The Marvel Metanarrative: how to tell giant stories

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My new collaboration with

YouTube recently reminded me that it will be five years (on 7th May) since I uploaded my first video and began my journey into making online courses for writers and storytellers. Since then my courses on Udemy and Skillshare have had over 35,000 enrolled students worldwide. That success has also brought new opportunities. This weekContinue reading “My new collaboration with”

I’ve never shouted so loud

The first clue was mud all over the floor. Then I saw the doors of my wardrobe were open. The wardrobe where I keep my camera equipment. The camera equipment which was now gone, gone, gone. I stomped around my house for the next five minutes searching for my obviously stolen camera equipment. Honestly, I’veContinue reading “I’ve never shouted so loud”

Dyson Spheres, Sam Harris and skillful free will

What do Dyson Spheres and the philosophical discussion have to do with one another? In this talk Damien has fun with a response to Sam Harris’ denial of free will, as widely debated on Clubhouse in the week of this recording.

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The hidden meaning of Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is the only sequel to a science fiction masterpiece to be greater than the original. Once you understand the hidden meaning of BR2049 you will never see the movie the same again.

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You may find additional meaning in the video version of this essay:

Terry Pratchett fans will love The Watch…eventually

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Star Wars – addiction or recovery?

My major teaching project for this year has been Advanced Scifi & Fantasy : Writing the 21st Century Myth. This new course is my journey to try and understand what myths are doing in our lives today. I’m happy that almost five thousand students have so far enrolled on the course to join that journey.

A highlight of the course – and of my year – was interviewing John Vervaeke, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Toronto (where he teaches alongside Jordan Peterson) on the meaning of myth. And of Star Wars.

A member of John’s community created a brief edited video from out 90 minute conversation. In just a few minutes, it captures the whole meaning of our discussion.

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The book that inspired the Culture of Iain M Banks

Long time readers will know I am a super-fan of the Culture novels by Iain M Banks. I’ve essayed and videoed them half to death already, and in recent years have read or re-read almost Banksy’s entire output. Great artists steal, goes the saying, and Iain Banks was something of a magpie for cool ideasContinue reading “The book that inspired the Culture of Iain M Banks”

Is geek culture mere escapism?

“The only people who hate escapism are jailers.” The quote is attributed to both C S Lewis and to J R R Tolkien. Whomever said it first, it captures the spirit that both wrote their fantasy stories in. A generation later, the fantasy writer Michael Moorcock revised the quip: “Jailers love escapism — it’s escapeContinue reading “Is geek culture mere escapism?”

We need the spirit of Dangerous Visions (but we don’t need Dangerous Visions)

I loved short form scifi storytelling. Mirrorshades, the anthology that defined cyberpunk, made me want to write SF. In my 20’s I published two dozen short stories. I really enjoyed subbing stories to these mysterious old magazines that – back in the day – often still demanded you send manuscripts in PRINT! In 2008 IContinue reading “We need the spirit of Dangerous Visions (but we don’t need Dangerous Visions)”

Write better sci-fi stories with this simple idea

When high-falutin people talk about sci-fi you’ll often hear them use words like novum and the like. Critic and academic Darko Suvin came up with novum to describe the…thing…at the heart of every sci-fi story that makes it sci-fi. Androids hiding as humans! A world populated by talking apes! A portal that leads to everyContinue reading “Write better sci-fi stories with this simple idea”