That link on it is there in case it's not totally easy to read. Here's the info on the card again:
Readercon 2017 Brochure:
as in “mimesis” or “mime”
Art that seeks to simulate or evoke an impression of reality to the audience.*
[Image: illustration of a mime's face]
as in “meme”
The study of ideas in an evolutionary framework
[Image: still from the music video for Rick Astley's song "Never Gonna Give You Up"]
My Readercon schedule:
Friday July 14
1:00 PM in Blue Hills
Body Modification and Post-Humanism: Beyond Body Horror.
2:00 PM in Salon 6
Problematizing Taxonomizing: Maybe the Most Readercon Panel Ever.
Saturday July 15
2:00 PM in Salon 5
The Life Cycle of Political SF.
(I’ll probably be talking about solarpunk here.)
3:00 PM in Salon B
Reading: T. X. Watson.
I’ll be reading “The Boston Hearth Project,” my story in the upcoming Sunvault anthology.
Where else you can find me:
My blog: www.txwatson.com
My vlog: youtube.com/txwatson
New videos twice weekly
in the order of frequency I use them:
Tumblr, txwatson.tumblr.com and
This brochure’s content in text on a web page:
What is solarpunk?
Solarpunk is, broadly speaking, a community and genre of near future speculative fiction that deals seriously with the crises of the political and environmental present, but approaches them with optimism.
Solarpunk isn’t Utopian: this isn’t about building narratives that describe hypothetical settings in which all concievable problems have been solved. It’s about building narratives and coummunities dedicated to taking action now and in the near future to reduce the present and impending harm to (and by) our civilizations and environment.
The community emerged in late 2014, primarily following a Tumblr post by Olivia Louise establishing the initial aesthetic values of the community and an essay by Adam Flynn titled “Solarpunk: notes toward a manifesto” establishing the initial political values.
We prioritize locally organized resistance to habits and structures of systematic harm, in terms of energy usage, environmental damage, and bigotry against marginalized groups. This is as opposed to expecting either exclusively top-down global, national or state solutions; or solutions authorized by any centralized governing body; or individualist interventions that ignore systematic, structural failures and active harms.
Solarpunk is kind of the opposite of steampunk -- the former being about plausible or existing technology and disrupting class systems using renewable energy and anticapitalist social practices, and the latter being about implausible or impossible technology and an aristocratic oligarchy powered by fossil fuel.
Solarpunk is also kind of the opposite of cyberpunk -- the former being about collective resistance to the oppression of the capitalist state, and the latter being about individual resignation and survival under that state.
Solarpunk fiction includes the anthology “Wings of Renewal,” the upcoming “Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation,” and the now-over but still free online “Solarpunk Press,” a formerly monthly solarpunk fiction magazine.
Also: “Walkaway” by Cory Doctorow is definitely, extremely solarpunk. He hasn’t called it that but it is.
What’s “Memetic engines of anticapitalism?”
Memetics is the study of ideas, within a framework of evolutionary theory. (Internet memes get their name from the fact that they’re blatantly an example of ideas that are mutated more-or-less randomly and selected nonrandomly within an environment.)
Memetic engineering is the practice of building stories, messages, or art objects with specific goals to affect the memetic landscape, not just the individuals who interact with the work. For example, an advertising campaign might seek to persuade you to buy a product, but it may also have the agenda of normalizing a belief that the product is necessary or essential.
Anticapitalism is, like, efforts to hasten the end of capitalism and transition to a more beneficient and less harmful system or systems for organizing society.
Memetic engines of anticapitalism are efforts to undermine capitalist control on levels other than straightforward persuasion of humans. In this framework, entities like corporations are treated as a species unto themselves, who have something that makes sense to treat like interests and agency.
If corporations are a species, thenthey are an invasive species that prevent other ideas from flourishing. (Ideas including “human lives are valuable regardless of whether they have a job” and “there are measures of worth other than how much money a thing can be leveraged for.”) And memetic engines of anticapitalism are predators and parasites that challenge the otherwise uninterrupted dominance and spread of these creatures.
Okay, so I go to a weird college. At Hampshire College instead of majors we have divisions, and my Division II (years two and three) was titled “SF/F as activism,” but my Division III is a huge dense project and a class or two just to make sure I see light sometimes. (One of my housemates’ Div III last year was to make four short flims. Four.)
So “Memetic engines of anticapitalism” is my Div III, and it’s going to entail both writing a monograph about what that means, and creating several works that are examples of it, chief among them a short solarpunk graphic novel.
If you’re interested in staying in the loop about that, I’m maintaining a mailing list in which, starting at the latest this September, I’ll be making regular updates on the state of the project and any challenges I might be facing.
Hey, I’m working on this thing!
[Image: graphic ad that reads: www.duzaxstudios.com, CLASH on Kickstarter, Accepting pledges August 1, 2017]
Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation is available for preorder, to be published August 29, 2017
Barnes & Noble: goo.gl/w4Vhgz
[Image: text over an atmospheric background that reads: "The building was our weapon as well as our hostage. We let riot cops crowd into the first doorways and set the heat to 115. T.X. Watson in Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation"]
T.X. Watson’s story “The Boston Hearth Project” has been described by Publisher’s Weekly as ‘About terrorists’* and by T.X. Watson as “A primarily text-based experience.”
* More accurately they refer to the protagonist as a “so-called terrorist,” which is not a term that occurs anywhere in the story and which had not even occurred to me as a possible framing until I read it. [publishersweekly.com/978-1-937-79475-0]