21st century writing | 21st century approaches

Current Issue

Book Apps and Digital Textuality

Posted by on May 31, 2017

With its vast storage capacity for digitising the majority of canonised literary works, the Internet offers a wide variety of resources for contemporary readers. Unsurprisingly, the digital medium...

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Current Issue

Deep State and the Future of Theatre

Posted by on May 31, 2017

Karen Mirza and Brad Butler's 2012 film project Deep State, scripted by China Miéville, tells the story of a time traveller who passes through holes in conventional history created by the irruptive power of riots.

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Current Issue

With Love from Iceland

Posted by on May 31, 2017

Iceland is, to put it weirdly, so hot right now. Iceland is circulating through the social imaginary in a number of big-budget cinematic vehicles: Dr. Mann’s uninhabitable planet in Interstellar...

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Current Issue

Will 2017 be 1984?

Posted by on May 31, 2017

As part of Birkbeck’s Arts Week 2017, we organised a panel titled "Will 2017 be 1984" (you can listen to a podcast recording of the panel here) which considered the uncanny relevance of Orwell’s novel...

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Recent Posts

Speculative Resistance in Lost Girls

Speculative Resistance in Lost Girls

Mar 15, 2017

This article will suggest that Alan Moore’s perspective can usefully be considered as part of an underground aesthetic which declares the necessity of solidarity of experience with all other groups...

Pod People: Brave New Worlds of Digital Audio Drama

Pod People: Brave New Worlds of Digital Audio Drama

Oct 30, 2016

For the last several months I have been lucky enough to have been on writing sabbatical from my university. As such, I have often found myself around and about my hometown during the day. I feel like I am a strange figure, writing in coffee shops, making enemies of baristas, running errands, and looking, to all but the most enlightened of observers, decadently unemployed. In an effort to stave off the effects of my increasingly sedentary life...

Infrastructure and the Anthropocene in Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island

Infrastructure and the Anthropocene in Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island

Oct 30, 2016

To read a Tom McCarthy novel is to find oneself weirdly and wildly awash in grids within grids, maps within maps, of infrastructural objects and systems. Protagonists and minor characters alike obsess over these objects and systems of infrastructure—over their grandeur, their minutiae, their flows and flaws, slows and jams, their symbolic ideological concretizations, their masterful and/or absurd designs, their volumes of strata.

Bollywood Adaptations of Agatha Christie

Bollywood Adaptations of Agatha Christie

Oct 30, 2016

As the centrepiece of their Christmas 2015 schedule, BBC One screened an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Scripted by Sarah Phelps and featuring a star-studded cast including Aiden Turner, Charles Dance, and Sam Neill, the adaptation was criticised in advance for deviating from its source material by “featuring drug abuse, gruesome violence and swearing” (Hastings 2015: n. pag.). After it was shown...

Literary Annotation, from Poe to Twitter

Literary Annotation, from Poe to Twitter

Oct 30, 2016

On the sixth of September 2012 Bret Easton Ellis tweeted: “Reading D. T. Max’s bio I continue to find David Foster Wallace the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation…”. This article will be less interested in the judiciousness of Ellis’s findings—that debate seems unlikely to resolve itself any time soon—than in the form they take. “Reading D. T. Max’s bio:” the present tense suggests a pause for reflection, a moment...

Nuclear Narratives: Editor’s Introduction

Nuclear Narratives: Editor’s Introduction

Jul 29, 2016

Written from within the last “hot” period of the Cold War’s near half century span, Martin Amis’s 1987 essay “Thinkability” articulates how nuclear weapons embedded themselves within our personal and cultural imagination: "Everyone is interested in nuclear weapons, even those people who affirm and actually believe that they never give the question a moment’s thought. We are all interested parties...

The Futures of Nuclear Criticism

The Futures of Nuclear Criticism

Jul 29, 2016

The unthinkable happened at 4.20pm on 28 October, 1988. Though lasting only thirty-six minutes – betrayal by European NATO allies prevented escalation into the global holocaust many had feared – nuclear attack transformed the United States. As Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka record in an extraordinary travel narrative about a perilous journey around the country five years...

Documentary Film and Our Restless Nuclear Present

Documentary Film and Our Restless Nuclear Present

Jul 29, 2016

Our nuclear present is restless, yet we rarely conceptualise nuclear reality in this way. It can only ever be restless, as nuclear technologies shape our world, their relentless and dangerous forms remaining largely permanent and unseen, deliberately kept from our gaze. The “nuclear fuel cycle” is a hyper-long-term phenomenon and, at any split second, globally, there are hundreds of thousands...