Cultural Comets and Other Celestials
Edited by Niklas Salmose & Amanda Silfver
Layout: Daniel Andrén
Publication Date: 5 December, 2022.
This is a book on comets – visually stunning dirty space snowballs of mostly ice and dust that formed during the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Most comets have stable orbits in the outer reaches of the solar system past the planet Neptune, or in the still-more remote Oort Cloud. But if destabilized by gravitational forces, they may move into the inner solar system – with some risk of collision with the Earth, and some justification for the dread, fear, and awe they have inspired in many different cultures and societies around the world and throughout time. The depiction of comets in popular culture is firmly rooted in the long Western tradition of seeing comets as harbingers of doom and as omens of world-altering change. Comets are thus horrifying and exhilarating, at the same time, with a profound impact on earthly societies and cultures.
Comets and other celestials as fictional devices offer, as this collection of essays show, a tremendous opportunity to radically cut up the infectious wounds of our post-industrial society for close inspection and anamnesis. This volume contains fluid examples of how comets, suns, moons, planets all have contributed to creating speculative yet sensitized narratives about some of the most urgent existential, ontological and ecological matters in the modern world.
Essays by Terence Meaden, Randall Stevenson, Eric Sandberg, David Rennie, Amanda Silfver, and Niklas Salmose.