My major teaching project for this year has been Advanced Scifi & Fantasy : Writing the 21st Century Myth. This new course is my journey to try and understand what myths are doing in our lives today. I’m happy that almost five thousand students have so far enrolled on the course to join that journey.
A highlight of the course – and of my year – was interviewing John Vervaeke, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Toronto (where he teaches alongside Jordan Peterson) on the meaning of myth. And of Star Wars.
A member of John’s community created a brief edited video from out 90 minute conversation. In just a few minutes, it captures the whole meaning of our discussion.
Christmas is the mythiest of all days. But what does it mean? Christmas comes but once a year. It’s the day we do one thing above all others…indulge our love of myths. Christmas itself is a weird hodge-podge of many myths. The celebration of Yule is a Germanic and Nordic festival, a time for drinkingContinue reading “Day of Myths”
Given the kind of year 2020 has been, I felt this was exactly the season’s greetings you all would appreciate. Please…leave santa alone. Thanks to artist Jakob Rosalski for capturing the spirit of 2020 for me. # Building on the success of my online teaching – 2020 saw us pass 35,000 students – this yearContinue reading “Leave. Santa. Alone.”
Long time readers will know I am a super-fan of the Culture novels by Iain M Banks. I’ve essayed and videoed them half to death already, and in recent years have read or re-read almost Banksy’s entire output. Great artists steal, goes the saying, and Iain Banks was something of a magpie for cool ideasContinue reading “The book that inspired the Culture of Iain M Banks”
“The only people who hate escapism are jailers.” The quote is attributed to both C S Lewis and to J R R Tolkien. Whomever said it first, it captures the spirit that both wrote their fantasy stories in. A generation later, the fantasy writer Michael Moorcock revised the quip: “Jailers love escapism — it’s escapeContinue reading “Is geek culture mere escapism?”
Much has been written about the origins of Star Wars in ancient mythology, via the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell. But the blockbuster movies’ origins in modern mythology are sometimes forgotten. The Foundation saga by Isaac Asimov is one of the most influential science fiction stories ever written. It inspired classic storytelling from Frank Herbert’sContinue reading “Is this the moment that inspired the Force in Star Wars?”