Friday, February 14, 2020

Post Modernism Or New Millennialism Part Two by BJ Neblett

Examining Modernism, Post Modernism And New Millennialism
by BJ Neblett
February, 2020

            Sometime back, before the world went crazy – my world that is, although the rest of the world is… well, that’s a topic for another dozen blogs – I started a blog about a term I coined to help define what I see as a trend in writing away from traditional, Modernism and Post-Modernism: New Millennialism. (See this blog, February 16, 2019) Simply put New Millennialism is, “Thrusting cutting edge technology, concepts and ideas into the very core of classic human situations." You may quote me on that! Ok, so what exactly does that carefully crafted jumble of words mean? Good question. To understand, let’s look at previous literature groupings. Class is now in session.


            Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Alright, enough Wikipedia babble. People in the late 1800’s started to tinker, asking, “Can this be done easier, better.” This led to inventions. The discovery of large deposits of oil led to more advanced inventions. These inventions led to factories. Factories helped propel the large shift in the populace from rural to urban areas to work in these factories. And all of this led to what we now call the industrial revolution: inventions begat more employment which begat more products and higher salaries, and the whole thing begat more leisure time for us to stop and breathe and think. Ironically, something Victorian peoples had plenty of time to do, but seem not very adept at doing.
Now we all know what thinking leads to… people, Americans and Europeans in particular, began a conscious desire and effort to overturn tradition. In short, the birth of Idealism in literature: Modernism. The horrors of World War One contributed to a world-wide reassessment of the ideas, ideals and morals of society: ie, people were fed up and wanted something new. Idealism, remained popular, accompanied by more cynical thoughts and beliefs, soon manifesting themselves in works of art, music, architecture, philosophy and more. We will concentrate on literature.
            Some outstanding proponents of what would become known as the Modernism Movement in literature include: Virginia Woolf; James Joyce; Gertrude Stein, and poet T. S. Eliot. They presented works in a less illusionary and more realistic vein. What is, what could be and what should be became catch phrases for writers desirous of shedding the oppressive restraints of the Victorian Era. A ‘Let’s be happy and gay,’ mindset carried the world populace through the roaring ‘20’s. Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby examined what we think we are and desire to be, passing the torch to authors like John Steinbeck and William Faulkner and William Carlos Williams who examined who we really are and strive to be, through the depression racked 1930’s and the war torn 1940’s.
While traditional wisdom states that Modernism began fading post 1940, many modernists continued to publish beyond, and indeed, into the 1950’s. These include Faulkner, Wallace Stevens, Hermann Broch, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Samuel Beckett. Most have been described as ‘later modernist’.
            Rather than bore you with further hotly debated theories on who is and who isn’t, and what is and what isn’t, let’s just look at some outstanding examples of Modernist Literature.
            Joseph Conrad                         Heart Of Darkness                    (1899/1902)
            T. S. Eliot                                The Waste Land                                  (1933)
            James Joyce                            Ulysses                                                (1922)
            Virginia Woolf                        To The Lighthouse                              (1927)
            William Faulkner                    As I Lay Dying                                    (1930)
            Djuna Barnes                          Nightwood                                           (1936)
            Ralph Ellison                           Invisible Man                                      (1952)
            Samuel Beckett                       Waiting For Godot                             (1953)

            Any of the writers and their works mentioned here will give you a more insightful look into Modernism in literature than my simple prose can offer. Enjoy. Next time we’ll tackle Post Modernism on our way to figuring out what the heck is New Millennialism. Hint: it’s more prevalent in today’s literary sci-fi/fantasy fiction than you might think!

BJ Neblett

(See this blog, February 16, 2019)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Jet City Comic Show! by BJ Neblett

Hello again. Just a quick reminder that this weekend I will be attending the Jet City Comic Show! This is the 10th annual show, held at the Tacoma, Washington Convention Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, Washington. Stop by my booth where I'll be selling and signing personal copies of my latest novel Planet Alt-Sete-Nine, along with copies of my other books. Convention hours are Saturday, October 26, from 10 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday, October 27, from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Jet City Comic Show is one of the area's premier family friendly comic/sci-fi/fantasy conventions, drawing thousands of fans from all over the Pacific Northwest. For more information click over to their web site here:
Hope to see you there!
And while we are at it... mark down November 8 - 10 for OryCon 41, to be held at the Red Lion Hotel On The River in Portland!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Post Modernism Or New Millennialism Part One by BJ Neblett

Post Modernism Or New Millennialism Part One by BJ Neblett
            Ok, so millennials are taking the heat for a lot of things these days, from living with their parents, to not driving, to the demise of tuna fish. Grant it, this younger generation does seem to have its own set of rules, interests, preferences, and priorities. When it comes to things like Ubers, home meal deliveries, on line shopping and most new things techie, we do owe a debt of gratitude to those born between 1981 and 1997. But then again, can’t the same be said of all generations?

            I vividly remember my own younger years, being judgmentally scrutinized by my seniors for the often-questionable things my generation brought into the world. I’m a baby boomer, so I’ll let you fill in the blanks, both positive and negative. But I am also a writer of some notoriety and teach classes on writing. As such some of the changes I’ve noticed wrought by these millennials are of a literary nature. Note: not necessarily a bad thing.

            Specifically, I have noticed a shift in writing style, perspective, theme and technique among literary millennials as well as the previous generation, often referred to as Gen-Xers. I feel this movement away from the more traditional Modernism and Post-Modernism disciplines has become large and strong enough to warrant its own literary classification. Therefore, I proffer: New Millennialism. Spoiler alert, or perhaps jibber jabber warning: The following is about to get very esoteric. Non-nerdy types be forewarned.

Intrigued? Check back here in a few days or so for Part Two!

PS: Feel free to use the term New Millinnealism with, of course the proper citations, namely... me!