nothing here but 100 names

issue 023, May 4th, 2019

nothing here team

CJW: Welcome to another issue of nothing here. As ever, we’ve got a lot to share with you - articles, reviews, a reader letter (thanks Ed!), and plenty more.

Hi, how are you? I’m working hard on novel edits and stressing a variety of other things, and I’ve had Love Shack by the B52s stuck in my head since last Saturday. But on the plus side, I’m past the con-crud, and in the next few hours I’ll find out if Static Ruin won the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novella.

If you enjoy what we do, you can become a paid subscriber and receive bonus letters (on top of these ones), the ability to comment on the posts (though anyone can hit reply if they have something to share with us), and the knowledge that our cats, dogs, and chickens will remain well fed (AA note: And will help me feed my human child). You can also help us grow by forwarding these on to fellow travellers.

Corey J. White (CJW) - The VoidWitch Saga. Newsletter facilitator. Naarm/Melbourne.

Marlee Jane Ward (MJW) - Author of The Oprhancorp Trilogy. Host of Catastropod. Your fabulous goth aunt. On Wurundjeri land in Melbourne, Australia. @marleejaneward

Austin Armatys (AA) - Writer/Teacher/Wretched Creature // Oh Nothing Press // excerpts from the upcoming Creeper Magazine here //  @0hnothing // fnord

m1k3y (MKY) - Wallfacer /  #salvagepunk / future ecopoet / @m1k3y

CJW: Only rebellion will prevent an ecological apocalypse (via Sentiers)

Every nonlinear transformation in history has taken people by surprise. As Alexei Yurchak explains in his book about the collapse of the Soviet Union – Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More – systems look immutable until they suddenly disintegrate. As soon as they do, the disintegration retrospectively looks inevitable. Our system – characterised by perpetual economic growth on a planet that is not growing – will inevitably implode. The only question is whether the transformation is planned or unplanned. Our task is to ensure it is planned, and fast. We need to conceive and build a new system based on the principle that every generation, everywhere has an equal right to enjoy natural wealth.


Everywhere I look, I see people engaged in furious attempts to fend off the moral challenge it presents. The commonest current excuse is this: “I bet those protesters have phones/go on holiday/wear leather shoes.” In other words, we won’t listen to anyone who is not living naked in a barrel, subsisting only on murky water. Of course, if you are living naked in a barrel we will dismiss you too, because you’re a hippie weirdo. Every messenger, and every message they bear, is disqualified on the grounds of either impurity or purity.

I’d love to hear stories from the Nothing.Here team and our wider readership about how they’re actively participating in the Climate Rebellion. What is everyone doing (beyond reading/sharing articles and theorising) to Make This Happen?  

Clearly Extinction Rebellion is currently the highest profile organisation active in the sort of nonviolent civil disobedience that seems increasingly necessary, and it is thus an appealing starting point. The Australian wing can be found here on the web or here on Facebook.  

To tell you the truth, I’m quite worried about the ramifications of getting personally involved with direct action and civil disobedience. As a teacher, I’m not sure what the consequences would be for my continued employment - any sort of charge could possibly mean the end of my teacher registration, and thus make me unemployable. And while my primary motivating factor is to create a sustainable future for my son, would it be equally negligent for me to hamstring my ability to provide for him right now?

Is this how the world is doomed? By fear and bureaucracy and the mundane necessity of everyday responsibility?          


Is this how the world is doomed? By fear and bureaucracy and the mundane necessity of everyday responsibility?

Yes. Dual responsibility means you can never choose one over the other, and the whole thing’s rigged anyway, not by any one entity, but by thousands. Not having children, or a mortgage or any semblance of the usual accoutrements of an adult means I have less in the game of civil obedience, but I’m still in it. I am aware of how much my comfort requires a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. Still, does that mean it’s up to those living on the margins to act? ‘Cause that sucks, and is depressingly usual.

Catastrophe afflicts people now and, unlike those in the rich world who can still afford to wallow in despair, they are forced to respond in practical ways.

When catastrophe comes for the middle class, for those of us just scraping across the bottom of comfortable and pretending we’re not living precariously, maybe then we’ll act? Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but knowing humans, it probably will.


CJW: Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet (via technoccult)

They need to know that we won’t leave them alone until they agree to Keep It In The Ground. Not just their companies, but them. Now it’s personal.


Speaking of which... friend of the pod (aka newsletter supporter), Brendan, put us onto a related podcast the other day - Grubstakers; which is a deep dive into just how shitty billionaires are. The only thing it’s missing is their addresses at the end. Now, I’m only one to advocate ultraviolence as a cathartic release from our current condition… as fiction, of course. And if I was plotting a show or comic on the above themes, that is the podcast I would have our hero listening to on the bus as they hunted and killed the destroyers of the world.


MKY: Sea creatures store carbon in the ocean – could protecting them help slow climate change?

This is a great explainer on how nature conservation and fighting off the worst climate future go hand in hand. Fuck technosolutionism, help our oceanic wildlife stop going extinct by any and every means available instead. What if we did everything to take them off life support and thrive again in the near future? Cause the signs aren’t great rn. It’d be super cool if we did this by design, instead of creating involuntary parks through accidents and war. Like, last I checked the coast of Fukushima was still an oceanic reserve, and I hope and pray that the wind farms they’ve set up also act as nesting grounds for seals and such.


MKY: The desperate race to cool the ocean before it’s too late

This is a preview of the forthcoming book After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, and Restoration - an ecosocialist look at using targeted geoengineering solutions [if this sample is representative of the book] to not preserve the status quo - why i said fuck technosolutionism above - but accelerate the repair of the planet, and work in concert towards the restabilisation of the Earth System.

Reckoning with geoengineering in all its forms means coming to terms with loss—to explore what it means to “live in the ruins,” in anthropologist Anna Tsing’s phrase. Geoengineering comes as a shock to the mind of people who don’t currently feel as if they are living in the ruins, who haven’t yet come to terms with the losses being experienced. In Beijing, though, where Moore lives, it’s different, particularly because of air pollution. “There’s no denial—everyone can see what we’re doing,” he says. “We’ve made this mess; we should clear it up. You can’t rely on nature to do it.”

Amen. Can’t wait for this Holly Buck’s pitch to bounce around my head with everything else I’ve read - and still yet to read (oh hai neverending toread pile) - on this crucial subject.


CJW: It’s wrongheaded to protect nature with human-style rights

Some theorists argue that there’s a clear historical precedent for what we should do, arising from the struggle for universal human rights. [...]
Tempting as it is, this move must be resisted. For one thing, human rights have proven to be exclusionary – even within our own species.

An interesting essay on extending rights to non-human entities, and the risks inherent in not thinking beyond human-style rights.


MKY: Why Sri Lanka attackers' wealthy backgrounds shouldn't surprise us

there are many factors that are seen as creating a risk of radicalisation. When they combine, the risk becomes a clear and present danger. Terrorism, abhorrent though it may be, is a social activity. Ideas spread and are reinforced among peers, married couples, old schoolfriends and families. These ideas are simple. They explain complex events, identities and histories through a rudimentary and binary narrative. Neither education nor wealth is proof against them, and nor is poverty or ignorance.

And that’s why Mark Lilla’s The Shipwrecked Mind (Guardian review) - brought to my attention by Stan Grant’s commentary on the Christchurch killer - will be my next non-fiction read.

Related: How People Become Radicalized

A key finding of this research for policymakers, whether in defense and war planning or in social programs aimed at preventing violence, is that when matters that are believed to be sacred are involved, people cannot be swayed from defense, or even offensive pursuit, of their beliefs with carrots or sticks, as with ISIS. People who are willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives—the totality of their self-interests—will not be lured away just by material incentives or disincentives such as pay, promotion or punishment. That is one reason why, ever since World War II, on average, revolutionary and insurgent movements have emerged victorious with as little as 10 times less firepower and manpower than the state forces arrayed against them.

Moreover, enticements or threats to compromise or abandon values that have become sacralized, usually backfire when competing sacred values are involved, leading to enduring conflict, as we find in the case of Palestine and Israel (Palestinians’ right of return versus Israelis’ right to settle in Greater Israel), the abortion standoff, gun rights and now the recently sacralized issue of immigration that has accompanied intense political polarization (and mutual feelings of attempted marginalization by the other side).


CJW: Denialism, nihilism and the Murdoch propaganda machine

It sounds unreal to say that News Corp is not a media organisation. It sounds outré to say that it is instead a political propaganda entity of a kind perhaps not seen since the 19th century, one that has climbed to its pedestal through regulatory capture, governmental favours and menace, and is now applying its energies to the promotion of white nationalism, even as white nationalists commit scores of murders.

It defends a child rapist and demeans his victims. It degrades and cows the national broadcaster until it threatens its function, and occasionally its existence. It undermines the rule of law. It does everything it can to impinge on climate change action, just as the ramifications of climate change begin to bite. Who has the better predictive record: climate scientists or boosters of the Iraq War? Now dwell for a moment on News’s relative treatment of each. We are stuck listening to the megaphoned opinions of the wrong people, who have been rewarded rather than penalised for their failure.

This one is mostly for our Aussie readers, though Murdoch's cancerous reach has extended far beyond our borders, and Cooke also touches on recent occurences in US politics, the killings in Christchurch, and more.


CJW: Claudia Andujar: Witness to the Yanomami’s Last Struggle (via manyoyo at R.A)

A struggle for survival that has lasted half a millennium may be about to end: some of the last people on earth who look at the world and see a wondrously different reality from the one we perceive are all but defenseless under this new president. And it could be that soon all that will remain of their presence on this earth will be Claudia Andujar’s glorious photographs.

An essay about the Yanomami people of the Amazon, written as a review of a photographic exhibition and detailing different conflicting reports/books on the people and the area. I’m not entirely sure what I think of the piece, but it’s interesting at least in the number of viewpoints it manages to encompass.


CJW: The Hunt for Rocket Boosters in Russia's Far North (via Ospare at R.A)

They sold the metal—aluminum, gold, silver, copper, and titanium—for cash in the capital Arkhangelsk and also hammered it into whatever they happened to need: flat-bottomed boats (dubbed "ракетаs" or rockets), hunting sleds, fencing, gutters, and even saunas—infusing a region otherwise known for its traditional Russian culture and folklore with a touch of space punk.

MKY: this is my aesthetic.


CJW: Gene-editing technology to create virus-resistant cassava plant has opposite effect, researchers find (via Josh at R.A)

CRISPR-Cas9 is found in nature, where bacteria use it to defend against viruses. However, the researchers found the technology results in different outcomes in plants—and researchers are stressing the importance of screening against these sorts of unintended results in the future.

As a science-fiction writer, it seems to be that there are two likely negative outcomes for extreme gene-editing - bio-terrorists deliberately damaging the food chain/biosphere by targeting a particular species, or this sort of accidental creation escaping the lab.

MKY: Related, ish:

Though the woolly mammoth will remain extinct, technological advances make it possible for scientists to create a genetic match for a living creature—your dog, for example. But it would not actually be your dog, according to Shapiro.

“We and everything else are much more than the sequence of the As and Cs and Gs and Ts that make up the code of our DNA,” she said.

That same technology—a targeted gene editing tool known as CRISPR—may, however, be useful in helping species that are in danger of becoming extinct. CRISPR allows scientists to search for a genetic sequence and replace it with a sequence from another animal or even another species.

“As we’re facing an extinction crisis, and climates and habitats are changing too fast for evolution to keep up, these technologies may be something that we can do to try and save some of these things from becoming extinct,” she said.


CJW: Did a vigilante ROM leaker go too far to “preserve” a lost Atari ROM?

Is there a moral imperative for collectors of rare games and prototypes to release their code for the good of preservation? And if they refuse, is there any ethical argument for literally sneaking into a private collection to make an unsolicited copy of the game for posterity?

Did someone pull off an audacious heist on an extremely rare Atari arcade prototype? Have a click if only for the header image.


AA: The Tragedy of The Tragedy of the Commons by Matto Mildenberger

I’ve read a couple of books recently (like the one by John Higgs, discussed below) that mentioned the significance of Garret Hardin’s essay “The Tragedy of the Commons”. This blog, from Scientific American, eviscerates Hardin’s politics and looks at all the ways his essay has contributed to the kind of atomised, socially-Darwinian worldview that is so common today. This attitude is particularly evident in the realm of (you guessed it) climate change:

Thirty years ago, a different future was available. Gradual climate policies could have slowly steered our economy towards gently declining carbon pollution levels. The costs to most Americans would have been imperceptible.

But that future was stolen from us. It was stolen by powerful, carbon-polluting interests who blocked policy reforms at every turn to preserve their short-term profits. They locked each of us into an economy where fossil fuel consumption continues to be a necessity, not a choice.

Mildenberger’s links between Hardin’s racist, elitist philosophy and our current clusterfuck are compelling.  


MJW: A Dominatrix Reviews ‘Bonding,’ Netflix’s Show About a Dominatrix

Netflix’s Bonding is causing a bit of an uproar in the pro-Domme community, with its problematic depiction of the profession. In this article, a Dominatrix reviews the show.

The show purports to unpack the stereotypes of life as a dominatrix, but really just reinforces them at every turn. The main character is reduced to an archetype of an angry, traumatized woman who aggressively yells at men and is a control freak. Like most mainstream portrayal of BDSM, a nuanced understanding of power dynamics, consent and negotiation are utterly missing.

While pro-Dommes themselves are being shadowbanned and kicked off social media, Twitter gave ‘Mistress May’ a blue tick and allowed the show to use ‘her’ account to promote the series. Sex workers are maybe right to feel as if they’re having their work used as titillating entertainment while simultaneously copping misunderstanding, maltreatment and stigma from the general pop.

The bondage throughout the show was laughable and at times dangerous. Her whip looked like the one my dad bought for me from Hot Topic when I dressed as “catwoman” for Halloween when I was 15. She’s referred to as a “top NYC dominatrix,” but works out of a commercial dungeon with carpeted floors, wears a collar to sessions and has only has one pair of boots. To top it off, she has literally no understanding of negotiation and consent.

In this day and age, to not seek out advisors and consultants when producing a show with this kind of budget - I just don’t get it. It could have been a show that presented a world that is foreign to the mainstream, while still being accurate, but instead it fell into the same tired tropes about sex work as usual. Boo.

MKY: well there goes any interest I might’ve otherwise had in checking out that show.

Marlee, curious now what the pro-Domme community’s take is on it featuring rather heavily in Billions?

MJW: Ooooh, I’ve not heard much about Billions. Might need to check it out.

AA: John Higgs’ Octannual Manual

I just finished reading John Higgs’ “Stranger Than We Can Imagine”, a really compelling “alternative narrative” of the 20th century and its most revolutionary ideas. The basic tenet of the book is that the 20th century destroyed the idea of centralised, unambiguous meaning - an omphalos as Higgs describes it - and that this spontaneous realisation about the subjective nature of experience was simultaneously arrived at in numerous fields (for example in Science via Einstein or Psychology via Freud). The book also features appearances by Alan Moore, Jack Parsons, James Joyce, Grand Theft Auto, Emperor Norton and Camus. It somehow manages to be simultaneously complex and clearly explained, and I think if you like the style of Adam Curtis’ documentaries, you’ll enjoy this. It’s a ripper.   

The book was so good in fact that upon finishing it I immediately set out to find out what else Higgs had written. It turns out this includes novels and non-fiction books about The KLF and Tim Leary. He’s also somewhat of an expert on Robert Anton Wilson. All of which is very much My Shit.

Anyway, all of this is to say that upon researching Higgs I found he has a newsletter: the “Octannual Manual”, so named because it comes out 8 times a year. The newsletter is great, as I expected. You can sign up here, and check out some older editions on Higgs’ website. Here’s a bit from a few months ago about “Marie Kondoing your reality tunnel”:

Think about your prejudices – are they of any use? Do they really help explain how the world works, or are they just a shortcut to avoid thinking? For example, for years I’ve nurtured a deep prejudice about people who play golf. Would I be worse off if I took this prejudice down the skip?

Think about your beliefs – are they fit for purpose? Is it the case that some of them are a bit old and rusty? Do you own them or do they own you?

Think about the people in your life. Don’t Marie Kondo them! What are you, a monster? Hell’s teeth! Sure, problems arise, we all make mistakes, but unless someone is truly toxic, give them another chance. The 2020s are coming, remember, we’ll need all the help we can get.

Higgs has a new book coming out soon - THE FUTURE STARTS HERE: ADVENTURES IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY - and I can’t wait for it.

CJW: The Worst Is Yet To Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide by Peter Fleming

The premise of the book is that we don’t have to try and imagine the end of capitalism because it has already happened, and we’re already living in a post-capitalist state. The problem is that the version of post-capitalism we got is *motions toward the newsletter archive* this particular hellscape. Now, it’s a compelling idea - that we don’t have to topple capitalism because it has already eaten itself alive - but I’m not sure that I completely agree. I think what we have is just pure, uncut capitalism; that the neoliberal order has effectively stripped away any form of broader public protections and let capitalism do what capitalism does - churn people up (physically and/or psychologically) for profit. It’s a small point though, because whether or not you agree with Fleming’s premise, he’s done a great job of flaying the modern outcomes of the neoliberal order.

I recently read Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism as part of the Restricted.Academy Book Club - and whether it’s because of that, or because the publisher Repeater Books is explicitly about exploring capitalist realism, I saw a lot of connections between TWIYTC and Fisher’s book. For me, as a philosophical layman, I felt like TWIYTC did a better job of exploring capitalist realism more fully and from more viewpoints, offering concrete examples and plenty of interesting references, where Fisher’s book lacked some context (apart from when he was specifically talking about the education system, where his personal insights provided both context and passion).

There’s one thing I’m still not clear on though, and that’s the idea of “revolutionary pessimism”. It is offered as “the best standpoint to adopt as neoliberal capitalism circles the drain” but I’m still not clear what it actually entails, even after re-reading the relevant chapter. As this is one of the parts that Warren specifically highlighted in his review, I feel like this is a place where my intelligence and/or prior reading is lacking. Either way, I think I’m going to have to go and read Sebald’s Rings of Saturn soon.

At its best TWIYTC is utterly brilliant, and the glossary section at the end of the book is so good (the glossary entry on Tax Avoidance is at first enlightening and then horrifying) that I think the entries should have been inserted into the text of the book itself instead of being left to the end where people could easily skip over them. Here’s a tiny excerpt that spoke to me:

Oh, but there’s a very unfortunate typo (or really bad joke?) on page 131.

MKY: Ok, so I came at this book from the exact opposite angle. Despite my post on RA’s book club thread, I still haven’t read Capitalist Realism, but reading TWIYTC left me hungry to devour it. (I still haven’t, but… it’s sitting right underneath The Shipwrecked Mind rn so, soon!) So in terms of being an easily accessible introduction to the ideas his late friend Fisher explores, I think it functions perfectly.

It terms of that vibe that there was a lot left for the reader to resolve themselves, I concur. And there was one thread I wish he’d explicitly joined together as he went, so consider this handing in my homework. In his chapter, Is Capitalism a Cult?, Fleming talks about the origins of neoliberalism, and how it’s a “conceptualisation of human beings as homo economicus - economic man” then expanding on how “people are presumed to be walking profit-and-loss calculator or what they termed ‘rational utility minimisers’.”

Then in the very next chapter, Shitty Robots, he addresses Nick fucking Bostrom’s “Paperclip Maximiser” thought experiment. (Which is such bullshit.) And what’s missing from that chapter (and I feel like the thread continued in his ‘bullshit jobs’ chapter that doesn’t reference Graeber’s book on the subject, but past-me didn’t leave any manic highlights of that part) is the idea that so-called Existential Threat researchers are so soaked in the ideology of neoliberalism that not only can’t they conceive of humans as anything but homo economicus, but the same goes doubly - no, asymptotically… on into infinity! - for how such people conceive of a machine successor species. Which is where we can thankfully turn to the AI ep of This Giant Beast That Is The Global Economy - which at least followed an interview with fucking Bostrom with an interview with anarchist theorist Nick Srnicek [who co authored Inventing the Future, which I really must get to soon as well…]. That series pairs perfectly with Fleming’s book, and maybe it was the combination of both, but after finishing them both in quick succession i am fucking DONE pulling any punches on this cursed neoliberal condition we find ourselves mired in. In short:


MJW: Girl Like A Bomb by Autumn Christian.

When Beverly Sykes fucks you, you become your best self.

That’s Girl Like a Bomb boiled down to the bottom of the pot. But when the sweat of her brow and quiver of her loins means self-actualisation for her partner, where does that leave Beverly? She generous with her gift, but does it take as much from her as it gives to others? This book is part magical-realism, part erotica and not nearly as many ‘mystical vagina’ tropes as you might imagine. The sex is plentiful and in places perfunctory, in others disturbing, still others, hot. Beverly is an interesting character to watch as she grows alongside the gift she has. It’s a really interesting premise carried through almost perfectly.

MKY: SHADOW [South African/Netflix]

I’d put this next to Luther and Luke Cage. The big difference though? This is not grim dark at all. It’s part happy smiling buddy cop story (even though Shadow is a cop turned merc), part experimental medical procedure show [a recurrent theme lately], and part old school 80s style police drama, but with contemporary science-fictional condition procedural plots. Shadow is a total badass, who doesn’t hesitate to maim or kill the bad guys, and pocket their money - but he uses the money to help out other people, and most of all try to pay for an expensive surgery to get his wheelchair-bound sister walking again. What it sometimes lacks in originality is more than made up for by the cultural context its set in. Also, who doesn’t wanna see a chase scene with the (anti?)hero fearfully climbing what I’m pretty sure is an old nuclear power station to catch a meninist parkour sniper? [That standout ep for me].

AA:  Dispatches from The Institute of Incoherent Geography: Volume 1 (direct link to pdf)

Holy shit this is good - an esoteric mix of essays from the gloriously named Institute of Incoherent Geography, which is defined in the introduction to this volume as:

...a busy hub for any and all matters pertaining to geographical incoherence, and members gather both physically and virtually to discuss issues relating to the poetics of space, place, mobility, discovery, and anti-imperialist adventure. Essentially the Institute serves as an Explorer’s Club for anti-colonialist psychogeographers, agoraphobic nomads, and inveterate pataphysicists of all stripes.

A standout piece contained within this anthology is Unlearning Habitual Cosmologies: Reading Stanisław Lem at the Event Horizon by @bognamk aka Bogna Konior. Here’s the intro:

When I was sixteen, I felt that I needed to talk to the Ocean, and I was impatient. I decided that this alien being at the heart of Stanisław Lem’s Solaris was the only god I could ever accept. The single inhabitant of planet Solaris, the black Ocean covered its whole surface and weighed seven hundred billion tons. Resistant to all studies, its intelligence was elusive. It seemed to spend most of its time spitting out amorphous shapes. I was obsessed. In my Catholic, uni-sex, private high school, I skipped prayer and slept through religion classes. I politely refused invitations to parties in order to daydream about joining the NASA oceanography team. I devised methods for submergence, practicing in lakes or - less ideally - in murky, ashy ponds near the coal mines in Wałbrzych, where I grew up. My friends longed to wrap themselves around boys but I was having erotic dreams about Seasat, the first civilian oceanographic satellite launched in 1978.

Look, if that doesn’t get you pumped to read more, you and I just ain’t on the same page. Idioscyncratic and with a  - that describes Konior’s essay and the tenor of this collection in general. If you’re despairing the fact that mainstream genre fare seems to dominate cultural discourse, just say ‘fuck it’, mute the bullshit, and pick up this weird thing instead.

Strange & beautiful cultural artifacts exist, so let’s share and celebrate them!


AA: Geoff Nicholson’s Psycho-Gourmet

I’ve been following this blog for a long time, and it has been one of the most reliably entertaining feeds in my RSS reader for years (here’s a periodic reminder that The Old Reader is really good and free to boot). Geoff Nicholson is a witty writer with a long list of books, both fiction and non-, but this blog is an informal log of his culinary adventures in the kitchen and out in the wider world. To give you a taste of his style, here’s Nicholson writing about a recent trip he took to an Indian restaurant:

The waiter was incredibly intrusive but so exuberantly and naively so that it was impossible to take offence. I learned for example that he had recently married his cousin. And it was only at the wedding that his parents told him that they were also cousins. Way too much information, dude.

(The meal) came with what I think of as a standard-issue Indian restaurant salad, the kind you can get in any every Indian or Indian-related restaurant in England. They always look much the same, which is to say very unappetizing, and as far as I can tell nobody ever eats them. They come out from the kitchen and then get taken back again.  Do they get thrown away? Doe they get recycled? Does anybody know or care?

The entries are short and entertaining. I enjoy this blog in the same way I like Warren Ellis writing about food (it’s possible, as with a great many things, that I first found out about Psycho-Gourmet through Herr Ellis) or Steve Albini’s much-missed culinary blog (which seems to have disappeared from the surface-level internet, alas).


This short documentary from 2012 on the parts of the Outback that the British Army used as a nuclear testing ground, and the people it affects to this day, both Indigenous locals and former Australian soldiers, is an excellent overview of something that’s very much still ignored.

I’m a bit amazed that I didn’t stumble on this prior to my own expedition into that Zone in 2015, but as luck would have it, I happened to chat with one of the crew at the dog park this morning, while our puppies wrassled. Keep it hyperglocal y’all ;)


AA: We love to get replies to this newsletter. Whether you’ve got a question, a qualm or just want to share your thoughts, we want to hear it. To demonstrate just how interesting these replies can often be, we’ve decided to share some of them with you in a semi-regular feature we’re calling “Letters from The Void”. So if you want the chance to see yer words in these hallowed pages, flick us a reply.  

To start us off, here’s a message we received from paid subscriber Ed. Thanks Ed, you’re a  legend!


Ahoy there!

Do any of you remember the tv series The Girl From Tomorrow?: (post collapse time traveller comes back from the utopic post-jackpot year 3000 to early 90s sydney to warn of the upcoming eco-pocalypse, and to stop time travelling baddies, hilarity ensues. Well it might not be Sydney, but i grew up in rural WA so all those east coast cities are the same, right?)

It was a big influence on me (i read the novelisation of the sequel until it broke). I feel like I've always known about climate change etc. and I felt so frustrated that shit all has been done about it, but i think this is one of the things that was an early influence of environmental awareness. (Mission Top Secret was also great)

Tying in Mikey's blog post about Bourne vs Bond (AA note: this was a special paid subscriber only edition of Nothing Here - if you sub now you can see it and all the other bonus content!) and death defying escapes done with nothing but a watch and a deutschbahnhof timetable, with the roman clandestine civics, led me to thinking that if you want to do the [Skyfall] train rocket punch, you need to know the trains (and other infrastructure) run on time, and run reliably. Does that mean that the grey man's Q is out there not making laser cufflinks but making the trains run on time? Is half Bourne's job tracking down cable thieves causing huge delays by nicking railside cables to weigh in for scrap? Is the spook’s job now to protect our infrastructure from constant peril? I mean the grown ups in the Pentagon are trying, bless their little khaki socks:

Mikey: I'm trying to think of eco-radical books for you, I’d recommend:

I don't think any of them are exactly what you're looking for, I've got a feeling i might know some more, I'll have a think.



MJW: The last episode of Catastropod came out just after the last newsletter, so if you haven’t caught it yet, it’s me and Jessica Harvie talking queerness in The 100.


CJW: And that’s it for another issue. Thank you for choosing to spend this time reading our many (many) words. We appreciate it, and hope that something in here spoke to you, or inspired you, or broke your brain a little bit.

Hit reply if you’ve got anything to tell us, and be sure to take care of yourself and those around you.