How does M John Harrison enter a story?

M John Harrison is one of the all time greats, a “science fiction writer’s science fiction writer”, a creator of weird tales in the horror tradition, and a powerful weaver of fantasy. The Viriconium stories defined political fantasy in the 80’s, as the Light trilogy redefined literary SF in the 00s. As editor of NewContinue reading “How does M John Harrison enter a story?”

The remarkable Neal Stephenson interview

Neal Stephenson – legendary author of speculative fiction –  on Elon Musk and geek culture, the  NSA revelations of Edward Snowden, how negative cultural narratives are killing big science  – and the upbringing that made him the writer he is. IN LATE 2013 I had the opportunity to interview the author Neal Stephenson. Some Remarks,Continue reading “The remarkable Neal Stephenson interview”

The 8 Tribes of SciFi

Calling sci-fi a genre in 2016 is about as accurate as calling the United States one nation. In principle it’s true, but in practice things don’t work that way. While crime, romance and thrillers all remain as coherent genres of fiction, it’s been decades since sci-fi could be comfortably understood by any shared generic criteria.Continue reading “The 8 Tribes of SciFi”

What does a nomad writer pack for 4 years on the road?

Hello! My name is Damien Walter, and I am the nomad writer. I’ve been travelling since November 2013, across Thailand, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. I’m a slow traveller, staying at least two months wherever I go. My main base of operations is Chiang Mai, the “digital nomad” capital of the world. Read Slouching Toward Nimmanhaemin:Continue reading “What does a nomad writer pack for 4 years on the road?”

One very useful thing to know about depression

Through the month of September 2017 I fought a small scale conflict, against an army of negative thoughts and emotions that had claimed the territory of my mind. I recognised this mental state well. It was what we commonly call depression. To win this fight, I needed strategies. I went back and reviewed the bestContinue reading “One very useful thing to know about depression”

All stories are fractal. Here’s why.

The best storytelling has a unique quality. Wherever your enter the story from, if you switch on the tv and start watching 20 minutes in, or catch a single scene in isolation, or (heresy!) skip to the end and read the final pages, the story engages your interest. Even if you don’t understand the wholeContinue reading “All stories are fractal. Here’s why.”

Only a creator culture can save us

We’re trying to rebuild a failed consumer culture. We need to make a new creator culture instead. Published in Culture – A Reader for Writers, editor John Mauk, Oxford University Press. I arrived in Leicester in the late ‘90s as a student, a year after losing my mother to cancer. Having little support, I workedContinue reading “Only a creator culture can save us”

Writing Practice: why it’s time to stop thinking of writing as a profession

If you go to a good art school (and yes you STEM readers out there, such places do exist) they teach you to think of your art as a practice. And to think of yourself as a practitioner. There’s a purpose to this tradition. Admittedly, it takes most art students – myself included – untilContinue reading “Writing Practice: why it’s time to stop thinking of writing as a profession”

A Game of Egos

Originally published on guardianbooks.co.uk A wealthy dynasty brought to its knees by popular revolt, the highest in the land caught in a web of corruption, and at the heart of it all a powerful woman with remarkable hair. If you see the Murdoch clan, Chipping Norton set and Rebekah Brooks in these archetypes then you have clearlyContinue reading “A Game of Egos”

The answer to a riddle

Last year I wrote a short story called A Vast Bit of Hod, which I published to my blog here. As I mentioned at the time, the story is also a riddle. I have congratulated half a dozen people who emailed me the answer. This evening James Everington tweeted me to ask: btw, when are youContinue reading “The answer to a riddle”

The New Aesthetic and I

Every creative is always looking for a new aestehtic. And now there really is a New Aesthetic. I will date the New Aesthetic to Bruce Sterling’s essay on the subject, in response to the SXSW panel chaired by James Bridle. But I’ll date my personal interest to the AlterFutures talk I gave recently, where itContinue reading “The New Aesthetic and I”

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”