Currents 098: Damien Walter on Science Fiction and the Rhetoric of Story

Jim talks with Damien Walter about science fiction and the mechanics of myth. They discuss the roles of pathos & ethos in science fiction, Damien’s lifelong fascination with sci-fi, the symbolon of “science fiction,” Star Trek vs Star Wars, categorizing Star Wars, Asimov’s idea of psychohistory, The Lord of the Rings & the value of myth, the Inklings literary group, the metaphysics of Tolkien, fostering a creator culture, creating as an alternative to consumption, Jim’s Script Helper program & opening the door to creativity, the collapse of status competition to money & beauty, the corporate entertainment franchise, collaborative virtual world-making, addictive games & porn, the highjacking of the red pill metaphor, Pavlovian conditioning in games, positioning between the most virtuous & the most evil, the way that evil eats itself, a book recommendation, systems novels, science fiction as philosophy fiction, the novels of Neal Stephenson, and much more.

Damien Walter is a writer and a storyteller who has written for The Guardian, the BBC, Wired, The Independent, Aeon, and others. He teaches The Rhetoric of Story and Writing the 21st-Century Myth to over 35,000 students worldwide, and is the host of the Science Fiction Podcast.