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Apocalypse Culture Paperback – December 1, 1990
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For years I've been a little leery of this book. First published in 1987, this anthology of doomster essays has become a fixture on the bookshelves of every Tom, Pierced Dick, and Harry. After finally reading it, I have to admit that my prejudice against those who think that being cool means reading lots of ReSearch magazines kept me away from what is actually a fascinating volume, wherein the most absurd, inexcusable positions are defended with calm intelligence and witty rationality. With essays ranging from the sexual liberation of necrophiliacs to strong cases against art and agriculture, editor Adam Parfrey's collection is one that Tristan Tzara would enjoy, if he were to rise from his mouldy grave in search of good bathroom reading.
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The book now reads more as adolescent diatribe than prescient and cogent cassandraing. I'm sure there are readers out there whom will enjoy this work. Mostly, those trapped, psychologically, with the New Left and the Counter-Culture with a post-structural bent. And this will be the perfect book for them.
However, I and the world have moved on.
Interesting but dated.
Still this is a good and dark and disturbing collection of bizarre fringe opinions. Beware this book. It's totally work safe and family friendly, if the workplace is undergoing a post office style job complaint and the family is like that famous "Fifth Beatle" who ruined the song "Helter Skelter".
I was expecting a cornucopia of alternative thought pieces from the '80s. What I got? Welp, it's trash.
I'll be upfront and say I only read 30 pages- I cannot stand to read any more. The book opens with an absolutely jumbled essay on Lycanthropy and the "Wolf-Nature" in man, penned by Parfrey himself. Which might be cool, except Parfrey never really makes a point with it. He does however do the "Conspiracy Writer Thing" where he takes a bunch of lofty topics like Judeo-Christian behavior suppression, the worship of Sirius (the dog star), Aleister Croweley, etc and strings them all together because apparently that is the key to decoding the secrets of this world. The essay concludes with a sweet picture of a dog biting some guy.
The next piece is an interview with a woman who engages in Necrophilia. No gripes here, I was not particularly interested or disinterested.
From there it moves on to the "Infernal Texts" section of the book. This includes a poem by Mel Lyman about turning the Earth into an asteroid belt via nuclear apocalypse, an essay by Louis Wolfson which expresses the immorality of allowing mankind to survive, and a paragraph(!!) by Dan Burros which explains the act of killing as a necessity for mankind's advancement.
It's at this point I reach the opinion that I am not reading a well-edited collection of alternative media, but rather a pile of shock texts. I can see how this might be interesting in the '80s when you couldn't go on the internet and access unlimited content. But today, you could friend 10 random degenerates on Facebook and get this quality of writing in your news feed.
Personally, I enjoy occultism, conspiracies, UFOs, all that fun stuff! But only when it's explored from a critical, scholarly perspective. As the reviewer below me says, this book is basically just full of sick and twisted essays. Apocalypse Culture is juvenile and I don't recommend it.
Editing is a different matter. There are some mistakes and it seems that Parfrey sometimes wishes to drive home the fact that he is no dilettante by generously peppering the entire work with sesquipedalian words (like so).
I know I am happy to have it again.