Anniversary of Superversive

We celebrate the first year of the superversive literary movement with an essay by that brilliant essayist, Tom Simon. It was he who first coined the term and in effect started the movement, by inspiring me and Mrs Wright with his essays on everything from the art of reading Tolkien to the art of writing.

Here is a collection of his essays:


A collection of Mr. Simons excellent essays on Tolkien and our craft.

And here is his essay

 I quote the beginning to give you a taste:
Life, Carbon, and the Tao


Tom Simon

A year has gone by since the Superversive blog officially kicked off, and during that time, as they say, life has happened. As writers, we always need to go back to that. Part of the deep malaise that afflicts our art form (and many others) is that it is too easy to be influenced. It becomes fatally easy to reuse tropes and characters and ideas from other stories, or other art forms; it takes an effort of will to go back to reality and look at it with fresh eyes. There is, I suspect, no such thing as strict realism in fiction – reality is too complex, too big, too un-story-like – but every story needs to be rooted in reality at some point. Not reality as we would like it to be – that is part of the flight of fancy on which the story takes us – but just as it is.


Today, as I look at reality, I find myself thinking of two questions, which, if answered badly, can lead our field up a blind alley. The first one arose in Golden Age science fiction, and led a lot of writers astray on a technical point. The second one arises in every form of fiction, and leads whole cultures astray. But there is a curious resemblance between them, and the answer to the first question, I find, sheds light on the second.

The first question:

What’s so special about carbon?

Read the rest here: