Where in the world is Damien G Walter?

Since going nomad back in July I’ve been living out of a backpack and my trusty Macbook Air laptop. My first destination was France visiting my extended family. Now, after a month or so back in the UK sorting various work tasks, I am back on the road. But where am I? Thailand! At thisContinue reading “Where in the world is Damien G Walter?”

The Great Escape

Digital technology allows us to lose ourselves in ever more immersive fantasy worlds. But what are we fleeing from? The only people who hate escapism are jailers, said the essayist and Narnia author C S Lewis. A generation later, the fantasy writer Michael Moorcock revised the quip: jailers love escapism — it’s escape they can’tContinue reading “The Great Escape”

Harlan Ellison : The Interview

Originally published in The Guardian. When Damien Walter tweeted he’d ‘literally kill’ to interview the multiple award-winning author Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman replied ‘What if the person you had to kill was … Harlan Ellison?’ Here Ellison talks about running away from home, the rights and wrongs of paying to read books and how hisContinue reading “Harlan Ellison : The Interview”

Is the death of the bookshop a sign of progress?

High street bookshops maye soon be a distant memory. Should we take this as a sign of progress, or the regression of society to a pre-literate state? Today the last big bookshop in Leicester, the city where I reside, closed its doors. The out of town Borders went three years ago. Waterstones on Market StreetContinue reading “Is the death of the bookshop a sign of progress?”

Writing and the attention economy

As a writer you are asking for the most valuable commodity your readers have. Time. Each of us gets a finite portion. No sum of money can buy us any more. And the demands on it are ever greater. The novel evolved at a period in history when the constituency of its readers had muchContinue reading “Writing and the attention economy”

Do you know why you write fantasy?

In his 1916 essay (not published until 1956) The Transcendent Function the psychologist Carl Jung describes his system of ‘active imagination’, the technique at the heart of the psychological process he named individuation. Put very simply, active imagination means to dive down in to our imagination and to bring back from it visions, dreams andContinue reading “Do you know why you write fantasy?”

Ursula K Le Guin : stories for the ages

The power of Le Guin’s work will surely guarantee it an audience for centuries to come. A century from now people will still be reading the fantasy stories of Ursula K Le Guin with joy and wonder. Five centuries from now they might ask if their author ever really existed, or if Le Guin wasContinue reading “Ursula K Le Guin : stories for the ages”

Live-writing challenges the writerly ego…which is a very good thing

The rules were simple. Keep to the scheduled study hours, always wash your mug, and under no circumstances touch the coltan. So far Aidan had kept a clean sheet on all counts. Now he was planning to commit the only serious possible infraction. And that did not mean coffee rings on work surfaces. Aidan’s RockContinue reading “Live-writing challenges the writerly ego…which is a very good thing”

The battle for geek culture

As a fan of fantasy fiction, it’s been entertaining watching mainstream cultural critics’ baffled responses to Game of Thrones, which has surprised many by becoming the biggest show on TV this year. Gina Bellafante of the New York Times was among the first to come a cropper when she made the rash statement that noContinue reading “The battle for geek culture”

Look after your brain. They don’t issue new ones.

Bobby Fischer was arguably the greatest chess player of all time. American chess champion at 14, grandmaster at 15, world champion at 28. A brilliant but brief career cut short by schizophrenia. By the time of his death in 2008 Fischer was a ranting, anti-semetic caricature of insanity. There are a number of possible reasonsContinue reading “Look after your brain. They don’t issue new ones.”

How to bend the masses to your will with words alone

The internet, being composed of 50% text and 50% raw naked ambition, is full of how-tos and guidelines on ways to manipulate the written word to achieve your raw naked ambitions. They are called things like How to Write Compelling Content for the Web or 73 Ways to Manipulate the Weak Willed With the PowerContinue reading “How to bend the masses to your will with words alone”