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Downdrift: A Novel (Paperback)
  • Downdrift: A Novel (Paperback)
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Downdrift: A Novel (Paperback)

(author)
£11.99
Paperback 256 Pages / Published: 26/04/2018
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Narrated by an Archaeon, a 3.8 billion year old species, the oldest on earth, Downdrift is a work of speculative eco-fiction that describes the impact of ecological pressures on animals that are adopting human behaviors, with droll and sometimes alarming, results. The book follows a year of changes and the travels of a housecat and a lion who are inexplicably driven towards a rendezvous. At first, a few isolated harbingers of change appear, but they quickly escalate. Squirrels take up manic knitting, wild hares steal earth-moving equipment, rats go in for disco music and form-fitting metallic leisure-ware. Data-sorting abilities appear among urban populations of birds, and frenzied domestic pets seek celebrity careers. Droll, melancholic, and poetic, the tale is crammed with witty vignettes and poignant reflections on the ways the pressures on the once-natural world are accelerating mutations in behaviors among the animals. Genetic material alters. The differences between animals blur. Odd mutant forms appear-goat-chicks and dog-flies, fish-birds and flying lizards-as if some mad rush is propelling genetic code to propagate across every form of flesh and living matter. As large-scale infrastructure projects make their appearance, each of the animals takes the role appropriate to its disposition-or not. Melancholic rather than apocalyptic, the book is a celebration of species as well as a mourning of the damage done in our time. Throughout, the emergent voice and character of the Archaeon extremophile records events as well as a slow coming to consciousness about its own identity as a hyper-organism.

Publisher: Three Rooms Press
ISBN: 9781941110614
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Occasionally books arise that explore unique and provocative universal potentialities, books that are provoked by scientific research and grow into speculative knowledge. Johanna Drucker's DownDrift is such a book. . . . Downdrift insightfully and rigorously explores questions of consciousness, processes of biological evolution, and the transformative impact of shifts in communication on society. Sound familiar? Downdrift is about our time, now, as human beings, navigating extreme turbulence and destabilized subjectivity: surveillance capitalism, populism, memes. . . . DownDrift is reminiscent of the best parts of Burroughs, Lispector, Pynchon, DeLillo, Patchen. And one hears residues of the poets: Charles Bernstein (for humor), Lorie Graham (on elegies), Lisa Robertson (in The Weather). The quantum world is strange. The human pinnacle of dominance, precarious. DownDrift's plot tension is lite. Its intellectual recruitment, high. Insight, agility, style, and humor far above average." -Electronic Book Review

"Rides the wave of the New Weird, combining elements of fantasy, horror, speculative, psychological, absurdist, and literary fiction. ... A work of tremendous ambition, strangeness, and most import, compassion." -Library Journal, starred review

"Tales of the many different animals are delivered in deliciously short chapters that build over the course of one year into a story that's by turns droll, subversive, pensive, brooding, off-the-charts weird, and wonderfully surprising. . . . Animal lovers will enjoy the antics of the beagles, bears, salamanders, cows, spiders, and other creatures, but the author's beautifully subtle message isn't just for pet owners or environmentalists. It's for all of us." -Kirkus Reviews

"Laughing or crying, Drucker skewers the current cultural moment in an novel extrapolation of epic proportions. Taken to the furthest extreme, Downdrift is dogged by an urgent need to understand the difference between the domestic and the wild, measure it, and recalibrate its implications for survival." -Foreword Reviews (starred review)

"A bold narrative . . . stunningly effective." Tulsa Book Review

"In actual labs, we've already been able to engineer goats that manufacture spider silk, and tomatoes that are part fish. In Johanna Drucker's brilliant meditation on the dissolution of species, cats process coffee beans in their guts, hyenas recycle foil and we are left to ponder what is lost when the wild grows out of place among the domestic and the domestic grows strange to itself. Just as profoundly, DOWNDRIFT invites us to take the long view of a humanless future." -Steve Tomasula, author, VAS: An Opera in Flatland

"A genealogical critique of morals-a migratory picture of that sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, working out of the West's metaphysics of justice on a planetary scale." -Ron Day, Professor, Indiana University at Bloomington

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