Game of Thrones was not a fantasy show (and that made some fantasy fans angry)

Damien Walter writes on scifi & fantasy for The Guardian, BBC, Wired, Oxford University Press, IO9, Tor.com and elsewhere. He’s a graduate of the Clarion scifi writers workshop, and teaches the Rhetoric of Story. There’s a kind of fantasy novel that fantasy fans tend to like. It features either a young orphan / bastard boy destinedContinue reading “Game of Thrones was not a fantasy show (and that made some fantasy fans angry)”

Mindfulness will fuck you up

Mindfulness is part of a demanding meditative path that suits only a few people. There are better ways to be happier. I don’t recommend getting an arm cast for a bad tooth, taking ibuprofen for stomach ache, or treating a broken leg with herbal remedies. To each illness, the correct treatment. In today’s age ofContinue reading “Mindfulness will fuck you up”

Five years. 555 runs. Five Lessons.

From zero experience, to three 10k runs a week, then back down to a regular 5k distance, running has changed my life. And taught me some valuable lessons. It’s coming up for five years since I left the UK and began “digital nomading”. This time has been occupied with two stories, building my writing practice,Continue reading “Five years. 555 runs. Five Lessons.”

The top 5 Iain M Banks novels

Over three decades after they were first published, the Culture novels of Iain M Banks are more popular than ever Our first image of Iain M Banks’s Culture universe is a man drowning in sewage: a stark precedent for what was to come. And 30 years after its first publication, Consider Phlebas remains a novelContinue reading “The top 5 Iain M Banks novels”

Science Fiction vs SciFi vs SF: what is the true definition?

If there’s one thing science fiction fans love, it’s an argument. And if there’s one argument they love more than all others, it’s the attempt to define what science fiction actually is, and what is or isn’t included in that definition. Join the discussion SciFi & Fantasy on Facebook. In perhaps the all time mostContinue reading “Science Fiction vs SciFi vs SF: what is the true definition?”

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”

There’s a great gamer novel to be written. Ready Player One isn’t it

  There have been many great American novels. The Grapes of Wrath. The Great Gatsby. Underworld. The idea, at this point in literary history, has become a kind of self referential in joke. The great American novel is what young, over-intense MFA students yearn to write. But it’s still useful as an indicator of whatContinue reading “There’s a great gamer novel to be written. Ready Player One isn’t it”

Is there any such thing as Geek Culture?

There is no end, it seems, to the impotent outrage of geek dudes who feel hard done by because scifi films no longer exclusively feature geeky white dude protagonists. Here’s the latest dumb s*&t from those guys: Any dork hating on Ready Player One stems from jealousy since Ernest Cline seems to be living theContinue reading “Is there any such thing as Geek Culture?”

The 6-step story pitch

So there you are, face to face with the most important agent in your industry. Instead of turning to jelly, use this 6 step pitch process. Join the Rhetoric of Story with course code STORYTEN. https://goo.gl/YDLxoH Shot on the best camera for vloggers. http://amzn.to/2AQ2UPX Audio by Rode. http://amzn.to/2AgfBSR Thanks to Sarah’s House for being aContinue reading “The 6-step story pitch”

Stop using guns as a symbol of personal empowerment

We don’t like guns because we like guns. But we DO like guns. Gun manufacturers don’t make $billions every year selling guns to farmers or even armies. The AR-15, America’s bestselling gun, is a sexy-as-hell consumer item. Like a lethal steel iPhone but significantly less useful. I appreciate the vocal efforts of Hollywood A-listers campaigningContinue reading “Stop using guns as a symbol of personal empowerment”

What does a nomad writer pack for 4 years on the road?

Hello! My name is Damien Walter, and I am the nomad writer. I’ve been travelling since November 2013, across Thailand, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. I’m a slow traveller, staying at least two months wherever I go. My main base of operations is Chiang Mai, the “digital nomad” capital of the world. Read Slouching Toward Nimmanhaemin:Continue reading “What does a nomad writer pack for 4 years on the road?”