Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




Lucius Shepard: Remedial Reading For The Generation Of Swine

Back in the day, waaaay back, when I was the youngest and turkiest of them all (cyberpunkily speaking), I used to pore over and reread such groundbreaking publications (thats hardcopy publications) as Science Fiction Eye and Journal Wired. I actually wrote a coupla pieces for SF Eye, as well as interviews with Iain Banks and David Wingrove; Journal Wired I didnt have an in on, but it was a great and chunky book-mag which ran for only 3 issues back in 1990/91. One of its highlights was a column called Stark Raving, written by Lucius Shepard, written with a passion and evocatory skill that ran from the confessional to the polemical and all points inbetween.

The first of them was called ‘Remedial Reading For The Generation Of Swine’ in which he exoriated the blinkered narrow-mindedness of certain sectors of SF fandom and SF pro-dom (?), while Reaganoid politics were tearing the heart out of Latin America. I won’t go to the extent of reprinting the piece (I dont have the permish) but just to give you a hint of the flavour, here’s a wee extract or two:

“More pertinently, though, this aint the ‘Sixties, it’s the ‘Nineties, and things are a lot more grim and entrenched than they once were, because even though we’ve got glasnost and perestroika, and a kinder, gentler America, and a few other auspicious signs, what we’ve got as relates to the process of world peace is just another Bad Breath Committee on Armchair Disarmament, and along with that, we’ve got the Greenhouse Effect, acid rain, war in the east, war in the west, everywhere is war, and famine, pestilence, plague, earthquakes, and a whole lot of serious inanition as regards doing anything consequential about these problems….”

“…I remember being so fucking terrified, chased by this little gray Ford full of men in white shirts along a dirt road after searching for a friend at El Playon, where the death squads dumped the bodies of their victims. I remember dust was flying up around the car, the green world disappearing in whirlwinds of dust….”

“…the whole country like that, the whole raped, cratered, widowed, amputated, military-advisored place no more than a filthy, fly-swarmed lunch counter of Death in the diocese of the Devil…Ah, Christ, have a little pity on El Salvador…”

Lucius S wrote another two essays, both just as sharp and untrammelled, with a hint of brimstone too. I don’t think they’re available online, but the 3 editions of Journal Wired can still be found on Amazon and Ebay – I recommend that you do.

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