7 literary Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels you must read

Damien Walter writes on sci-fi & fantasy for The Guardian, BBC, Wired, Oxford University Press, IO9, Tor.com and elsewhere. He’s a graduate of the Clarion scifi writers workshop. Follow him on Twitter. At any given moment on the inter-webs there are probably dozens of irate Sci-Fi & Fantasy fans getting agitated about those damn literary authors comingContinue reading “7 literary Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels you must read”

Alan Watts on finding security in insecurity

Almost two years ago I ditched all my worldly goods, except for a backpack and a laptop, and went travelling. I suspect many people would assume an experience of that kind would be a little scary and make them feel rather insecure. But for me, the opposite is true. Getting rid of the physical possessionsContinue reading “Alan Watts on finding security in insecurity”

Julia Cameron on why creativity can’t be learned, but must be recovered

The bad old days when people were taught that creativity was only for a special, talented few are over. Most of us know we have the potential to be creative. But unleashing that potential can still be a tremendous struggle. Great artists of all kinds – writers, painters, musicians, dancers or any person accomplished inContinue reading “Julia Cameron on why creativity can’t be learned, but must be recovered”

Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux

STRANGE BODIES by Marcel Theroux – Literary body horror goes existential. “Am I just a body?” Asks the four year old daughter of Nicholas Slopen, unfortunate protagonist of Marcel Theroux’s metaphysical thriller Strange Bodies. The answer Slopen gives us the reader, “not even that”, is less than comforting. The quest to discover what it isContinue reading “Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux”

Jonathan Franzen is an easily understood genius

At some point Jonathan Franzen decided to write easily understood works of literary genius. It was likely while writing his 1994 essay Perchance to Dream which tries to find some purpose for the novel in the technological consumer culture of the late 20th / early 21st century (alternate title “Why Bother?”) It’s a decision that hasContinue reading “Jonathan Franzen is an easily understood genius”

5 indispensable guides for fiction writers

Many people say writing can’t be taught. But it can certainly be learned. (I actually think it can be taught as well, or I wouldn’t teach it.) When we’re young and full of beans we like to think we know it all. It’s hard to admit to ourself we don’t how to do something. ButContinue reading “5 indispensable guides for fiction writers”

Winter reads: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

This potent rite-of-passage tale offers readers some useful pointers on keeping the heart warm in allegorically wintry times. The novel that raised Haruki Murakami to literary superstardom ranges across the seasons, but the heart of its meaning is found in winter. When 30-something Toru Watanabe hears a fragment of the titular Beatles track after a long airplaneContinue reading “Winter reads: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami”

Steampunk Reloaded reviewed by Lauren Westwood

Lauren Westwood is graduate of Loughborough University’s MA in Creative Writing and was a project intern for the Writing Industries Conference. She is a young writer with a passion for SF and Fantasy, but had never heard of steampunk until accepting my challenge to review the Steampunk Reloaded anthology. Here she gives a fascinating insightContinue reading “Steampunk Reloaded reviewed by Lauren Westwood”

Best SF of the Noughties

Sarah Crown over at The Guardian book blog today asks readers for their top books of the noughties. Unsurprisingly my picks are quite speculative in nature, and there are so many that I eventually gave up trying to list them all. It was also complicated by the fact that many of my favourite books readContinue reading “Best SF of the Noughties”