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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jason S. Walters Virtual Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway

Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Jason S. Walters' Virtual Tour hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media.

About Jason:

Jason S. Walters is an author, essayist, and publisher best known for running Indie Press Revolution (IPR), a distributor of micro-published roleplaying games. He is also one of a small group of investors that purchased Hero Games in 2001, and serves as its general manager. After owning a San Francisco bike messenger service for 15 years, he and his wife Tina moved to Midian Ranch: a homestead near the town of Gerlach, Nevada. It is also the location of IPR’s warehousing complex. They have a daughter with Down syndrome named Cassidy and animals too numerous to mention.

Blog | Facebook

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Jason!

Jason has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to him!

In Defense of Microculturation
by Jason S. Walters

Like any science fiction novel worth the name, my book Nakba is about all sorts of discombobulated and interesting things: over-urbanization, totalitarianism, personal liberty, Down syndrome, diaspora, and social decadence, to name but a few. But at its heart Nakba is more than anything else a defense of microculturation, and an argument for its necessity as our society moves forward into an uncertain future.

What do I mean by microculturation? It's the process by which people naturally gravitate to those like themselves, spit off from the mainstream of their society, and form their own self-contained “microcultures,” often geographically removing themselves from their original society to do so. This is an extremely natural, organic, and creative social process which seems to be a normal part of the human experience, and there are many examples of it in history. The Protestant Reformation produced all sorts of microculturation throughout Europe, spawning all shapes and kinds of Protestant groups from the respectable and mundane (Lutherines, Anglicans) to bizarre and extreme (Hutterites, Quakers). Many of these groups eventually fled Europe for North America, where they exist in some form until this day. Similarly, the early flowering of Christianity produced numerous interesting and odd sects, such as the Nestorians, Manicheans, Ophites, and Sethian Gnostics. These groups were forcibly suppressed or killed as heretics by the Catholic Church, which then had to struggle mightily to prevent (or subvert) the natural process microculturation in Western Christianity for the next thousand years.

On a * significantly * less religious note, left to its own devices - and without the iron fist of the Soviet Union to prevent “deviationism” - Marxism quickly microculturates, especially under pressure situations such as the Russian and Spanish Civil Wars, or World War Two. Trotskyism, Hoxhaism, Bowderism, and Bakuninism are but a few examples. Also, the natural and organic spread of populations over a geographic area, such as the early aboriginal settlers of North America or the Bantu peoples settling sub-Saharan Africa, can also lead to microculturation, producing hundreds of distinct languages and cultures over time.

In fact, the only group that suffers under microculturation is the dominant culture, which looses manpower, influence, and - perhaps most importantly - control as more and different groups with opposing cultural assumptions splinter off from it. Even if microcultural groups are uninterested or disinclined by their beliefs to found rival governments or nation states, the large culture is invariably hostile to the creations of new “centers of power,” even if these centers are cultural rather than backed by force. Anything outside of its sphere of influence is, by definition, at the very least suspect, and more often viewed as treasonous, perverse, heretical, or some combination of the three.

This is why as the 21st Century moves forward, microculturation remains extremely controversial: because it represents a loss of control by a dominant, urban culture that is an increasingly worldwide phenomenon. In fact, microculturation may in the end be the one obstacle to forming a more-or-less unified world society, constantly challenging the concept that in the end we are all “one world” and “one people” (as the highly microculturated Rastafarians are fond of saying). Or at the very least that we all want generally the same things out of life, are willing to basically obey and cooperate with the similar power structures to get them, and are at least willing to pay lip service to the dominant international culture of this period.

Which is part of why I wrote Nakba, and why it's called the first book of the “Civilizing War.” Not only because there will be more books, but because I want people to get in the way of the sort of civilization that believes its mission is to be one of universally civilizing. The worldwide culture of the book, known as the Posthegemony, is a cartoonish exaggeration of our emerging worldwide society: rootless, shallow, urbane, controlled, self-congratulatory, unreflective, comfortable, self-indulgent, and above all terribly, terribly dull. It's opponents, both hidden on the Earth and scattered around the solar system in small communities, are known as Interesting People or Children of the Nakba (or “tragedy” in Arabic). To this point in the story they include renegade sex androids, people with Down syndrome, Berbers, Marxist-feminist clone sisters, and Martian Masai tribesmen – none of whom have much in common with one another, but none of which wish to be “civilized” by the Posthegemony.

In the next book you will meet many more – all odd and offbeat, all opposed to being civilized by the Posthegemony.

In the end, the one great barrier to oppression is to simply and publicly say “no,” refuse to obey, and accept the consequences, no matter how severe. This is what the characters in my book do, and this is what we must do ourselves if we wish to avoid their fate as the early, bright days of the 21st Century invariably grind down into its old age and darkness - as they did in the last Century. We must not sacrifice our particularism to universalism, we must not agree to live like bees in a hive, and we must be prepared to accept the inevitable consequences of our refusal.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Jason!

About the Books:

A thousand years ago humanity’s dissidents fled, leaving behind a peaceful, unified world content to exist in a state of perpetual hedonism. Then a daring escape plunged civilization into chaos, forcing its rulers to expand outward to maintain order. Now all that stands between a newly imperial Earth and the rest of the solar system is a loose coalition of Maasai tribesmen, cloned feminists, shape-shifting humannequins, and vengeful Berbers led by the least likely hero in human history: a young woman with Down syndrome and a bad attitude.

In the desert life is hard. It can also be surreal. In the absence of congestion and convention, imagination takes you by the hand: or the balls. In this macabre collection of riveting tales, ENnie Award-nominated author Jason S. Walters grabs the reins of storytelling as if it were a wild stallion, leading the reader ever deeper into the physical and spiritual wasteland of the Black Rock Desert.
Tour Participants:

May 1 - Read 2 Review - Guest Post

May 2 - Makayla’s Book Reviews - Interview

May 3 - The Dan O’Brien Project - Promo/Excerpt

May 5 - Crossroads Reviews - Review

May 6 - Beauty in Ruins - Guest Post

May 8 - Reading Away the Days - Contest/Giveaway

May 9 - Ian’s Realm - Guest Post

May 10 - Angela Meadon - Interview

May 12 - A Book Vacation - Guest Post

May 14 - Azure Dwarf - Review

May 15 - Book in the Bag - Interview

May 16 - Word to Dreams - Spotlight and Giveaway

May 17 - The FlipSide fo Julianne Guest Post and Excerpt

May 18 - Mom Cat’s Book Blog - Guest Post

May 20 - Lost Inside the Covers - Review

May 21 - I Read a Book Once - Contest/Giveaaway

May 22 - Rachel Tsoumbakos - Review

May 23 - Darlenes Book Nook - Guest Post

May 26 - Bee’s Knees Reviews - Review

May 28 - Once Upon a Time - Guest Post

May 31 - Library Girl Reads and Reviews - Character Post


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