Did you know? Eighteen is turning their All That’s Left zine into a novel with full audio book accompaniment. The original zine stories will be expanded and joined by several new tales of post-binary dystopian cyborg drama. But what is All That’s Left?
ALL THAT’S LEFT? IT’S A ZINE ABOUT PEOPLE. A NON-LINEAR PIECEMEAL DRAMA. AN OBSESSION WITH THE PRESENT DAY FROM THE FUTURE PAST, AND ALL THE DYSTOPIAN MOVIES, COMICS, AND ANIME OF THE 1980S-90S AND RELATED PERIODS. ALL THAT’S LEFT IS ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH TECHNOLOGY; THE INTIMATE/SEXUALIZED AND TENDER/RELIANT RELATIONSHIPS WE DEVELOP OUT OF OUR PROSTHETICS. ALL THAT’S LEFT MUSES: SEX IS A FREEDOM, PRESENTATION DEMANDS EFFORT; POWER IS WHAT YOU MAKE FROM THE SCRAPS OF THE MATERIAL-HOARDING, SPIRIT-THWARTING AFFLUENT. ALL THAT’S LEFT IS SAD. ALL THAT’S LEFT IS WISTFUL.ALL THAT’S LEFT IS STILL STRUGGLING. ALL THAT’S LEFT IS ABOUT CYBORGS, WHICH IS REALLY ABOUT TECHNOLOGY, WHICH REALLY MEANS TOOL USE, WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION: HOW DO WE SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM OUR TOOLS? ALL THAT’S LEFT IS YOU AND ME.
Follow Eighteen’s tumblr or twitter for angry tirades against cyberpunk (among many other topics), as well as updates.
Creative director of The AfroFuturist Affair and our own founding member put out a book this year. Have you heard about it?
“The major linchpin of the book is Phillips’ slippage between reality and fiction. It pervades throughout the entire book as well as in a metafictional sense. Walls between the reader and book seems to break down at several points with the inclusion of chapters of Experimental Time Order interspersed, and especially in one of the later chapters, it seems as if the reader is the one to whom the book addresses.”
– Reese Francis of Futuristically Ancient
“Recurrence Plot achieves the delightful symmetry of being a novel about experiencing time out of sequence, with a main character who has faulty memory and incomplete information, and about the discovery and reading of a self-published, postmodern, pseudoscientific, multimedia and multi-genre, portmanteau book, which is told out of sequence, leaving the reader confused and with incomplete information, and in a portmanteau, postmodern and pseudoscientific style…”
– Djibril al-Ayad of The Future Fire
Certainly more quantum physics than I have ever read willingly, Phillips is an extremely creative story teller. From time travel to trauma, she tackles it all, in this slim but packed volume. Intriguing.
– Sarah Katz
Time travel, zines, neurobiology, racism, choose your own adventure books, quantum physics, memory, Robert Anton Wilson, the prison-industrial complex, astrology… the number of disparate ideas and influences Philips incorporates into the complex structure of this books would be admirable simply for her ambition alone. That she pulls it off in a novel/book of short stories which manages to be intricately experimentally structured without ever feeling completely opaque is a major accomplishment. This book is a masterpiece by a major new talent, and is not to be missed.
– Rachel K. Zall
They said Yolanda was an arsonist. I don’t know — I guess they tried her as an adult. We never saw her again. But I remember seeing her face bent toward the sandy earth that day, and I don’t think she was sadistic. Just curious. And Connor was the only kid who had talked to her all week, probably. I heard her say she’d never used a magnifying glass before. Tons of ants were crawling over the pipe by the west side of the school, swarming together onto the dirt like an oil stain. She set them on fire, yeah, but I’m not even sure she wanted to. She probably would rather have used the magnifying glass to stare at a hunk of igneous rock or something, and she would have been able to tell how old each once-molten layer was.
Yolanda stuck out because she was the only black girl in our middle school. She was a high-performing student, and I guess her parents could pay. Most of the black kids in Philly can’t go to school anymore. Some people say black kids come from a culture of poverty, so they’re not ambitious and can’t get out of their neighborhoods anyway. People who say that kind of shit think good students like Yolanda are different from other black kids. I wouldn’t really know, but I remember when I said “Hi” to her on the first day she came in. It was January. I was like, “I know you’re new here, because I would’ve noticed you before.” And she winced just like my little brother does when my mom calls him “Fatso.”
Her family probably lives on a block of row-homes and eats at Petri Burger like we do—everyone in Philly craves their sterile in-vitro meat. And Yolanda’s dad might even get them all together to watch the drone strikes if they have a large-screen wall. My dad bets on drones. That’s how he pays for my school.
Since SEPTA banned teenagers, nobody at school can take the bus anymore. The bell rings, and a row of nannies in cars stalls the traffic outside. A few of us stick around for a while, in an in-between kind of world where rules still exist, but we can’t see them.
Convex lenses focus light to magnify solar energy. I knew this, but it’s different to see it in action. So when I saw Connor and Yolanda crouched down under the library window in the afternoon heat, I crept closer and craned my neck. There wasn’t even a spark or smoke, but the ants shriveled up under the fierce light, dead, one by one. Then Yolanda grabbed a piece of paper from her backpack and set that on the ground. Honestly, it looked a lot like when that laser took down a drone over a beach in Mexico last week. That was cool. You don’t see that kind of beam — it’s not like other lasers where you see a sharp purple line in the air. When Yolanda held the magnifying glass over it, a nickel-sized spot on the paper just suddenly caught fire.
And then, I can’t believe what happened next, but it was a real drone. The non-lethal kind that hovers overhead in case the metal detectors fail and some crazy kid tries a mass shooting. But Yolanda… The cops carried her away unconscious on a stretcher, barking at Connor to shut the hell up when he screamed, “Why’d you cuff her?”
Suzy Subways is a writer/activist who loves Philly the way a three-eyed fish loves its lake. She edits Prison Health News, coordinates an oral history project about the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM), and temps as a copyeditor. Send a message to Mizsubways(@)gmail(.)com for her fiction zines.
Image on this post by the formidable @RecTheDirector.
Over the past several months, the four of us at Metropolarity HQ have seen our likenesses, labor, and wordsmithing appear on myriad outlets across cyberspace and IRL, but visitors to this site probably wouldn’t know about any of that since our primary propagandist is a slovenly beast with failing prosthetics and not enough time discipline, limbs, or plausible fake names to keep up appearances. They now wish to apologize for this lowly recap post, the contents of which you might already know about if you follow us on tumblr, where we are slightly more active, or if you peep the #metropolarity tag on twitter and instagram…
But without further ado, we present a small collection of our articles and celebratory bits of news, in screencap format.
Click the pictures to read the articles in full. =}
MARCH 2014 ~ We appear in a very favorable arts & culture feature in our local City Paper. Contrary to the headline, we are not all based in West Philly…
JUNE 2014 ~ The squad and network organize the Liberation Technologies: Science Fiction for World Building and Survival programming track for the 2014 Allied Media Conference in Detroit. One of several, the LibTech track contains eight sessions of speculative workshops and panels for radical educators, artists, and activists involved in media-based organizing.
AUGUST 2014 ~ Ras and Eighteen write about our current operating parameters for Broken Pencil magazine’s Zine Philosophy section. Eighteen is especially fond of the cover tagline “Queer Cyborgs Liberate High Tech,” a delicious conflation of Metropolarity’s work with Eighteen’s own.
AUGUST 2014 ~ Rasheedah begins a stint as contributing columnist to the Atlanta Blackstar’s BLERDS series, with a solid array of interviews and topical features covering the arts, technology, and the in-between.
OCTOBER 2014 ~ Eighteen is named a recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s Art & Change grant, money which will help them on their Quest to self-publish a print book and audiobook of their dystopian cyborg series, All That’s Left.
A few days later, they find out their work was included on the syllabus of a gender and sexuality class for the University of Penn’s English department. One of the required reading pieces is Gentry, a piece written for the 2nd Metropolarity zine, which namedrops Penn in a speculative tirade about a gentrified and flooded out future Philly…………..
OCTOBER 2014 ~ Alex writes a Highly Appropriate article for the Philly Weekly about one of the grand masters of sci-fi, Samuel R. Delany. People are rightfully stoked.
We also did a few zine fests, put out the Future Now collab zine, and Rasheedah incredibly (bow down) put on her yearly AfroFuturist Affair‘s annual costume and charity ball, this year themed Black Holographic Memory, which expanded from the original ball into several days worth of film screenings, workshop days, and rock and roll shows (AND is a community fundraiser that you can still donate to!!). So that’s what we’ve been up to, besides our full time jobs of course. ¬__¬
Make sure to check out our Events Calendar for what we’ve got coming up for these final weeks of 2014.
The quoted part of this post’s title comes from Ursula K. LeGuin’s acceptance speech at this year’s National Book Awards. We consider it a call to arms.