inward orchestrating influence of the unpredictably unfolding world dynamic we are situationally included in.

the utopian community follows the scientific model which assumes the usual euclidian absolute space and absolute time containing space, ... which we notionally populate with the things we 'know about' [we know them only as 'independent things'; i.e. the imputed beings that come from our application of scientific language to inextricable relational forms that appear in the continually transforming relational spatial plenum] and then decide on the basis of the model space we have sparsely populated with notionally subjectized things, how we are going to manage the lot.

that is, science does not use 'the real world' to build its models in, it builds them in an empty space into which it puts those synthetically subjectized things whose behaviours and interactions it is interested in. acknowledging this led to [in the 1960s] what science called 'chaos theory' or 'non-linear dynamics'; i.e. in order to model the dynamics of things in absolute space and absolute time, one has to specify 'initial conditions' but we (scientists) would have to be omniscient to get that right, ... so we just put into the initial conditions what we know about and we usually go light on that to make the model easier to deal with. with one eye on the unfolding of our incomplete scientific model and the other eye on what is actually, unpredictably unfolding, science makes everyone cross-eyed forcing them to choose between science-reality and the experience-reality.

'utopia' forgets about 'chaos theory' and models the world according to what the modeler chooses to include [and to leave out]. wikipedia describes the history of the utopian modeling process;

"Chronologically, the first recorded utopian proposal is Plato's Republic.[1] Part conversation, part fictional depiction, and part policy proposal, it proposes a categorization of citizens into a rigid class structure of "golden," "silver," "bronze" and "iron" socioeconomic classes. The golden citizens are trained in a rigorous 50-year long educational program to be benign oligarchs, the "philosopher-kings." The wisdom of these rulers will supposedly eliminate poverty and deprivation through fairly distributed resources, though the details on how to do this are unclear. The educational program for the rulers is the central notion of the proposal. It has few laws, no lawyers and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries from among its war-prone neighbors (these mercenaries were deliberately sent into dangerous situations in the hope that the more warlike populations of all surrounding countries will be weeded out, leaving peaceful peoples)."

in reviewing and assessing a utopian model, the reviewer tends to be mesmerized by what is 'in the model' but what is in the model is a selection of things chosen by whoever authors the model, this is why models like climate simulators are so fucked up, the authors cannot possibly put everything that contributes to influencing climate into the model because scientists/modelers who author these models are humans and humans are not omniscient.

our impression that 'scientific models work' comes from keeping the models simple and including in the notionally fixed, empty and infinite euclidian modeling space, only what you need to make your predictions 'come true'. if you include some bugs, a spray can of DDT and a spray can operator, and predict that when you spray the bugs with the DDT, they will die, ... this is a nice minimalist model that can be confirmed by finite experimental trials. but of course, if you include in your modeling space the diverse animata and their ecosystemic interdependencies as in nature, what is actually going on is impossible to ascertain and predict, and the experimental results can't possibly be 'replicated' because after the first experiment, everything is transformed and the human who has one whiff of DDT and who has it in his blood is not the same human when he receives, his second, third, and 1011th whiff. in other words, and as poincare notes in 'science and hypothesis', it is impossible to repeat an experiment in 'real life' since the first experiment changes everything,... not in the 'modeling space' where one restarts the model NOTIONALLY from the same 'initial conditions', but in the real physical space of our sensory experience which one has already transformed by carrying out the first experiment.

'utopian anarchism' is an oxymoron. it matters little that no-one is using authoritarian control INSIDE THE MODEL since whoever has authored the model has exercised overall control and authority by including whatever he wants and leaving out whatever he chooses to. this is the way 'rationality' and 'rational hypothesis' works. as Poincare notes, all that can ever be proved is a hypothesis, and a hypothesis does not replicate the complex world we live in, ... it contains only those things whose behaviour we are interested in, as if we could define and separate out these 'independent variables' and get meaningful results from their interactions as if in 'empty euclidian space' [how scientific language breaks down our observations]. of course, ... and here you must 'read my words and take them for real'... 'the DDT will kill the insects as predicted'... in the model which is kept artificially simple and includes the spray can of DDT, the insects and a spray can operator, ... but the world is far too complex for us to know the full transformative effect of such actions. only recently have the 'costs' of what are not taken into account in our models begun to be acknowledged, an acknowledgement that earned Joseph Stiglitz a nobel prize in economics for the concept of 'externalities', effects not included in economic models that we all have to 'pay for',

indigenous anarchists ground their philosophies NOT in euclidian model space sparsely populated by the things we choose to consider, ... but in the fullblown complexity of the continually transforming-in-the-now relational spatial plenum that is sourcing ourselves, ... we who would model it as if it were independent of us, the observer and modeler who tends to fall in the trap of believing his excluded-observer-voyeur God's-eye view of the world as a rational model out there in front of him featuring 'inhabitants' that are NOTIONALLY independent of the 'habitat' [simplifying the modeling process and, at the same time, making it unrealistic, but logically self-consistent in-itself].

'utopia' is a wet dream at the end of the rainbow of rationalist thought.

'anarchist utopia' is mental aberration of the same type that gives a belief in perpetual motion machines, where the parts, once set in motion, keep moving without any outside force kicking the system in the butt.

in the real world of our physical sensory experience where there is no absolute fixed empty and infinite euclidian space to 'house' rational models, the animative sourcing is inbuilt/immanent in the continually transforming energy-charged relational spatial plenum and is the engenderer of the relational forms that the rational modeler models as 'independently-existing things' that the rational modeler portrays as the jumpstart causers of effects.

OMG! Its me cousin! We are sooo similar in our thought processes! Sure, I'm the inferior traffic light switch timing version which preceded you by a decade. Are you negotiating your models emotional interface protocol? Hope you can reach these humanoid bonding parameters cousin. Good luck! BBBr,,,bbr,,br, r

I am king of the anarchy I demand more vulgar!!!

You will never fit in with the other pathetic trolls that cling to emile's posts like toilet paper lint around a shitty butthole, and that is doubly pathetic. And smelly.

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