“Solidarity Without Similarity”: ‘Egress’ on Review 31

Niall Gallen has reviewed Egress over on Review 31. It’s a genuine thrill to read someone write about your work who really gets what you’re trying to do. Huge thanks to Niall for taking the time and writing something so thorough.

Check it out here and read a passage below that — following a few weeks of quite grumpy onlineness — made me punch the air like the grump at the end of The Breakfast Club.

One way of considering Egress is as outsider literature. Colquhoun is following Fisher’s example here, taking inspiration from his K-Punk blog, much of which forms the posthumous collection K-Punk (2018, Repeater Books). Much like Fisher before him, Colquhoun blogs prolifically, using the pseudonym Xenogothic. Egress feels like a continuation of this project, while also having the coherence demanded by a book-length work of secondary criticism, that is, if you’ve already bought into Fisher’s viewpoint. Egress isn’t an explicit criticism of Fisher’s ideas. Rather, it is an exploration of his theoretical concepts and a continuation of their application: an attempt to move beyond the seeming inevitability of a future under capitalism. This is where the word ‘egress’ takes significance beyond the book’s title.

First used by Fisher in his final book, The Weird and the Eerie (2016), to describe ‘latent acts of exit that were central to the weird fictions he wrote about,’ egress becomes both a method for Colquhoun to overcome a personal and depressive grief, and an attempt to continue Fisher’s pursuit of a radical anti-capitalist collectivity. It is only natural then for Egress to be as politico-philosophical as it is personal and psychological: the latter, usually tied to the individual, folds into the impersonality and collectivity of the former (and vice versa), each a latent outside contained in the inside of the other. Colquhoun’s aim is to make this latent outsideness manifest, to simultaneously disrupt the apparent coherence of both the ‘individual capitalist subject’ and the political collectivity that knowingly or unknowingly supports it.

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