2013, Sun, May 26

Steven Shaviro

Dark Origins

Speculative Thinking in Art, Literature and Philosophy

Speculative Thinking in Art, Literature and Philosophy

Chris Beckett's science fiction novel Dark Eden can be described as an exercise in speculative anthropology.

On a dark planet, warmed only by geothermal energy, the descendants of a pair of stranded human astronauts must reinvent civilization from scratch, guided only by garbled memories of Earth passed down for generations from the original pair of settlers. Recounting a "fall" from a seeming state of nature into a more historical sort of social arrangement through a series of traumatic incidents, the novel echoes a number of foundational Western texts about the origins of human society and civilization – ranging from the Book of Genesis up to Nietzsche's Zur Genealogie der Moral. Steven Shaviro discusses how Beckett "rewrites" these texts, by placing them in a new, fictional context, where everything has to be reinvented.

Moderation: Melanie Sehgal (in English)