book reviews: kindred and the future09 Feb 2018
this devastating sci-fi novel grapples with many of butler’s most common themes: slavery, sexism & patriarchy, the relationship between past, present, and future, and what it means to have agency in systems of oppression. her main character, dana, is repeatedly pulled back in time by her slaveowning ancestor to save his life. the depths of irony butler dives to in dana’s visits to rufus (the “white” ancestor”) know no bounds. as butler paints a heart-wrenching picture of the complexity of relationships within a single slave plantation, she even further complicates the picture by blurring the present (1815) with the future (1976, the time the main character is from). in the end, dana loses part of arm attempting to “escape the past unscathed.” but given that she lost her arm, did she really escape? (have any of us escaped?). mind-boggling and worth several rereads.
this short nonfiction book is a particular slice/view of futurism from the perspective of an mit futurist. montfort guides the reader through a series of, in his mind, important moments in futurist history, particularly focusing on the ways people making futures relate to the new “technologies” of the day. as he bounces us through history, he makes a couple of really interesting points that surprisingly create a sense of agency for the reader. my takeaway “in the past, people though about the future differently than we do know. given that, there’s no reason we have to keep thinking about the future the way we do now. so get out there and make some futures. also, the most compelling futures, and definitelythe ones that are the most likely to come alive (ex: the internet) are actually built by many people, over time, and with a lot of space for other people to create their own futures within/in relationship to all the other futures.
words / writing / post-processing
?w / 10min / 10min