Tolkien’s myths are a political fantasy

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, the most successful and influential story of the last century. And we get to laugh in the face of critics who claimed LotR would neverContinue reading “Tolkien’s myths are a political fantasy”

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”

Are video games the end for sci-fi novels?

The megastructure is one of science fiction’s most enjoyable guilty pleasures. There is no other genre of literature that takes quite such glee in describing buildings, whether made by the hand of man or alien. Arthur C Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama is little more than a guided tour of the titular spacecraft through the eyesContinue reading “Are video games the end for sci-fi novels?”

Why has the imagination been sidelined in literature?

Imagination is a powerful force for progress. So why has it been sidelined in the one place it should be most welcome – literature. In his now famous quote, Albert Einstein claimed that imagination was more important than knowledge. When Einstein wrote those words in 1929, those who knew about such things might have saidContinue reading “Why has the imagination been sidelined in literature?”

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”

Science fiction’s utopias are built out of wilful ignorance

Project Hieroglyph challenges SF writers to move away from dystopian stories, but while the optimism is refreshing, real-world questions go unanswered Science fiction, for most of the 20th century, celebrated the idea that a competent man could build better machines to help make a better world. In recent years that prediction seems to have comeContinue reading “Science fiction’s utopias are built out of wilful ignorance”

Why we’re all reading young adult fiction

It’s an easy win for a book critic. Harry Potter, then Hunger Games, and now Divergent have dominated not just book publishing but popular culture for more than two decades. So after telling adult readers they should be ashamed to read children’s books, all Ruth Graham had to do was sit back and watch theContinue reading “Why we’re all reading young adult fiction”

The New New Space Opera

Science fiction is not a genre. The most successful literary tradition of the 20th century is as impossible to neatly categorise as the alien life forms it sometimes imagines. But “sci-fi” does contain genres. The rigorous scientific speculation of Hard SF. The techno-cynicism of Cyberpunk, or its halfwit cousin Steampunk. The pulp fictions of PlanetaryContinue reading “The New New Space Opera”

21 Of The Best British Sci-Fi Writers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

The World Science Fiction Convention touches down in London this week, bringing together fans of sci-fi, fantasy and horror novels from all over the world. LonCon3 is the first time this fete of the fantastic has visited the UK since 2006 when the 63rd worldcon hit Glasgow. Here are the top 21 sci-fi and fantasyContinue reading “21 Of The Best British Sci-Fi Writers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of”

Horror – just not scary any more

Whereas Victorian writers could rely on repressed sexuality to generate unease, today’s horror and fantasy novels put sex on the front cover. But the best new examples of the genre still bring up the things we don’t like to talk about. When Bram Stoker penned Dracula in 1897, Eastern Europe was still remote for mostContinue reading “Horror – just not scary any more”

Digital nomads are a 21st century counter culture

Slouching Toward Nimmanhaemin Digital nomads are a 21st century counterculture. The choices they make today will shape how we live and work tomorrow. Words and pictures by Damien Walter The global network enables us to react to the world as a whole” Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media The center was not holding. But that was aContinue reading “Digital nomads are a 21st century counter culture”