“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame.” Jack London
Mention the term Southern fiction, and people typically think of the works of Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Ron Rash, or Charles Frazier. The term evokes scenes of snowy-white cotton fields, simmering tension between characters sipping bourbon, or protagonists haunted by an aching nostalgia for a rural life long gone.
Most folks wouldn’t associate memory uploads, runaway AI systems, or megacorporations as proper subjects for Southern fiction. But maybe my article on cyberpunk author William Gibson might just change your mind. It’s the featured post over at the Abbeville Institute blog. Read it there, and comment on it here. Enjoy!
From Shaun Gunner, the chair of the Tolkien Society:
After Bilbo left the Shire on his eleventy-first birthday in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo toasted his uncle’s birthday each year on 22 September. The Society continues that tradition by continuing to toast Tolkien’s birthday.
J.R.R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein [South Africa] on 3 January 1892, and we invite you to celebrate the birthday of this much loved author by raising a glass at 9pm your local time.
The toast is simply:
I will do that.
Tolkien’s works continue to exert influence not only because they tell exhilarating stories, but because, especially for me, they so beautifully capture the Norse, Celtic, and Christian traditions Tolkien sought to reclaim for the modern world.
The stakes, warns Tolkien, couldn’t be higher.
Mordor represents the self-defeating triumph of technology over nature. Gollum and the Orcs embody what the divorce from nature makes of those no longer in harmony with their organic ties to society and the natural world. When the lust for power and treasure erase our natural instincts to care for our homes and kindred, we will devolve into monsters. Our lovely world, threatened by poison and dictatorship, can be lost forever if we let it fall to those crazed by greed and envy.
9:00 PM folks. Be there.