Just read a pretty cool story name of Bears over at Strange Horizons, the site some are calling the future of speculative fiction. Judging by this story they may just be write. Sometime soon somebody is going to figure out that Heidegger and Stan Lee aren’t mutual exclusive poles of a cultural spectrum. More and more of the smart people in the world can and do read both. When that happens speculative fiction of the kind Strange horizons publishes is probably going to leap forward as the most relevant literature produced in the early 21st Century. Don’t believe me? Well theres no point arguing, lets just wait and see. I’ll be there to shout ‘I told you so’ when it happens.

There is a nice quote in this story by Leah Bobbet that I like a lot:

“It’s a big university, is the problem. And as Heidegger says, we can walk through life as heroes of our own story only by being assholes: objectifying everybody else into non-player characters. Maybe everyone’ll just assume they ducked out of the story. Maybe it’s that easy to disappear.”

So is it true? Can you only be good by continually casting yourself as a supporting character to others protagonists? I don’t know, what I can say is that the best insight into the argument I’ve found so far uses Role Playing Games as a meatphor. Try doing that in an Oxbridge thesis and see how far it gets you.

I once cited the alignment system from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons as the most accurate model of morality ever conceived. It was a cultural studies module. They didn’t throw me out. Quite.

I’m struggling with the first paragraph of Rings. All the rest is done, but I’m stuck there. If anyone has a random first paragraph relating to the title Rings please comment below. I’ll take it under consideration.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

7 thoughts on “Bears

  1. Heh-heh. How nice to arrive where the real action is actually all happening…

    As for Rings… I’m afraid I’m having a brain fart. I can only think of indescribably filthy things that would do no one’s reputation any good at all…


  2. Random first paragraph.

    “It was a ring, there was no doubt about that. Top scientists had studied the satellite images and even flown above it in helicopters. It was just that, standing on the ground and walking around it, you never ended back at the same place.”


  3. I took one look at the dame and knew she was trouble. She had curves that defied physics, a face to write sonnets about. Her voice was as smooth as honey, but her posture shouted ‘attitude’. She flashed me a glance full of promise and danger signals ran through me, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her. “Walk away”, I told myself. “This dame will run rings around you”. But I couldn’t.


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