Twisted Times (Part 1)

An expedition into (and through) time-travel begins at Urban Future.

Comments welcomed here.

February 17, 2013admin 16 Comments »
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16 Responses to this entry

  • richeyrw Says:

    I’m interested in seeing where you go with the time travel series, and I appreciate the link at the end with the overview of all possible time-traveling plots (I’ve book-marked it to read later). So it wasn’t clear from the article (nor was it meant to be, I imagine, since it wasn’t a review) would you recommend watching Looper? I missed it while it was in theaters. I read Sailer’s review and he didn’t come out very definitively either, his biggest argument being, pegging it as a comic book story rather than a science fiction one.


    Posted on February 17th, 2013 at 2:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • hallisfrumpton Says:

    your apparent disdain for narrative coherence is matched only by the cinematic avant-gardes of the 60s and 70s and it warms my cockles I must say


    Posted on February 17th, 2013 at 3:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Recommend that you see Looper? — Sure. Its schlocky and ridiculous, but there’s plenty of interesting stuff there. The future Shanghai scenes (Pudong) are fantastic. Best Shanghai SF movie to date.


    Posted on February 17th, 2013 at 4:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    OK, but this isn’t just talking cinematic narrative incoherence, it’s historical narrative incoherence. Solid stuff comes first though (thermodynamics and cybernetics) — I’ll bend into a pretzel to try and keep it lively.
    Delighted to hear that your cockles are cooking 🙂


    Posted on February 17th, 2013 at 4:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Thales Says:

    As Sailer notes, Looper isn’t sci-fi, it’s comic book — identity-driven. Risible tech like The Matrix, but when viewed in relationship to the culture that produced it, revealing.


    Posted on February 18th, 2013 at 5:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • vimothy Says:

    Excellent! The comments section already feels like a massive improvement over Urban Future.


    Posted on February 18th, 2013 at 8:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    I kinda sorta agree with that, except that time-travel scenarios impose their own logic on narrative structures, even when ‘risibly’ executed. For instance, the duplication of people through time-travel, which is the real core of the Looper plot, reveals something important about the implications of a certain twisted-time model. Hardly new of course (again, Primer does it better, if — or rather, because — less dramatically), but once time-travel is involved, novelty can be hard to find.

    Oh yes, oh yes …


    Posted on February 18th, 2013 at 10:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • northanger Says:



    Posted on February 19th, 2013 at 2:18 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    I’ll treat that as a nudge to get VL back into operation … (this afternoon?)


    Posted on February 19th, 2013 at 4:31 am Reply | Quote
  • northanger Says:

    Don’t worry. I shan’t mention any connection between a wrinkle in time, pacta dæmoniorum and skillful means here. No, not me.


    Posted on February 19th, 2013 at 4:41 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Just as long as massive, multi-comment, qabbalistic explorations unfold in all their magnificent immensity over at the other place, we’re cool … 🙂

    [PS VL really stinks as a platform, now that I’ve been spoiled by this … linkage all but impossible, no italics … it’s horrible … might have to move]


    Posted on February 19th, 2013 at 5:15 am Reply | Quote
  • northanger Says:

    Without the Power of the Italic it’s impossible to discern the deeper connection between Horselover Fat, the amphidemons and 273d-e. So I’ll leave you to it.


    Posted on February 19th, 2013 at 5:40 am Reply | Quote
  • Worm Says:

    Beckett’s Molloy is cross-examined by a policeman.

    “Your name is Molloy, said the sargeant. Yes, I said, now I remember.

    And your Mother? said the sargeant. I didn’t follow.

    Is your Mother’s name Molloy, too? said the sargeant

    I thought it over. Your Mother, said the sargeant, is your mother’s –Let me think! I cried

    At least I imagine that’s how it was. Take your time, said the sargeant.

    Was Mother’s name Molloy? Very likely. Her name must be Molloy, too, I said.

    They took me away, to the guardroom I suppose, and there I was told to sit down.

    I must have tried to explain.”

    Beckett, Molloy, p. 29


    Posted on November 20th, 2016 at 1:28 am Reply | Quote
  • Melanie L'Heuremaudit Says:

    “I think: there at the point where thought joins with me I am able to subtract myself from being, without diminishing, without changing, by means of a metamorphosis which saves me from myself, beyond any point of reference from which I might be seized. It is the property of my thought, not to assure me of existence (as all things do, as a stone does), but to assure me of being in nothingness itself, and to invite me not to be, in order to make me feel my marvelous absence.

    I think, said Thomas, and this visible, inexpressible, nonexistent Thomas I became meant that henceforth I was never there where I was, and there was not even anything mysterious about it. My existence became entirely that of an absent person who, in every act I performed, produced the same act and did not perform it.”

    Maurice Blanchot “Thomas l’Obscur”


    Posted on November 28th, 2016 at 1:25 am Reply | Quote
  • Melanie L'Heuremaudit Says:

    “What is happening now is the end of the history of the great inception of Occidental humanity, in which inception humanity was called to the guardianship of be-ing, only to transform this calling right away into the pretension to re-present beings in their machinational unessence…
    In the historyless, that which belongs together only within it also comes most readily into the unity of complete mixture; apparent construction and renovation, and complete destruction—both are the same—the groundless—what has succumbed to mere beings and is alienated from be-ing.

    As soon as the historyless has ‘set in,’ ‘historicism’ begins to run rampant; the groundless, in the most diverse and contradictory forms, falls—without recognizing itself as having the same unessence—into the most extreme enmity and craving for


    And maybe in this ‘struggle’— which struggles over goallessness itself and which hence can be only the caricature of “struggle”—the greater groundlessness will ‘triumph,’ which is bound to nothing and makes everything serviceable to itself (Jewry).

    But the authentic triumph, the triumph of history over the historyless, is won only where the groundless excludes itself because it does not venture be-ing, but instead always merely calculates with beings, and posits its calculations as what is real.”

    Heidegger GA 95: 96-97 (Überlegungen VIII, 4) (all GA 95 entries date from 1938-39).


    SVErshov Reply:

    there are many attempts to analitically bolt up Heidegger and others to current world situation. non of what I’ve seen much impressive. Heidegger stance against thechnology quite examplary, because exactly technology in form of System Dynamics and modern cognitive neuro science rendered Heidegger passimism obsolete. why someone may need Heidegger’s pessimism now, when it is possible to be a pessimist in exact mathematical way with SD. Or who need Lakan nowdays, when we have cybernetics and cognitive science which went far beyond of what Lakan can imagine on deep LSD trip.


    Posted on December 12th, 2016 at 2:03 am Reply | Quote

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