FRR Audiobooks: The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman, pt. 2

  • Posted on: 4 July 2017
  • By: rydra wrong

listen here:

“In these regions, you may observe Man in his constitutionally vicious, instinctively evil and studiously ferocious form – in a word, in the closest possible harmony with the natural world.” — The King

Angela Carter’s Count is back, but not for long. In this chapter, his tempestuous will faces difficult challenges – slavery imposed by the law, chaotic nature, and finally, his mirrored self (and only one of those even has a chance of bringing about his demise).

The morality of this novel suggests that a will of pure negation only has one possible end. Negation leads its beholder to a sort of numbness, a distancing, cutting oneself off from the world surrounding you, seeing it only as a trick to be manipulated. How could you find pleasure engaging with anything weaker than yourself, after all? And if all of reality bends to your will – what could possibly bring you pain?

The Count manifests his own end in the form of himself. He creates and meets the King, a being of unlimited power, who lived his life similarly to the Count, another expert in cruelty. The women of his army devour their first-born children in order to pass “far beyond all human feeling”; their clitorises are “brutally excised” so they “are entirely cold and respond only to cruelty and abuse”. All, of course, in accordance with nature and harmony, which cares nothing for those without strong will.

What happens next is inevitable. Negation, ultimately, must turn in upon oneself in order to feel.

Words, audio, editing and production by September



and how it relates to anarchy? there's an argument, for sure, about the chaos and multiple possible valid interpretations... but so much of the conversation around fiction is just " i like it" or "i don't like it"...
i'm not sure what i'm askng, maybe just--is fiction art? how does it escape the situationist (et al) rejection of art (or dos it?)

15.28. Fiction and anarchy require imagination, if that helps?

require imagination. that's not really enough. are you syng that reading fiction makes better anarchists? or anarchists make better fiction? not sure either of those are demonstrable.
not hostle to this, just wish someone would be more articulate about the connction.

I wish this didn't need explaining. Kundera writes in Testaments Betrayed that “...a person who thinks should not try to persuade others to his belief; that is what puts him on the road to a system; on the lamentable road of the "man of conviction"; politicians like to call themselves that; but what is a conviction? It is a thought that has come to a stop, that has congealed, and "the man of conviction" is a man restricted.” So my response to you is, are anarchists politicians? I would say no. I used to be one, I have spent a lot of time trying to convince people of things, and most political writing does this. So I prefer fiction.
Fiction to me is about acknowledging and being open to the possible. The possible within us, and the possible around us. It is acknowledging we are effected by our thoughts and the happenings around us, but that the way things are is just one way of infinite possibilities. Good(my preferred version of good) fiction challenges me, forces me to imagine myself as other, broadens the ways in which I experience myself and the world around me. Good writing is hard, and I would argue that the reason there isn't that much good anarchist writing, is simply because there are not that many anarchists. I can walk into a bookstore and for every fantastic beautiful amoral novel, there are 100 others that are more or less political. This cuts across genres...a romance novel can have a political agenda pushing some normative relationship, or an abstraction of love and sacrifice, anything, a romance novel can also be so much more than that. Science Fiction as a genre is full of lots of garbage, but there are writers like Delany, Russ, Blish, Disch, and Sturgeon who become labelless, unable to genrify, and their writings become something else, a place for me and others like me to explore the possible. To me, there are no finer examples of slavery from an amoral point of view than in Delany's Neveryona Series, and in Herman Broch's The Death of Virgil. I've never read anarchist writing that has come anywhere close to the deep and thoughtful investigation of the essence of interpersonal relationships as I have found in these two books. I share fiction with other anarchists in hopes that I can have more conversations about the writing I love with people who share my hate of society.
To me there is nothing more powerful than stories. The stories we tell ourselves, and the stories we are told by society are what control us. For me, fiction is a way to question these narratives, to complicate them, to trouble them. Stories are the most powerful weapons humans have. It is why we stay in bad relationships hoping for them to get better, it is why people believe that stupid ass MLK quote about history arcing toward justice or freedom or whatever BS he said. If we believe the story, then we can follow it through whatever reality is contradicting it. This is why I want more interesting stories to be shared by people I may have affinities with.

As Kundera said “The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything....The novelist teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question. There is wisdom and tolerance in that attitude. In a world built on sacrosanct certainties the novel is dead. The totalitarian world, whether founded on Marx, Islam, or anything else, is a world of answers rather than questions. There, the novel has no place.”

explaining it. you're making the connection with these stories and anrchy, why wouldn't you want to explore with people what that means? on eithr personal or political (yea yea bd wrod) level? or both? or somthing else too.
just posting stuff without opening up a conversation isn't relly what you 're saying you want, right?

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Enter the code without spaces.