Advanced Science Fiction & Fantasy

Advanced Science Fiction & Fantasy

Advanced Science Fiction & Fantasy

Writing the 21st century myth

Language: english

Note: 4.2/5 (43 notes) 4,205 students

Instructor(s): Damien Walter

Last update: 2021-09-30

What you’ll learn

  • Writing new myths for the 21st century



  • This is the advanced course, but all interested can join



Advanced Science Fiction & Fantasy

Writing the 21st century myth

A journey into the mythic storytelling of scifi & fantasy with writer and storyteller Damien Walter on a hunt for the 21st century myth.

For as long as there have been humans, there have been stories. Stories to help us understand our mysterious universe and give meaning to our lives. Stories to give us comfort in darkness and inspire us to reach for the light.

Science fiction & fantasy are the most popular stories of the 21st century. On the cinema screen, in our Netflix streams and in video games, billions of us watch, read and play the amazing stories of scifi and fantasy.

Damien Walter, writer on sci-fi and geek culture for The Guardian, BBC, WIRED and graduate of the Clarion writers workshop, leads a journey into scifi and fantasy storytelling.

Five Star Reviews

“I loved the course. Damien has simplified the complexity of stories for me.” Kim Davis, The Rhetoric of Story

“This was excellent. Rather than teaching the mechanics of writing, this is about how to tell a compelling story.” Mark Lemke, The Rhetoric of Story

“This course was absolutely amazing. I started this course as my job was slowing down for the covid-19 pandemic and ultimately finished it at home after being laid off.” Cory Ellis, The Rhetoric of Story

“I found this course informative, exciting and inspiring. As a 75 year old, new to writing this has motivated a new journey of which i am looking forward to with enthusiasm.” Brian Cummings, The Rhetoric of Story

“Wonderful style of teaching and great use of “practicing what you preach”. Each lecture itself feels like listening to a story.” Maral Asdjian, The Rhetoric of Story

“Damien clarified for me exactly what I was missing – the essence of the story.” Grzegorz Kopeć, The Rhetoric of Story

“With relevant examples, Damien has literally broken down complex ideas into easy, digestible content.” Shivani Deshmukh, The Rhetoric of Story

“Damien is a very engaging teacher and he makes the complexity of this subject accessible and thrilling. I have no background in literary studies. And English isn’t my native language. Even so, I followed all the lessons without significant hassle.”

“simply full of insightful tips and advices – there’s not a dull or pointless moment in the whole class.” Juuso Sallinen, The Rhetoric of Story

Science fiction is our modern mythology

As science transformed how we saw the universe, life and human existence, our old myths died. We began a search for new myths to give meaning to the modern world, myths we call science fiction.

From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 and a thousand stories beyond, great storytellers have crafted new myths for the age of science.

But as we grow into the 21st century, even the modern myths of science fiction are getting old. The need for the myths for our fast changing world is greater than ever.

Who will write the 21st century myth?

When Damien Walter asked Twitter what was the greatest myth of the 21st century, he got a surprising answer, from the storyteller Neil Gaiman himself.

Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Avengers – all the smash hit sci-fi & fantasy franchises of today are myths of the last century, their values are those of the past 20th, not the future 21st century.

When a truly 21st century myth is written, we will know it.

Who will write the 21st century myth? Will it be Neil Gaiman? Will it be any of the great new writers of today?

Or will it, perhaps, be you?


Damien Walter wrote the long running Weird Things column for The Guardian, and has interviewed legendary SF authors including Harlan Elison and Neil Stephenson. He studied with World Fantasy award winner Graham Joyce, and is a graduate of the Clarion writer’s workshop lead by Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link. His writing courses have over twenty-five thousand students online.

As featured in:

The Guardian, BBC, Wired, The Independent, Buzzfeed, Aeon

The advanced course for fans and creators of science fiction and fantasy

Join a growing community of passionate fans and creators on a journey to write new myths for the 21st century.

  • Talks – open talks looking at classic works of science fiction & fantasy and the myths they gave to the world.

  • Workshops – deep dive discussions and writing craft sessions to open up the mythic imagination.

  • Interviews – with leading creators and industry professionals.

  • Feedback – the chance to get your stories read and to develop further with critical feedback.

  • Certification – create your 21st century myth and receive course certification.

Join the course in Advanced Science Fiction & Fantasy today on Udemy


Who this course is for

  • Passionate about science fiction


Course content

  • Introduction
    • Trailer
    • Introduction
  • Man as machine
    • Frankenstein – how a teenage goth invented science fiction
    • Science fiction is our modern mythology
    • Workshop 1 – What is myth?
    • Writing Challenge 1 – Eternal Questions
    • Writing Challenge 1
  • Our place in the universe
    • Workshop 2 – Introduction
    • How Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 rewrote science fiction
    • What is man’s place in the universe?
    • The Novum
    • Writing Challenge – Birthing the Novum
    • Writing Challenge – The Novum
  • Beyond the limits of human potential
    • Why do the Star Wars movies get worse and worser?
    • Humankind’s highest potential?
    • The Hero’s Journey
    • Beyond the Hero’s Journey
    • Writing Challenge – The Hero’s Journey
    • Vervaeke Interview 1 – Is nerd culture mere escapism?
    • Vervaeke Interview 2 – Star Wars: Addiction or Recovery?
  • The path to human liberation
    • The hidden meaning of Blade Runner 2049
    • Myths of human liberation.
    • Archetypal storytelling 1
    • Writing Challenge – Archetypal Storytelling 2
    • How the original Blade Runner constructs an empathy test…for the audience.
    • Writing Challenge – Guidelines
  • MARVEL and the Supergods
    • MARVEL and the Supergods
    • The full set of archetypes
    • Metanarratives
    • Origin Stories
    • Writing Challenge – Origin Stories
    • Why do we love a trickster?
  • Utopia vs Dystopia
    • 1984 vs Brave New World
    • The Everyman
    • Genre vs Question
    • Political Modelling
    • Writing Challenge 6
    • Political modelling in Isaac Asimov’s FOUNDATION
  • Dune, Savior stories and self-transformation
    • The 7 levels of meaning in Dune
    • Review of techniques in Dune
    • Stages of self-transformation
    • Savior stories
    • Psychological models of self-transformation
    • Writing Challenge 7
  • Essays
    • The 8 tribes of scifi
    • Write better scifi stories with this simple idea


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