7 literary Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels you must read

Sci-fi & Fantasy are best known as genre fiction. But truth be told, they have their roots in works of literature. For fans, and especially creators, of today’s modern mythology, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the literary novels that made SF&F what it is. The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse isContinue reading “7 literary Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels you must read”

Transrealism: the first major literary movement of the 21st century

A Scanner Darkly is one of Philip K Dick’s most famous but also most divisive novels. Written in 1973 but not published until 1977, it marks the boundary between PKD’s mid-career novels that were clearly works of science fiction, including The Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and hisContinue reading “Transrealism: the first major literary movement of the 21st century”

No, the Handmaid’s Tale is NOT science fiction

Sci-fi sells us fantasies. Margaret Atwood’s classic novel is all about the danger of fantasy. Why should they be pigeon holed together? Damien writes on scifi, culture and politics for The Guardian, Independent, Wired, BBC and Aeon magazine, and also right here. Follow on Twitter @damiengwalter Women understand, I think much better than men, howContinue reading “No, the Handmaid’s Tale is NOT science fiction”

Who is Chuck Tingle?

While I can only speculate on the identity of the cult erotica author, I suspect Chuck Tingle is the future of publishing. Hours after the announcement of the 2016 Hugo Award shortlists, one of the nominated authors published a book to express his feelings on the matter. Slammed In The Butt By My Hugo AwardContinue reading “Who is Chuck Tingle?”

Why is Rey such a great hero?

***SPOILERS AHEAD*** Heroes are an interesting character type. Not every protagonist is a hero, far from it. Most stories are about relatively ordinary people going on journeys and overcoming challenges. But there is no challenge too great for the hero. Need a dragon slain, an innocent rescued, a Death Star explodeyed? The hero is yourContinue reading “Why is Rey such a great hero?”

How Hollywood deleted the political message of Godzilla

An excellent guest post today from Jared Hill, a blogger living in Chicago who reads science fiction avidly, and who is also keen on sports and film.  Godzilla is among the most iconic film characters of the last century. But the big lizard’s meaning was radically altered by his move from Tokyo to Hollywood. InContinue reading “How Hollywood deleted the political message of Godzilla”

RE: Worldbuilding – can sci-fi help build a better world?

Science shows us how the world is built. Can science fiction help us build a better world? Follow @damiengwalter on Twitter The Blue Marble Astronaut Jack Schmitt released the shutter on the 70 millimeter Hasselblad camera at 5:39 AM on 7th December 1972. The Apollo 17 mission to the moon was 45,000 kilometers from Earth.Continue reading “RE: Worldbuilding – can sci-fi help build a better world?”

All our genres be broken

Take a look at this marvellous think piece by Gareth L Powell on the problems with defining science fiction by its Golden Age origins. (I should add that the Golden Age isn’t the origin of science fiction any more than McDonalds was the origin of the burger. It’s just the moment it got reduced inContinue reading “All our genres be broken”

On being bossed around by Neil Gaiman

I’ve been outlandishly busy in recent weeks. So much so that I haven’t been able to post anything personal here on my blog. One of the costs of having more freelance writing than you can do is that it squeezes out the personal projects that you love. So here’s a round-up on some of whatContinue reading “On being bossed around by Neil Gaiman”

Does God have a place in science fiction?

If SF is grounded in hard scientific fact, and science is killing God, then what place does that leave for divine intervention in the pages of SF literature? When I tweeted this question, @MirabilisDave gave Arthur C Clarke’s famous dictum a twist, quipping that “Any sufficiently advanced technocrat will be indistinguishable from God.” Read moreContinue reading “Does God have a place in science fiction?”

Big Brother, big data and the creator culture

News of secret courts being introduced in the world’s oldest democracy should scare any rational human. The right to a public trial has survived feudalism, Henry VIII and the industrial revolution, but couldn’t stand up to the forces of global capitalism. Secret courts could be an idea from Alan Moore’s polemic on Thatcher’s Britain, VContinue reading “Big Brother, big data and the creator culture”

Damo’s Sci-Fi prophecies for 2013

2012 has been a year of transition for science fiction and fantasy literature. SF’s reputation as home of the Bearded White Male hides a more interesting story. SF is the literature of geeks, and today, geeks run the world. Geek culture isn’t infiltrating the mainstream: it is the mainstream. And geeks come in all ages,Continue reading “Damo’s Sci-Fi prophecies for 2013”