As you may notice, we have a new design for the ebr newsletter! I’d like to extend special thanks to our Managing Editor Will Luers for all the hard work that he put into developing this new template, which will offer our readers a more concise and visually organized update of our monthly issues. (If you are subscribed and have not received the June newsletter, it may have been blocked due to our recent changes. Please subscribe again with your preferred email.)
Editors at ebr are currently developing a new biannual theme-based journal based on the born-digital essay. Please contact Will Luers if you would like to submit a multimodal, computational and/or interactive essay for the first issue of THE DIGITAL REVIEW, which will have the theme “digital essayism.”
This month, we publish David (Jhave) Johnston’s lucid review of Johanna Drucker’s novel DownDrift (2018), a work of eco-fiction spurred on by growing concerns about the future of species not human.
Tackling the outcomes of the Anthropocene, DownDrift does not question what happens to us, but instead, what happens to the earth and its inhabitants after us. To mediate this climate (of) change, Jhave describes his own attitude towards ecological ethics as an ambition that is perhaps beyond our reach: “Predation precludes ubiquitous harmony. We need a mutation.”
As Jhave notes that DownDrift’s various animal characters possess satirical anthropomorphic qualities in their navigation of changes to the world, I might describe DownDrift as an eco-critical version of Animal Farm for our times; however, the contemporary need for non-human perspectives persists, as the characters (cats, lions, ancient organisms, and so forth) do “human-exclusive things in non-human-exclusive ways.” Whether describing the ethics of hunting to eat, the continuation of vanity through constructed norms, or the experience of mortal fear, it seems that the way to write about the end of the world is to describe how what remains after the human will move on and adapt. How is that for mutation?
ebr is in the process of updating the site’s author pages. If you have written an essay or review for the journal and would like for us to update your bio, please send the revised copy (including links) to Will Luers (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Associate Editor and Director of Communications, ebr