Strange Weather: Culture, Science, and Technology in the Age of Limits

Andrew Ross, Author Verso $65 (275p) ISBN 978-0-86091-354-2

Ross ( No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture ) delves into the ways in which technocratic elites (military, corporate, scientific) have set the agenda for public opinion and examines the challenges to those elites posed by popular and alternative cultures. He explores groups--such as New Agers and cyberpunk SF purveyors and fans--who have marginalized themselves by choice and by their potential resistance to a techno-fascist future. In elegant prose and carefully worked out thought, Ross shows these groups to be communities of shared interests that encourage participation by all, the mechanisms of ``a more radically democratic future.'' He is not blind, however, to the their limitations, expressing forcefully his objections to the sour dystopias of the cyberpunks and the failure of much eco-futurology to recognize the complexity of the human presence on earth, eliding differences of race, class and gender. The book's other theme, perhaps its most important one, is that science and technology, like economics and politics, are the products of social formations. (Nov.)