Feb. 9

~~NOTES from Damien


Kindred, O. Butler
– what is emotional survival?
– “survival is not just tools but also emotional”

The Bees, Laline Paul
– matricarchail bee society, story of Flora 717 worker bee
– society as a collectivity, 10% of hive dies on a daily basis
– what is lon-term knowledge?
– environmental apacalypse

Fifth Sacred Thing, Starhawk
– young woman, heartbroken, in a matriarchail society

War of the Worlds, HG Wells

Cryptonomicon, Stephenson

Anathiem, Stephenson
– Canticle of Liebovitz
– ritualized preservation of science w/o understanding the texts

The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman
– a la Farerinheit 451


The Summer Prince, YA
– rebel artist young woman
– in a matriarchail society as the world was falling apart
– letdown b/c the interesting parts were the boy romantic land
Kalediscope, Austrailian YA
– world difference –> kids who are different were supported by the social/state structures
– bodily autonomy, self-expression FOR young people

Hunger Games,
– “it takes 10 times longer to pull yourself together than it does to fall apart”

– Survival
– division of labor, roles
– coping

– Political Possibilities
– Autonomy
– Security/Defense: physical and emotional
– Exceptionalism
– Resistance to structures of control
– Survival
– division of labor, roles
– Breakdown [of one world] + Emergence [of another world]
– Collecting knowledge and skills: to survive, and for the world after survival
– Lots of talking about Sandy
– what does sci-fi look like in cultures less obsessed w/ personal freedoms
– what is the role of “buck up” /work together / defense / militarism / survival
– response to realities, fears, hopes
– capitalism, patriarchy,
– long-term preservation: what does a community decide is important
– what is the fear about “all knowledge” disappearing? – archiving
– “what is the literature of re-imagination”
– survival skills that are “against” or “with” the world they are placed in

– Library Box [Roo]
– Occupy Sandy
– Facilitation techniques: how to work together –> communicate w/o a higher authority
– a city is enough ppl working together to get things done
– SEnse of autonomy [not to lean on authority]
– Plan for long-term w/i a not-positive scenario
– Working together
– gasoline goes first
– food goes next
– scalability [of cooperation]
– interpersonal drama
– who’s responsible for whom if we want to think collectively?
– immediate moments of events vs. long-term timelines
– hyper local connections –> queer communities are “on top of” other communities


One thought on “Feb. 9

  1. mxroo says:

    Notes from Roo


    * Go around
    ** name
    ** what skill do you bring to the table today?
    * Scheduling
    * Who
    ** Ariel
    ** Roo
    ** shannon
    ** Damien
    ** Kestryl
    * What is this?
    * Damien: Ariel and I were in conversation about scifi and about the survival strategies in scifi, all the things we have learned. If we got a bunch of people together to talk about what we have already learned from scifi, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel after a catastrophe, or rely on a white man narrative to save us. We will make a list of ideas and strategies and then have a community larp about them.
    * Ariel: Postapocalyptic scifi, we should have a reading group, but not just a reading group. Create something between scifi larp and disaster preparedness drill, in the fun spot between those. What does this bring us and what do we want to create with this? There are other ways to do a book club, to bring thematic ideas together to explore. Using scifi as a study text.
    * Damien: I’m thinking of the AMC transformative justice scifi track, it focuses on Women, WOC, radical authors and thinking about the world “we” want to be in, using dystopic tropes, written by all sorts of people facing different kinds of oppression.
    * Ariel: there were a lot of people who said this was everything they want, but can’t come Mondays.
    * Damien: so we want to reschedule.
    * Talking about Sci-Fi
    ** Books
    ** other media
    ** authors
    ** strategies
    * Frameworks (i.e. theoretical)
    ** what does it mean to classify something as scifi?

    * Ursula K. LeGuin’s cat blog
    * Kaleidoscope Anthology
    ** [condor story], state structures that support body autonomy and self expression of youth, against wishes of bigoted parent
    * Kindred, Octavia Butler
    ** survival techniques, emotional or not
    * The Bees, Liliane Paul
    ** imagine matriarchal society where queen is god, follows a worker bee in the lowest caste who changes caste. How do you keep any sort of long term perspective when 10% of the hive dies on any one day
    * The Fifth Sacred Thing, Starhawk
    ** everything is horrible, capitalism has ruined everything, Berkeley CA has held out, spells out a potential utopic society, based upon principles of nonviolence.
    * The Summer Prince
    ** young woman, postapocalyptic Brazilian city of privilege, woman artist rebel kind of fuckup. Matriarchal society formed as world was falling apart. Literally tiered city, with a complicated royal structure, with male Kings sacrificed every year in a blood sacrifice. But disappointing because male heterosexual lead has all the ideas, leads the plot.
    * Hunger Games
    ** defense of community or defense of a self
    * Divergent Trilogy
    ** 1st one was good, 2nd one was romantic subplot, DONE
    ** 5 different groups that run a city, everyone gets a simulation test and gets sorted into a group, but those who don’t fit into just one are “divergent”. There’s specialization, intense training.
    * Ariel: what would a scifi look like without relying on a narrative of individual freedoms?
    * Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy
    ** very expository, written in 1880
    ** it’s responding to fears or hopes
    * shannon: can’t wrap head around Capitalism, it’s such a big ugly monster, have to use fantastical language to express it
    * Kestryl: most intersted in scifi not about breakdown of society, but in the formation of new societies
    * Anathem, Stephenson
    * Canticle of Liebowitz
    * shannon: in terms of tactics for survival, how traditions of knowledge are passed on and disseminated, even when you don’t know what it is you’re preserving and why, which I do every day
    * Roo: librarybox, trying to collect a K-12 curriculum, but I end up having comics
    * The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman
    * Ariel: I think about what I have spent time unlearning. If electricity was gone, we would teach other skills. Learning things about how to survive, how to have autonomy. Where can you find things? Further iterations of you can always pee in starbucks, how do you build those muscles and imagination. How do we start imagining those skills? What would I want people to know how to do?
    * Parable of the Sower
    * Little House on the Prarie
    * Ariel: How do we learn how to survive?
    * Roo: it depends on how we define survival
    * Damien: it’s probably really helpful to know how to build a roof, but it’s all Pa did this, Pa did that. What are the skills that I have?
    * The Long Winter
    ** about the blizard of 1888, everyone is snowed in, no one is doing anything about this together
    * Roo: I focus on thinking about working together, facilitation skills
    * Kestryl: that feels possible on a village level, but feels insurmountable at 8 million people
    * Ariel: what is the line? During Sandy, we know what goes first, gasoline. During a breakdown, who do I want to be responsible for? A breakdown will happen in a capitalist framework, everyone will start conflict.
    * Damien: that’s the fear! But in Fifth Sacred Thing, that was happening and some people just said NOPE, we will work together! I keep trying to keep it in mind that it’s possible that everyone WON’T destroy each other.
    * shannon: in the immediate moment, I think people tend to really band together and made stuff happen. It happened during Sandy, but what happens 2 years from that point, do people fall back into that routine? When people feel more autonomous, they may feel they don’t need the outside structure to do it, you plan for the immediate, but how to keep the positive momentum going in a non-positive scenario.
    * Ariel: what was great about the Sandy response were the ones who were able to move a lot of people, not because they were in charge. The fundamental necessity of hyperlocal connections, esp in the way queer communities lay on top of other communities, often with gentrification. Sometimes going from Flatbush to Crown Heights is an epic journey. The scale shrinks down, the depth of connection changes. Where is they way to connect in locally that isn’t about a queer version but also just a person in the world. How do we push that issue? How do we push that awareness? What’s brutal about gentrification is that it takes neighborhoods of interconnected networks and replaces them with islands.
    * Damien: The idea is that if you turn off your phones, what do you have? Which of your neighbors do you know? There are certain neighbors I know, there are totally people all over my neighborhood that I know.
    * Ariel: can we talk about the Federation? They’ve got no money, but they have a massive military.
    * Damien: books and texts that talked about the moment of something happening; then books that talked about the short term response; then books that talked about the long term response. Not separating by thematic.

    March: moment of crisis
    April: short term response
    May: long term response, larp

    * Is there a text or two you would read and bring to talk about next time, what’s useful and thought provoking about the survival therein, send it around if you can.

    * What data device do we want?
    * How do we want to engage with it, and how do we want others to engage with it in the future?
    * fewer passwords and levels of complication will be better for some of us
    * wordpress with links to notes?

    * Damien: one of my dreams is to share out a resource map of the area we larp in

    todo: Roo try to share Hunger Games with Ariel

    TODO: set up scifistudyclub.wordpress.com


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