Books

Ever since H.G. Wells published his speculative sci-fi telegram The Shape of Things to Come in 1933, numerous artists have adapted his title to suit their own prophecies. Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come demanded that the genre evolve or face irrelevance. Swedish band Refused did the same for underground rock with The Shape of Punk to Come. Ornette and Refused don’t sound particularly alike, but they both purported that music, and art in general, loses all power and urgency once it has become fashionable, marketable, a commodity of mass culture. They were onto something––––after all, this is a world in which Che Guevara t-shirts are sold at shopping malls.