LARB: “Star Trek: Discovery” and the Dream of Future Fuels

By Karen Pinkus
Los Angeles Review of Books

Fuel (Karen Pinkus)I wonder: Could the writers of Discovery have read anthropologist Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the WorldOn the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins(Princeton University Press, 2015)? In the face of massive climate upheaval and other disasters, Tsing embraces the potentially redemptive qualities of fungi, as they continually adapt. Fungi are complex life forms that metabolize plants and coexist in different kinds of ecosystems, performing what she calls symbiopoiesis. They are, like the sparking special effects on the ship, beautiful. Like the World Wide Web, fungi offer infinite possibilities of recombination and new relations in the future. Stamets tells his lover he experienced a whole universe of possibilities when he was hooked up to the drive. Spores flying around the atmosphere (maybe even in outer space?) could configure forms of cosmopolitanism, the happy side of invasive species.

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