Six Concepts for the End of the World

Steve Beard

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Steve Beard's Six Concepts for the End of the World mixes scientific research with experimental fiction to produce a manual for the apocalypse. The author examines six disciplines—technology, sociology, geography, psychology, theology and narratology—and for each one creates a fictional scenario that both reflects and energizes the research, all under the guiding light of the philosopher Paul Virilio's theories. This approach allows Beard to create one surprising idea after another: Hollywood viewed as a research and development lab for the end times, a first-person account of a UFO abduction, a blog on the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight 370, a voice-over for an imaginary film by a doomsday cult member.

Highly original in both form and content, the book surprises and delights in its scope. The approach is multidisciplinary and multidirectional, and Beard's exploration ranges over many areas and themes, always bringing distinctive insights to bear. Six Concepts for the End of the World is an expertly guided tour through the author's imagination, and toward the end of the world.

To say that Beard is number one in a field of one is ridiculous: he digs the soil and plants the field anew as you read the book, word by word, idea by idea. His merging of fact and fiction teases new understandings from the most basic of human fears: how will this story come to an end? But in his hands the final days are seen not as a vision of despair, but as the last and greatest adventure of the imagination.

Jeff Noon, author of A Man of Shadows, The Body Library, and Vurt 

Paul Virilio once wittily claimed that the apocalypse was a ‘concept without a future.’ Steve Beard’s Six Concepts for the End of the World just as wittily undermines this assertion by using Virilio against himself to generate multiple apocalyptic scenarios. The result is a sharp tragicomic work of absurdity and insight – indeed of absurdity hiding in plain sight

Ryan Bishop, Professor of Global Arts and Politics, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton

Steve Beard

Steve Beard is the author of various speculative novels and experimental fictions, including Meat Puppet Cabaret. He has been called “an uncannily accurate interpreter of Paul Virilio.”

Unidentified Fictional Objects Series 

Unidentified Fictional Objects appear in the spaces in between established genres and disciplines including fact and fiction, theory and practice, past and future, science and sociology, art and academia.

We believe that stories can be both provocative and engaging, especially when they use new methodologies and modes of communication to challenge current distributions of power and knowledge.

We seek objects that may (or may not) resemble science fiction, critical utopias, creative dystopias, speculative writing, weird fiction, weird non-fiction.

We publish things (print, digital, plus) of varying lengths and call out to writers and readers who no longer wish to be constrained by categories.

UFOs speculate, reinvent, weird and undo economies, societies, environments, identities and sexualities. They appeal to students and their teachers, friends, and relations (human and otherwise).

Other titles in the series include I Hate the Lake District by Charlie Gere