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New Worlds and the 1960's

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  • New Worlds and the 1960's

    Michael:

    I came across another reference to you in a book I picked up at a second hand bookstore. The book is, "The Heat Death of the Universe". It is a collection of short stories by Pamela Zoline. Anyway, in the intro. Thomas Disch mentiones the "new wave", you and the magazine "New Worlds". He seems to hint at the fact that your ambitions were influenced by Ballards "mini-novels".

    Anyway a few questions if you would be kind enough to answer:

    1) Who is "Ballard" and what mini-novels is he referring to?

    2) This was a time period in which a lot of changes were taking place in society. I know that fiction is just fiction but were there other larger ideas in mind in the development of new worlds and what that magazine had to say about society at the time?

    3) If the above is in fact a "yes", were you successful?

    4) Could you comment on Zoline and mention of others of her ilk that might be comparable from that time period?

    Thanks in advance.

    C.

  • #2
    Ballard is on of the most inventive writer of S.F of the sixties. In the seventies he wrote one very good book about his memories as a child in Shangaï occupied by japon. Empire of the sun was adapted to cinema by Spielberg .

    About new world, i cannot answer but about the sixties :

    It was a time of hope and change. At the begining of the sixties, society was seen as quasi victorian. A young girl should wed virgin, there was no contraception, no sexual freedom and relations beetwen people were very formal.

    For instance a clerck should wear neck tie and in France women at parliament could not wear trousers ......

    Politically, it was also a time of hope : a new world was going to emerge. The problem was not of production and employement but to invent the post industrial society. Year 01 was in view.

    Youth was demonstrating against vietnam war. eace and love and LSD ....

    Dylan : 1964 :

    Come gather 'round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You'll be drenched to the bone.
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin'
    Then you better start swimmin'
    Or you'll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won't come again
    And don't speak too soon
    For the wheel's still in spin
    And there's no tellin' who
    That it's namin'.
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don't stand in the doorway
    Don't block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There's a battle outside
    And it is ragin'.
    It'll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don't criticize
    What you can't understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin'.
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can't lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is
    Rapidly fadin'.
    And the first one now
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin'.


    The break was in 1968 who did not change thing but gave the signal that they had changed ........

    If thing changed effectively regarding way of living, period was closed in 1974 with the petroleum crisis
    Last edited by Morgan Kane; 07-26-2006, 12:42 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ballard was one of the stars of NW and remains, in my view, a great and intelligent writer who is about to have a new book published this September and will have a South Bank Show (main TV arts programme) devoted to him. I published the early condensed novels but I was never influenced by him any more than he and I were influenced by William Burroughs, who was our mutual hero. What Burroughs did was show that you could produce a coherent fiction which didn't follow the conventions which had grown up around modernism, which had descended in my view into generic tropes no longer relevant to contemporary life. Ballard and I were both looking for new forms of narrative. He produced his condensed novels (see The Atrocity Exhibition) and I produced, at the same time, the first Jerry Cornelius stories. Ballard's first 'experimental' story was The Terminal Beach in one of Carnell's last magazines and mine was The Deep Fix, published around the same time. Ballard was originally known as a brilliant short story writer. He then did a series of tremendous romantic sf 'disaster' novels The Drowned World, The Crystal World (which I ran in NW as Equinox) The Drought. Then he began publishing his condensed novels. His next period was exemplified by stories like High Rise, Crash and Concrete Island. Later he'd write his autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, filmed by Spielberg. Recent books have included Millenium People and Cocaine Nights. He's highly respected as a major UK literary writer.
      New Worlds saw sf as offering methods of telling stories about the present, but wasn't, as some prefer to think, an attempt to 'improve' the sf genre. We were rejecting all existing generic conventions and trying to create our own.
      I think we were successful. What we were doing prepared the way for much of what became known as 'magic realism'.
      Pamela Zoline is primarily a painter who now lives in Telluride, Colorado.
      Most of her published stories were collected in The Heat Death of the Universe, which first appeared in New Worlds. She also illustrated a number of our best stories.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks

        Thanks for the reply. I still can't help but feel that there was a sense of purpose from the writing from that time period. The 60's were a time of change and I think the writing reflects that spirit. Of course all of you were at that time much younger and I would suppose that has to be a factor. I don't know that age doesn't perhaps weather us and instill in us a sense of acceptance of things as they are. I only speak from experience in that aspect. When one is younger it is easy to believe how much change can be accomplished both personally and in the world at large. After a while you come to accept that change on both a personal scale and larger is very difficult and slow to bring about.

        And I must admit I am digressing into the gray area of the purpose of art. Is there a purpose for the writer to make social commentary? In some sense a writer can't help but make it, since he is part of it. But in another there is the question of whether or not a writer does anything other than just report facts. There is a sense of liberalism in your own writings and an underlying sense of morality. Is this not a statement of ethics? Even if it is a fictional ethics it still influences people none-the-less.

        I think the fact is that writers influence people far more than they realize. As I look at myself I have to say that where I am now in terms of my ethos and socio/political stance was heavily influenced by my early readings of Elric and your other stories. It is part of the reason I learned to stay objective and learned to beware of too much optimism. Anyway, I just find this to be an interesting subject. As a writer myself, I never actually think of these things when I am writing and I doubt you do either. But once in a while I wonder just how powerful these letters and words really are.



        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
        Ballard was one of the stars of NW and remains, in my view, a great and intelligent writer who is about to have a new book published this September and will have a South Bank Show (main TV arts programme) devoted to him. I published the early condensed novels but I was never influenced by him any more than he and I were influenced by William Burroughs, who was our mutual hero. What Burroughs did was show that you could produce a coherent fiction which didn't follow the conventions which had grown up around modernism, which had descended in my view into generic tropes no longer relevant to contemporary life. Ballard and I were both looking for new forms of narrative. He produced his condensed novels (see The Atrocity Exhibition) and I produced, at the same time, the first Jerry Cornelius stories. Ballard's first 'experimental' story was The Terminal Beach in one of Carnell's last magazines and mine was The Deep Fix, published around the same time. Ballard was originally known as a brilliant short story writer. He then did a series of tremendous romantic sf 'disaster' novels The Drowned World, The Crystal World (which I ran in NW as Equinox) The Drought. Then he began publishing his condensed novels. His next period was exemplified by stories like High Rise, Crash and Concrete Island. Later he'd write his autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, filmed by Spielberg. Recent books have included Millenium People and Cocaine Nights. He's highly respected as a major UK literary writer.
        New Worlds saw sf as offering methods of telling stories about the present, but wasn't, as some prefer to think, an attempt to 'improve' the sf genre. We were rejecting all existing generic conventions and trying to create our own.
        I think we were successful. What we were doing prepared the way for much of what became known as 'magic realism'.
        Pamela Zoline is primarily a painter who now lives in Telluride, Colorado.
        Most of her published stories were collected in The Heat Death of the Universe, which first appeared in New Worlds. She also illustrated a number of our best stories.

        Comment


        • #5
          The locus of the change-focus shifts with time; in the 'sixties, western culture underwent radical philosophical restructuring (or, arguably, initiated its current phase of philosophical restructuring) whereas now the zeitgeist of cultural recontructive thinking may be said to be 'hottest' in the Middle East or the former USSR. It depends partly on your POV (like everything else...). Change and the 'thrust for alteration' is a phasic phenomenon in any society, evolutionary in its nature; thus, whilst there may be 'highs' and 'lows' of creative and status-quo-challenging thought, all societies develop as the wave-crest of their cultural histories. This parallels, perhaps rather neatly, the development of a writer (or any other person) through their youth to maturity: the moderation of their views and the realisation that issues are rarely 'black and white', the dawning idea that shit happens in a random universe, which is simplistically termed 'cynicism'. We are now in a 'cynical' phase in the West, akin to middle-age of our current social cycle, wherein the ideals of the campaigning 'sixties have not been lost, per se, but modified by pragmatism and the greater global experience which our extended media provides; intelligently attenuated by the realisation that the 'sixties philosophy spawned both some of our most precious ethical paradigms, and the nefarious horrors of political correctness and the failed experimentalism of (many of) its educationalists. The 'sixties themselves built (as does every phase) upon that which had gone before. Change, like The War, never ends...but it wanders about a bit. And might occasionally stop for a quick fag.

          Comment


          • #6
            >Hic!<

            Comment


            • #7
              As with rock and roll, half the vitality of the period came from the fact that we hardly knew what we were doing. That is, we knew what we wanted to do, but weren't entirely sure how to do it. You'd go into a studio not knowing what you'd come out with or you'd start a story not quite knowing what (as you suggest) it was, but with a certain ambition in both cases. These are long years of contemplation of those conventions we developed in the 60s. I would say we're due for another 'revolution' and hope we get one. I'm still trying to do something new, but the height of my adrenaline rush is, of course, over simply as a result of normal ageing. These are the years of Who and Rolling Stones tours, as it were. I wish they weren't, but it could be inevitable.
              Sorry, Perdix. What was that ? Don't worry, lad. We'll get you home.

              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
              The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
              Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
              The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
              Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

              Comment


              • #8
                The sixties were a period of hope and renewal .. and illusions ! The debate was about the post industrial society, the society of entertainement .....

                If the change in the habits are true, the change to come in the politial and economical system is still a dream.

                In fact, the will to free the individual of the constraints of tradition and society has become the founding stone of the ideology of the new capitalist system !

                The idea of solidarity has been forgotten by the way !
                Last edited by Morgan Kane; 07-28-2006, 01:21 PM.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by Morgan Kane
                  The sixties were a period of hope and renewal .. and illusions ! The debate was about the post industrial society, the society of entertainement .....

                  If the change in the habits are true, the change to come in the politial and economical system is still a dream.

                  In fact, the will to free the individual of the constraints of tradition and society has become the founding stone of the ideology of the new capitalist system !

                  The idea of solidarity has been forgotten by the way !
                  I agree with most of what you say, save that for some of us the hope and renewal passed us by. If you were poor and working class in the sixties, life was little different to the fifties; it was still a grind. That's what I remember from my childhood, I can't say for anyone else, there were no hippies or flower-people or avant-guard poets where I lived, just poverty and violence, as there always was and still is.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    No :

                    In the sixties, poor had at least a hope, that the life of their children would be better. Fight was an option also ....

                    In France May 68 has not only been the action of some students but a general strike of millions of workers ...... who have obtained wages increase, trade unions rights and so on .....

                    Life could be changed !

                    Now, with the crisis, globalisation, en d of the fordian compromise etc .. this hope is lost.

                    And the political hope is also lost ........ The ideological defeat is evident.

                    And the drama is that triumphant capitalism will kill us !

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Morgan Kane
                      No :

                      In the sixties, poor had at least a hope, that the life of their children would be better. Fight was an option also ....

                      In France May 68 has not only been the action of some students but a general strike of millions of workers ...... who have obtained wages increase, trade unions rights and so on .....

                      Life could be changed !

                      Now, with the crisis, globalisation, en d of the fordian compromise etc .. this hope is lost.

                      And the political hope is also lost ........ The ideological defeat is evident.

                      And the drama is that triumphant capitalism will kill us !
                      I do not deny this, the last part especial, I am just quoting from personal experience,

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Very insightful Perdix. It reminds me of some other things I have read and I wouldn't doubt it a bit. There was a historian who also shared such a view about empires and nation states as well. If that is the case then it would make sense that America is entering its middle-age pangs at this point in time. God knows, we could use some new energy here.

                        I sometimes ponder how my generation had a very unique history as compared to most. I was born in 1970 and for the most part we never had a real challenge to deal with such as those from earlier generations. No World War's. No drafts. No real conflicts of any kind other than those on a very small scale and usually familial. I think it is interesting to ponder how much stress/conflict plays into creating great art or for creating a response in the artists from a societal standpoint. I believe most have heard that wars usually result in great art which seems odd at first but when you think about it, I believe it makes sense. Art of any type is a form of "expulsion"/expression. It is the minds way of copying the body. The body processes food and expels it whereas the mind processes information. I dont' know I think I am off on a tangent now and probably need a smoke.....




                        Originally posted by Perdix
                        The locus of the change-focus shifts with time; in the 'sixties, western culture underwent radical philosophical restructuring (or, arguably, initiated its current phase of philosophical restructuring) whereas now the zeitgeist of cultural recontructive thinking may be said to be 'hottest' in the Middle East or the former USSR. It depends partly on your POV (like everything else...). Change and the 'thrust for alteration' is a phasic phenomenon in any society, evolutionary in its nature; thus, whilst there may be 'highs' and 'lows' of creative and status-quo-challenging thought, all societies develop as the wave-crest of their cultural histories. This parallels, perhaps rather neatly, the development of a writer (or any other person) through their youth to maturity: the moderation of their views and the realisation that issues are rarely 'black and white', the dawning idea that shit happens in a random universe, which is simplistically termed 'cynicism'. We are now in a 'cynical' phase in the West, akin to middle-age of our current social cycle, wherein the ideals of the campaigning 'sixties have not been lost, per se, but modified by pragmatism and the greater global experience which our extended media provides; intelligently attenuated by the realisation that the 'sixties philosophy spawned both some of our most precious ethical paradigms, and the nefarious horrors of political correctness and the failed experimentalism of (many of) its educationalists. The 'sixties themselves built (as does every phase) upon that which had gone before. Change, like The War, never ends...but it wanders about a bit. And might occasionally stop for a quick fag.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                          I'm still trying to do something new, but the height of my adrenaline rush is, of course, over simply as a result of normal ageing. These are the years of Who and Rolling Stones tours, as it were. I wish they weren't, but it could be inevitable.
                          Nay! Nay! Consider: Anthony Burgess's last two books, A Dead Man in Deptford and Byrne represent the top of his game. He actually did his best work towards, if you will pardon the expression, "the end." Byrne is a book length poem--cantos 1, 2, 4, 5, are in ottava rima, while canto 3 is in Spenserian! And William Golding too: The Double Tongue was his last, and, in my opinion, his best (it's the only Golding book that I can say I love, actually). And Melville, too: While Billy Budd isn't as great as Moby-Dick or The Confidence-Man--(and what is?)--yet the artistry in Billy Budd comes up to the mark, fully, and what choice bits of wisdom he passes along.... And Nabokov: Pale Fire (age 63), Ada (age 70), Transparent Things (age 73), Look at the Harlequins! (age 75).
                          Last edited by nalpak retrac; 07-28-2006, 08:37 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Right, CK. Seeing as (a) Mike seems to produce a greater output of top-rate material in multiple 'disciplines' (pure fiction, review, comic, etc) per year than your 'normal' professional writer and (b) he might live to be at least 98, given his evident robust constitution and familial history, and (c) we have the testimony of his most contemporary output, then one conclusion emerges: the time of the 'three-day-novel' may be past, but the imaginative summit may yet not even be in sight. Huh! Perdix brown-nosing?! No, just a scientific assessment, for what it's worth...

                            And, cfyork, I agree with your thesis of 'catastrophe-creativity'...but the 'nature of the catastrophe' (that was an accidental convergence!) varies with the generation - I am of your generation, near enough ('67) but if we (most of us) lack the stimulus or creative trauma of life-threatening conflict, we do have the psychologically and existentially extreme fin de siecle nihilistic emotional and social stresses unexperienced by our forebears*. These are, perhaps, more dangerous, more cognitively lytic than the more cohesive social stresses of a global conflict...as proven by the epidemic of mental illness and dislocation typical of our (and subsequent) generations. Many of those who experienced 'war' claim it to be a positive force of focus and creativity, as you say, whilst the existential ennui afflicting our contemporaries and offspring must be overcome by using the unparalleled opportunities of travel, exploration and intellectual expansion offered to us. I believe creative energy arises from effort energised by action (physical or mental) - it is merely that physical conflict is presented to the particpant as a fait accompli by one's society, hence the individual initiative is bypassed. We, who live in (for us) less bellicose times, must make the effort to actively 'stress' our physiques and minds to create the equivalent creative dynamic.
                            Last edited by xidrep; 07-29-2006, 11:54 AM.

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