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Nathanael Bonnell – Twilight of the Techno-Industrial Age?

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Nathanael Bonnell and Greg Moffitt discuss techno-industrial society and potential trajectories for its future. Nathanael is editor of New Maps, a quarterly journal of de-industrial fiction.

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As the world faces the oncoming reality of declining energy, fraying infrastructure, and other consequences promised to us by the profligacy of the fossil fuel age, we’re left to look into a future that at first appears a trackless wilderness. The monolith of globalized industrial civilization offers few frameworks to comprehend life in an age of less. It has dealt with its impending implosion with procrastination and denial.

And yet if we’re to survive and even thrive in the future, we must have stories, for narrative is how we make sense of our world. But popular fantasies of Star Trek-type utopia or Mad Max-style Armageddon bear very little resemblance to the futures we’re actually likely to get: neither paradise nor apocalypse, and certainly not an easy continuation of the business-as-usual of the last few decades. Instead, we and our descendants will do what people always do: figure out creative ways to keep doing all those things that make up life, the loving and hating and laughing and crying and all the rest, in the times we’ve been given.

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  1. Louis Laframboise says:


    Thank you so much for this amazing, thought-provoking, conversation with Nathaneal. I really enjoyed it. It is nice to get a behind the scenes look at authors or creators–in this case editor–to get a better feel for what their material is about.

    Deindustrial fiction sounds like an interesting genre with much potential for exploration of the many possible iterations that could manifest–including drastically different technologies and cultures happening concurrently. It is an important reminder that deindustrialization does not have to be bad or all about doom. Like was brought up during the conversation, we may well be surprised as to how beautiful of a world can be created when the various limits or collapses increasingly manifest. The conversation reminded me of what John Michael Greer got into in his RetroFuture book, as well as your interview of him on this book, in which he suggests that we can make all manner of mixes and matches of technologies from different places and eras and bring it together into our own mosaic for a rich(er) life.

    I am looking forward to reading my first edition of the New Maps magazine to which I have just subscribed.

    Thanks for sharing this with the world. I greatly appreciate the work you are doing.

    Would you be able to add those 2 films you suggested (within the same deindustrial future genre) into the shownotes or comments.

    Louis Laframboise

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