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)”

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?”

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?”

Five questions the new Blade Runner must answer

Any Blade Runner fan who doesn’t have mixed feelings about the Blade Runner 2049 sequel probably isn’t much of a fan. Hollywood sequels have a bad track record of course. And while the presence of Harrison Ford might encourage some to hope for a sequel as mighty as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many ofContinue reading “Five questions the new Blade Runner must answer”

Tolkien’s myths are a political fantasy

In a world built on myth, we can’t ignore the reactionary politics at the heart of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. What is the Rhetoric of Story? It’s a double-edged magical sword, being a fan of JRR Tolkien. On one hand we’ve had the joy of watching Lord of the Rings go from cult success to, arguably,Continue reading “Tolkien’s myths are a political fantasy”

The trouble with intersectional political alliances as illustrated in Star Wars

Intersectionality is a powerful idea conveyed in an overcomplicated word. But Star Wars is a great way to understand it better. One thing I love about scifi? It provides all the best metaphors to help folks understand the fierce complexities of contemporary politics. Mid-way through the snap UK general election a lot of Harry-Potter-as-political-metaphor memesContinue reading “The trouble with intersectional political alliances as illustrated in Star Wars”

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”

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?”

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.”