Yes, Corbyn can win. Here’s how. #GE2017

We live in strange political times. Around the world far right leaders are adopting traditionaly socialist policies to get elected. Trump promised huge public spending on infrastructure. Le Pen is promising a huge rise in social benefits. What’s going on? The bottom line is, working and middle class people in America and Europe are poorerContinue reading “Yes, Corbyn can win. Here’s how. #GE2017”

Scarlet Johansson’s star quality makes her all wrong for Ghost in the Shell

Cyberpunk’s literary roots have always  dug deep into themes of self destruction…both our terror of losing, and lust to be liberated from, our self. No comments here, but come talk to me on @damiengwalter. It’s hard for a human as universally recognised as Scarlet Johansson to pass as a nobody. But Major Motoko Kusanagi, theContinue reading “Scarlet Johansson’s star quality makes her all wrong for Ghost in the Shell”

Trump voters are socialists. They just don’t know it yet.

Trump voters. Brexit voters. The AltRight. The people who read Infowars, and Breitbart, and the Daily Mail. They’re all early stage socialists, who just haven’t figured out that’s what they are yet. Here’s why. For most of the 20th century, global capitalism was a pretty good deal. If you were a white western citizen. MostContinue reading “Trump voters are socialists. They just don’t know it yet.”

Olaf Stapledon on how science fiction defeats fascism

With fascism growing at a terrible pace today, Olaf Stapledon’s words from 1937, written at the height of the Nazi menace, hold meaning for all sci-fi fans, readers, and writers. This post could not have been written without the support of my patrons. “Perhaps the attempt to see our turbulent world against a background of starsContinue reading “Olaf Stapledon on how science fiction defeats fascism”

Viking myths made men fearless. What do our myths make us?

A myth is more than just an old story. In their day, hundreds or thouands of years ago, myths shaped reality. WOAH! That’s a big claim, right? That the Ramayana actually shaped the reality of the people who read it two thousand years ago? That’s like saying Star Wars: Rogue One is shaping our realityContinue reading “Viking myths made men fearless. What do our myths make us?”

We don’t out fight conservatives. We out create them.

This post is my answer to the political battles of the last 12 months. To Brexit, to Trump, to the resurgent racist #AltRight, and most of all to a kind of conservatism that I do not see as an enemy, but which seems to see me as one. But it doesn’t quite begin there. I’mContinue reading “We don’t out fight conservatives. We out create them.”

Disney will remake the Star Wars prequels. The Last Jedi proves why.

The only thing I’m going to say about The Last Jedi trailer is…it looks just as great as Force Awakens and Rogue One. It’s great to have Star Wars back, and greater than ever. Now if we can just forget the whole decade where it was not great… “Anakin Skywalker is Anders Breivik, Timothy McVeighContinue reading “Disney will remake the Star Wars prequels. The Last Jedi proves why.”

What is the most important skill any writer can master?

Regular readers will know that I’m more that a little bit passionate about the power of storytelling. Over the summer I’ve been creating a course in The Rhetoric of Story, filming a series of seven video lectures in locations including Bali, France and Italy. The full course is almost complete, with just one more lectureContinue reading “What is the most important skill any writer can master?”

Ted Chiang, the science fiction genius behind Arrival

In the small world of science fiction short stories, Ted Chiang is a superstar. It’s easier to list the major SF awards he hasn’t won than those he has, and he’s equally acclaimed in the broader field of literary short fiction – all for a body of work that could probably fit within half aContinue reading “Ted Chiang, the science fiction genius behind Arrival”

Quick thoughts on Westworld

Just caught the first episode of Westworld. I suspect it’s a show I’ll be writing about more. Some first thoughts, not so much about the show, as about why I think it matters. Science fiction is the art of metaphor. It gives us ways of thinking and talking about things we can’t otherwise easily talkContinue reading “Quick thoughts on Westworld”

Game of Life: the coming attention economy

I like this story in The Independent about China’s plans for a social scoring system. In this world, anything from defaulting on a loan to criticising the ruling party, from running a red light to failing to care for your parents properly, could cause you to lose points. And in this world, your score becomesContinue reading “Game of Life: the coming attention economy”

Doctor Strange : Nope, Buddhism won’t give you magic powers

SPOILERS AHEAD. It’s a familiar story by now. A straight white male – and it almost always is a straight white male – is living a kind of ordinary life when BAM! Events transpire that send Mr. Straight White Male on an epic adventure through which he gains Incredible Powers of magic and / orContinue reading “Doctor Strange : Nope, Buddhism won’t give you magic powers”