1493 – PLUTONICS: A Journal of Non-Standard Theory (2020)

Plutonics: A Journal of Non-Standard Theory is an open-access, sporadically published journal of contemporary theory. Coming from the geological term “plutonic” (which is, in turn, derived from the Roman God of the underworld, Pluto), meaning igneous rocks formed from deep geologic trauma and left to cool for thousands of years, often with traces of rare and weird metals, Plutonics aims to publish cutting edge theory that has no place within the ‘academy.’ With no real guiding thread but the Weird, we accept submissions from all disciplines (see more information) and actively encourage mixtures of philosophy, ‘hard’ science, poetry, visual arts, and other less-than standard forms of thought.

Vol XIII Contents
Vol XIII Contents

While there have been 12 published volumes of Plutonics, they have, sadly, been lost since The Event and although we are working on reconstructing them, this most recent run was started at the numeracilogically significant 13th volume. If you have any details regarding the existence of previous volumes, please contact us immediately.

Our review board is made up of geo-physicalists, philosophers, anorganic semoticians, structural bi0logists, and authors of the Weird and strange. When necessary, we commune with the ghosts of thinkers past to ask for guidance.

Following the general theme, or rather lack thereof, the journal accepts all types of submissions ranging from hard-nosed philosophic ramblings, to poetic musings on what it’s like to live without a spine. For those wanting concrete suggestions of what to submit, here is what one former editor suggested:

  • ‘Serious’ engagement with the CCRU
  • Deleuzian Beat Poetry
  • Dolorous meditations on the anthropocene
  • First-person accounts of philosophical epiphanies
  • Self-help/Esoteric works
  • Visual depictions of your communion with the Outside
  • Meldings of Deleuze and Guattari with contemporary astro-physics
  • Revivals of ‘disproven’ scientific theories
  • Esoteric Posadism
  • Etc.

From their submission page:

We welcome any and all submissions ranging from ‘rigorous’ theoretical thinking to erotic short stories to video games to artwork to anything else. 

General Guidelines:

  • Written works should be somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 words, but this is a malleable rule.
  • To aid in editing, we prefer that citations be formatted in Chicago Notes style (with an optional bibliography if notes do not contain complete information).
  • Ideal file formats are .doc(x), .png., .jpg, but if you have alternative ideas, we can integrate those.
  • Please include a 1-100 word biography (can include social media links, blogs, etc.).

1492 – Always Coming Home: A sonic journey from Kesh (2020)

Some of the Places and Peoples Known to the Kesh, 1985 © Ursula K. Le Guin. Courtesy of Curtis Brown, Ltd

I finally realized that if I was ever going to find any words in which I could tell stories about my world, if I was ever going to approach the center of the world in my writing, I was going to have to take lessons from the people who lived there, who had always lived there, the people who were the land—the old ones, the first ones, trees, rocks, animals, human people. I was going to have to be very quiet, and learn to listen to them. (Le Guin, 1988/2019: 751)

Music and poetry of the Kesh by Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton was released on bandcamp in 2018

Music and Poetry of the Kesh is the documentation of an invented Pacific Coast peoples from a far distant time, and the soundtrack of famed science fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Always Coming Home. In the novel, the story of Stone Telling, a young woman of the Ksh, is woven within a larger anthropological folklore and fantasy. (from bandcamp)

The ways of the Kesh were originally presented in 1985 as a five hundred plus page book accompanied with illustrations of instruments and tools, maps, a glossary of terms, recipes, poems, an alphabet (Le Guin’s conlang, so she could write non-English lyrics), and with early editions, a cassette of “field recordings” and indigenous song. Le Guin wanted to hear the people she’d imagined; she embarked on an elaborate process with her friend Todd Barton to invoke their spirit and tradition.

Always coming home is a musical feature by NTS radio with words words by Andrea Zarza Canova, various field recordings and a tracklist based on the above and the book by Ursula K LeGuin Always coming home. Original is here

Upon reading Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin, one feels as though entering an anthropological museum filled with artefacts from a past civilization; we can discover maps charting where the Kesh lived, drawings and descriptions of the plants, trees and rivers that surrounded them; collections of recipes and descriptions of how they dressed; detailed notes explaining their society, kinship, sexuality, medicine and funerary rites; folk tales, plays, poems, stories and descriptions of rites and rituals, with detailed descriptions of what their instruments looked and sounded like.

Pandora is the archaeologist, historian and anthropologist who describes the Kesh in this ethnographic account of a non-existent civilization. For both us readers and Pandora, also referred to as the Editor, the Kesh exist in the future, in a post-apocalyptic California. A note at the beginning of the book makes us aware of this with a complex use of verbal tenses—“The people in this book might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California”. This note is one of the few occasions where we hear Le Guin’s voice, for Always Coming Home is instead a patchwork of Kesh voices that come to life through poems, songs, storytelling, oral histories and a novel, collected or recounted by the narrator Pandora. (fragment from text by Andrea Zarza Canova)