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Received Goods 8dec09

Oops, bit late with this, so I’m backdating it to before midnight, haha. Fuck the future.


I came across this book a few months back, and was reminded of it yesterday. CYCLONOPEDIA: Complicity with Anonymous Materials, by Reza Negarestani. So I did a little look, and found the website. And, if the author will forgive me, here’s the entire, mental description of the book:

The Middle East is a sentient entity – it is alive!’ concludes renegade Iranian archeologist Dr. Hamid Parsani, before disappearing under mysterious circumstances. The disordered notes he leaves behind testify to an increasingly deranged preoccupation with oil as the ’lubricant’ of historical and political narratives.

An American woman arrives in Istanbul to meet a pseudonymous online acquaintance who never arrives. Discovering a strange manuscript in her hotel room, she follows up its cryptic clues only to discover more plot-holes, and begins to wonder whether her friend was a fictional quantity all along. Meanwhile, as the War on Terror escalates, the US is dragged into an asymmetrical engagement with occultures whose principles are ancient, obscure, and saturated in oil. It is as if war itself is feeding upon the warmachines, leveling cities into the desert, seducing the aggressors into the dark heart of oil …

At once a horror fiction, a work of speculative theology, an atlas of demonology, a political samizdat and a philosophic grimoire, Cyclonopedia is work of theory-fiction on the Middle East, where horror is restlessly heaped upon horror. Reza Negarestani bridges the appalling vistas of contemporary world politics and the War on Terror with the archeologies of the Middle East and the natural history of the Earth itself. Cyclonopedia is a middle-eastern Odyssey, populated by archeologists, jihadis, oil smugglers, Delta Force officers, heresiarchs, corpses of ancient gods and other puppets. The journey to the Underworld begins with petroleum basins and the rotting Sun, continuing along the tentacled pipelines of oil, and at last unfolding in the desert, where monotheism meets the Earth’s tarry dreams of insurrection against the Sun.

After reading that, I decided that I needed a copy — I mean, christ, wouldn’t you? — and it arrived today. I intend to get into this over Xmas, with a bottle of wine and Xela playing through noise-cancelling earbuds while my family spend a day trying to kill each other over possession of the tv remote.

Published in received goods


  1. Ales Kot Ales Kot

    This book’s been waiting for me on my work desk for the past three months. One day, I will conquer it.

  2. This book sounds like utter madness. I don’t think I’ve read a description of a book that sounded that purposely strange since Pataphysics: the Poetics of an Imaginary Science by Christian Bok. Not that these books sound at all alike.

  3. I read this during my first few months here in China. I haven’t read a book that’s been this much of a mindfuck in ages.

  4. Tim Tim

    Thanks for the heads up! I just saw this book listed in Artforum best of 2009.

  5. Jim Moore Jim Moore

    That’s completely mad, and it’s now on my wish list

  6. linguistjake linguistjake

    Your time-traveling post crushed a tiny butterfly in the past and now we’re all fucked. When oil demons eat us all unopposed because the hurricane that was supposed to protect the chosen defender of humanity doesn’t occur due to lack of hurricane-causing butterflies, we all know who to blame. Stop tampering with the timeline, I’m getting sick of living in Hitler-dominated worlds just because you have arbitrary deadlines to meet. Asshole.

  7. This book sounds like utter madness.

  8. *shakes fist at Ellis* Dammit! That is the weirdest description I’ve ever read. My backlog is already longer than the remainder of my life. (Which is why we all need Cane’s Law: You don’t get to die until you’ve read everything you want to read!)

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