Cyclonopedia

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I'm only a few pages in, but I couldn't resist having a quick flick through the rest of it and have spotted a number of daft and/or obscure puns like 'Mecca-nomics' and 'Tiamaterialism' - someone's already mentioned 'blobjectivity' - something tells me I'm going to like this book. :)

The diagram of the 'Cross of Akht' on p13 is kind of a visual pun, too, I think - anyone else see it as a sort of cartoon of a big spurt of oil coming out of the ground?
 

mistersloane

heavy heavy monster sound
I think you'll like alot of it Mr Tea, there's heaps of cthulu later on that'll be right up your street, dunno how you'll find the more deleuzian stuff.

I had a weird correspondance with it as well, around the second chapter there's a quote from D&G about Eisenstein's Strike, which I read the day after I'd done a live remix of 'Strike' at some gig. I like it when that happens.
 

Pestario

tell your friends
The first (and only?) Muslim character in X-Men is a woman called Dust who's power is to turn into a dust-like substance and back again.

Just an interesting parallel with the ideas regarding dust in Cyclonopedia.

 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Rich, I'm finding a sort of resonance between oil-as-'Tellurian-Lube' in this book and the mysterious and insidious 'Black Gas' that Manning and Drummond wibble on about in The Wild Highway - of course that's in darkest (in every sense) Africa, not the Middle East, but it has a similar feel to it, I think.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"Rich, I'm finding a sort of resonance between oil-as-'Tellurian-Lube' in this book and the mysterious and insidious 'Black Gas' that Manning and Drummond wibble on about in The Wild Highway - of course that's in darkest (in every sense) Africa, not the Middle East, but it has a similar feel to it, I think."
Annoyingly I actually can't remember that I'm afraid, although the concept itself rings a distant bell I've no idea how it fitted into the rest of book.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I'm 40-odd (and I mean *odd*) pages in, and I have to say it's by a country mile the wankiest thing I've ever read - but then, whoever said wanking isn't fun? :)
I think I'm just going to enjoy the beyond-theoretical prose as something that sounds cool without really meaning anything, a bit like the way Soundgarden lyrics sounded cool when I was 16...it does amuse me, maybe even slightly worry me, to think there are people out there who read (and write!) this kind of stuff with the attitude that it's to be taken in any way seriously - I mean, is this the case? Vimothy, you said you read or used to read Hyperstition, is that really where those guys are at?

Something else that struck me is the incredible extent to which this kind of post-structuralism or critical theory or whatever you call it fetishises the language of mathematics - kinda makes me think "well if you get that much of a hard-on for vectors and vortices, go and study some real maths, then you can write stuff that sounds cool AND means something", heh.

Anyway, it must be affecting me somehow because here I am logged on to dissensus at 2am, posting about it. I hope the book's not going to fall foul of the 'fiction rule of thumb' from xkcd.com, just a couple of days ago:



Something about Cyclonopedia seems to generate coincidence or synchronicity - must be the cthonic flux of Tellurian lube engendering fractal Trison-cells in the dracage zone. :cool:
 
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jenks

thread death
I had a head scratching 30 pages with it last night.

I thought - are they taking the piss - I mean Dean R Koontz?

Then i thought maybe I'm just not bright enough, but mostly i thought surely this arcane level of detail must mean something.

I suppose what it means iis that i am intrigued but also highly sceptical at the same time. Is it a D+G version of the Da Vince code?

My wife asked me waht it is about and I said 'i dunno - i think oil and the middle east but the pages of numerology regarding the cross of ahkt are confusing me', she laughed.
 

Pestario

tell your friends
I finished it the other day but was holding off comment to see what other people would say about it just in case I totally missed the point. But I'm happy to see other people just as baffled as I was . I'm new to the hyperstition thing so I felt waaay out of depth with Cyclonopedia. But after pushing through and just immersing myself in the extreme post-structuralist theory I came to enjoy exploring this theoretical wonderland even I didn't grasp a lot of it. I think it requires some suspension of belief and it's more enjoyable if you at least imagine that all of it is true. I guess that's the fiction side of this work of 'theory-fiction'.

Anyway, at the end of it, Negarestani's twisted view of the middle east was fascinating, to say the least.
 

mistersloane

heavy heavy monster sound
I'm really enjoying this reading-insane-books-together thing. All the comments above have made me nod vigorously and laugh out loud. That mathematics thing is genius.

I've been identifying with it as a book; not how it's written or anything cos that's beyond my capabilites - and I like that about it, I like reading things that I can only take my own meaning from; stuff that doesn't have a deliberate singular voice. The footnotes are psychically brilliant.

I think what's successful about this one is the level of paranoia that comes through while reading it - haven't finished yet. The bunch of tropes they've stuck together - middle east, demonology, interzone - work to dislocate this reader, and I've had some amazing thoughts reading it - don't believe it's written by one person, what a genius thing to do to invent a novel around an internet fictional blogger then write a blog before the novel as advertising, that sort of thing. I think it's successful in the way that I'd say reading D&G or Lacan or whatever is successful, in that the ideas it brings up are more important than the actual text.

You're way on the money there Pest about suspension of disbelief, it's also a really key point, see also jenks and Rich; I don't think it matters what's real, and in that way it accurately sums up that feeling of being alive now, of being online, being really far removed from everything, even one's own life.

But then again people have always said to me that I never got the point of philosophy. Like there's a point to it. Or a cure in therapy.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Wish I had more time to read this actually. I'm getting in ten minute snatches every now and again but that's not the way to do it. Hopefully on Friday and Saturday I've got to do a couple of longish journeys and that should mean that I get the chance for a good solid read.
 

slim jenkins

El Hombre Invisible
Must say this thread has intrigued me and I'm very tempted but having read the comments and the chapter titles I'm seriously doubting my ability to get through/understand this book. I may simply be too thick. :slanted:
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Must say this thread has intrigued me and I'm very tempted but having read the comments and the chapter titles I'm seriously doubting my ability to get through/understand this book. I may simply be too thick. :slanted:
NO! PLEASE don't think that! When you find you don't 'get' something, there are generally two possible explanations:

1) there's something there that you're not getting (but which other people are getting, or could get), or

2) there's nothing inherently there to be got.

I'm pretty certain most of the stuff in this book falls into the latter category. But as I said above, I'm choosing to enjoy it on a sort of logo-aesthetic level, without worrying about trying to 'get' something that's essentially nonsense. After all, as Lovecraft was at pains to point out, it's the 'unknowable' that lies at the root of all true horror, and I think that's what Negarestani's getting at here, even if he does so via pages of mindbogglingly turgid pseudo-mathematics.

I think getting through this book is more a matter of brute determination than having enough 'intelligence' to 'understand' what the fuck he's on about.

On another note, I like the way he's adapted the 'numogram' on page 25 from a petroglyph in Tassili-n-Ajjer, Algeria, which Erich von Däniken identified as one of his 'ancient astronauts' immortalised by a stone-age artist:

 
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slim jenkins

El Hombre Invisible
The concept of an author writing something which appears complex, but in fact has created a meaningless mathematical/theoretical/grammatical puzzle is interesting. Is there 'meaning' in the meaninglessness of it all?

'mindbogglingly turgid pseudo-mathematics'? You're not selling this book to me. :slanted: :D But I'm still curious and will have a look today if I can find it in town. A quick browse should tell me whether I think it's worth my time and effort.

To some extent, I'm all for literature that challenges my puny intellect - if only to make me feel more content to return to a novel involving guns, heroes who smoke and relatively simple detection. ;)
 

sub-rosa

cannibal horses
I guess I was also waiting to see what other people say about the book. I haven't finished it yet. I'm a few pages into the war section.

NO! PLEASE don't think that! When you find you don't 'get' something, there are generally two possible explanations:
I'm not sure if it falls in the second category. I don't claim that I understand everything in Cyclonopedia but there are things which I can get and appreciate. IMO, the book's extreme and baffling quality has more to do with an overabundance of sense and details rather than pure nonsense. This strikes me as a Deleuzean approach to text (Logic of Sense). I agree with mistersloane re the structure, it is extremely rhizomatic and this causes a sort of confusion or vertigo because when you follow one idea it suddenly transforms to another completely different idea and you lose the track or find your thoughts destabilized. Another thing is that the concepts are created with tools other than what the reader expects. For example the concept of 'oil as an omnipresent substance' is developed from some kabalistic revelation I think, instead of politics or chemistry. Also, I'm not sure if the numbo jumbo stuff tries to be mathematics or physics. Numbers have had official status outside of mathematics too. For example, Indian cosmosophy and Arabic theology, two cultures which developed numbers, had different usages for numbers than exclusively mathematical. I tend to see the first chapter's numbo jumbo materials as a kind of borderline Kabbalah which is not even purely numerological because the belief produced by them is quickly erased or transformed to fictional or philosophical ideas which require a suspension of belief as other readers noted. The calculations are simple and remain on the level of basic functions, addition and subtraction. Kabbalists approach to numbers doesn't go beyond basic functions, even division and multiplication are avoided. In a nutshell, I don't think there is a striving for mathematical rigor because in this case, what's important is conceptual rigor like in Deleuze and Gauttari's works.

the level of paranoia that comes through while reading it
I agree with mistersloane again, there is also an immense level of paranoia. Cross of Akht and the number stuff seem to suggest a paranoid concept which ties well into later chapters. For example, in the second chapter about holes and cthulhu, it mentions that the mad archeologist Parsani sees oil in everything. In the first chapter, cross of akht is compared with a sunflower. Does that mean Parsani sees sunflowers as literally and conceptually oily monsters? Imagine a beautiful field of sunflowers and some insane person comes and tells us that they are diagrams of petroleum and clues of something which is buried inside the earth and has something to with the sun and then tries to demonstrate it with numbers. Because people usually believe in numbers and simple calculations. The image of cross of Akht and sunflower also struck me as some sort of love theme which recurs in the book, a flower that grows from the grave of a buried lover, in this case, it's a "buried sun". Oil fountain was another great suggestion.

On another note, I like the way he's adapted the 'numerogram' on page 25 from a petroglyph in Tassili-n-Ajjer, Algeria, which Erich von Däniken identified as one of his 'ancient astronauts' immortalised by a stone-age artist:
LOL! Great discovery Mr. Tea. I had a feeling that the numogram tries to suggest a form of doppelganger between oil and dust (as is discussed in the dust section later in the book) but it looks like it is about ancient astronauts. :-O

I will write more when I start reading again.
 
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vimothy

yurp
IMO, the book's extreme and baffling quality has more to do with an overabundance of sense and details rather than pure nonsense. This strikes me as a Deleuzean approach to text (Logic of Sense). I agree with mistersloane re the structure, it is extremely rhizomatic and this causes a sort of confusion or vertigo because when you follow one idea it suddenly transforms to another completely different idea and you lose the track or find your thoughts destabilized. Another thing is that the concepts are created with tools other than what the reader expects. For example the concept of 'oil as an omnipresent substance' is developed from some kabalistic revelation I think, instead of politics or chemistry. Also, I'm not sure if the numbo jumbo stuff tries to be mathematics or physics. Numbers have had official status outside of mathematics too. For example, Indian cosmosophy and Arabic theology, two cultures which developed numbers, had different usages for numbers than exclusively mathematical.
Yes. Reza writes about magick as much as maths. And it's very Deleuzian.

Hyperstition: [+] [+] [+]

Hyperstition's plane of unbelief... requires neither belief nor disbelief. It's strength is to have the ability to sidestep the issue while not ignoring it.

Hyperstitional practice involves recognizing a fiction's effectiveness, using it and still not believing it.​
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Edwin Starr: "War - HUH! - what is it good for?"
Reza Negarestani: "The perpetual begetting of warmachines for the sole purpose of devouring them as they destroy each other - y'all!"
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
The impression I've got so far is that a lot of the text sounds like it could be mathematics (mostly either topology, full of Cthulhu-esque 'tendrils' and 'wormholes', or dynamical system theory, with implications of catastrophe theory -> Apocalypticism), or it could be physics (especially ideas about entropy, heat death and so on - again, a definite eschatalogoical vibe), or chemistry, psychology, sociology, politics, history, anthropology, archaeology, metaphysics...but what it actually is, is pure occultism masquerading as all these various disparate topics. It's Abdul Alhazred as an insane 21st-century polymath academic, which I suppose must have been the effect Negarestani was going for all along - and it's superbly done, I have to say.

Something else that's struck me about the book is its 'meaningful meaninglessness' (edit: oops, pre-empted there by slim!) in that it's a bit like listening to someone sing a song in a language you have just the barest grasp of - most of it seems to be meaningless, but by the overall tone of the song you can tell it's a song of love, loss, revenge, celebration or whatever, which is backed up by the occasional sentence or phrase you can decipher. Or maybe it's more like someone who speaks English but is rapping incredibly quickly and segues immediately from one track into the next without pausing for breath, heh.
 
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