Superversion Archive

Latest in my lovely and talented wife’s series about the attack on fairy tales by the powers of darkness:



You live in a fairy tale. What fairytale? For that, you shall have to read the first part of this series on Defending The Wood Perilous, which you can find here. The second part explains why the Wood Perilous needs defending. The third part discusses what it is about fairy tales that make them perilous to the forces of modernity.

Now, without further ado:

Part Four:  A Disgrace to the Forces of Evil!


Heroism is so deadly to the Degenerati [those partaking in the degenerate forces of modernity] that even villains cannot be majestic. In many of these stories, only the bad and tawdry things were exalted. True villainy, of the majestic kind, was also banished.

Don’t believe me?

Notice how one is snide and confident, while the other looks teary-eyed and weak.

If you search for Malificent, both these ladies show up, but only the original version of Malificent shows up if you search for one of her most famous quotes: Now shall you deal with ME, O Prince, and all the powers of Hell!”

There’s a reason for that.

Both these women may share the same malicious and magnificent name, but only one of them deserves it.

Victor Von Doom does not approve.

To those of us whose eyes are not blinded by the putrid bile that fills the eyes of the Degenerati, villainy seems, well, vile. An impressive bad guy is still a bad guy, and bad guys are bad. And so we see them, whether they are wimpy villains or majestic villains OF DOOM!

What do I mean by majestic? Imagine an enormous, black, basalt fortress stretching as far as the eye can see. It is vast and impregnable, with arrow slits and crenelations. And atop those, crenelations, a man stands calm, imperious, implacable–and set upon your destruction. Nothing sways him. Nothing disturbs him. He speaks a word and a hundred, thousand, million minions all jump into action to obey him. 

Those of us not yet blinded by darkness often prefer our villains majestic. But to those whose hearts have been corrupted, majesty itself is despised.

Why? Because the more impressive the villains, the more impressive the hero who defeats him.

In real fairy tales, both the hero and the villain can be majestic. In the twisted modern stories, no one is majestic. The heroes are not brave and glorious, and the villains are not fierce and awe-inspiring.

In fact, nothing is awe-inspiring at all.

Read more on the new Superversive Inklings blog…

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Superversive Press Fundraiser

Posted June 3, 2018 By John C Wright

Hey Folks,

Jagi, here.

Just wanted to share with you Superversive Press’s current fundraiser. We have a few fun prizes for anyone who is willing to chip in a bit, and a large price tag prize of one of the Superversive authors will write you a short story about a character and/or subject of your choice.

Even a little bit will be greatly appreciated!

Much thanks!



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Last Crusade: Christian Artists who Don’t Suck

Posted April 2, 2017 By John C Wright

I am pleased to present a column by a likeminded crusader:

Christian Artists Who Don’t Suck

Whenever I talk about artist blackballing in the entertainment industry, almost invariably the first argument I come across is “well there aren’t any…” or “there are a low percentage of…” leading to believe that it’s just too hard to find good artists who aren’t insane and/or profess to be Christian. That is a lie that the mainstream big-entertainment corrupt corporate media propagates at every turn.

Of course, there aren’t any who work for those big companies that do the blackballing. Those companies may not have an outright policy against shunning Christians, but they do it, as they want to tell stories that are allegorically about how great secular society and hedonism is. I rail on Disney quite a bit for this, but the facts are the facts, and they — especially their comics division — are very much guilty of this. 

But we have an opportunity like generations in the past didn’t have. We have social media. We have the internet. We have the ability to connect and organize just as other groups have done for the past for their causes. Our cause is a righteous one, an eternal one, and if we all band together we will affect much greater change than our enemies could ever keep up with.

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On this Superversive Round table we have Dave Truesdale, ejected from World Con for upsetting snow flakes and Dragon Award winnders John C. Wright, Nick Cole and Brian Niemeier as well as the usual group.

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Superversive: Puppy Pictures, Please

Posted September 13, 2016 By John C Wright

The beautiful and talented Mrs. Wright has written a column attempting to explain the obvious to the oblivious:

The Bifrost Between Calico and Gingham

I have been asked what the Puppies—Sad and Rabid alike—are objecting to? If they are not racist or homophobes—ie, if it is not the author’s identity that they object to—why do they think that so many of the stories that have been winning the Hugo and the Nebula are receiving their awards for the wrong reasons?

I think I can explain. I will use, for my example, the short story that won the Hugo in 2016: “Cat Pictures Please.”

I must admit I had trouble seeing why “Cat Pictures Please” was the best story of the year. I’d read stories last year that I thought were significantly better. It was cute, but I had trouble seeing how it measured up to “Scanners Live In Vain” or “Flowers For Algernon” or “Nine billion names of God.”

But I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt here. It is possible that many of these voting are young enough that they haven’t read the stories that made this one seem derivative to me. If so, this story would seem much more impressive.

And tastes differ.

That’s okay.

My gentle wife is considerably more generous in her judgment than am I.

I believe the gap between the puppy kickers and the sad puppies was trenched deliberately. It is not because they misunderstand us that they hate us; they hate us because we love science fiction for its own sake, as an imaginative exercise opening realms of wonder. They see science fiction as they see all things, as tools useful for social engineering and thought policing. We seek to free the mind, they seek to chain the mind.

I would prefer that I am wrong on these points and Mrs. Wright be right. I wish this were merely a matter of misunderstanding, or differing tastes.

Nonetheless, the attempt to cross the gap between the puppy kickers and the sad puppies is laudable. Blessed are the peacemakers.

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Superversive Guest Post: Theologic License

Posted January 28, 2016 By John C Wright

The guest post this week over at the Superversive site is Theologic License by Matthew Schmidt (

The problem of mixing speculative fiction with actual religion has existed since the first time Og told a ghost story around the cave’s fire, and, having returned to hunting the next day, wondered what ghosts meant for the Great Spirit. Whatever Og’s conclusion was has been lost to time, but we see it again more recently (relatively speaking) in The Divine Comedy. In the depths of Hell, Dante comes across Odysseus, who is eternally punished for attempting to reach Purgatory by the sole effort of humans. What exactly the presence of Odysseus implied for the panoply of feuding Greek divinities of the Iliad and the Odyssey, in the further reality of the True Divine, is not considered.

But while Og needed only entertain his tribesmen for a few minutes, and Dante used Odysseus as a symbol of the inadequacy of mortal powers, the modern speculative fiction author does not get off so easily.
The questions for the fantasy author have plagued the genre since Tolkien. They arrive like rubberneckers at the world’s construction site, incessantly pestering the author. If there is a fictional pantheon, are those gods “real?” Are they angelic like the Valar of Valinor, or noble beings like the Overcyns of Skai? Or are they mere frauds as Tash—a safe choice, but then Tash actually appears at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia and the issues are immediately raised. Add magic and ethical issues enter immediately, and whole essays have been written on the topic (see the excellent one by Tom Simon.)

The science fiction author can only avoid the same questions with sufficiently hard science and sufficient planning ahead. (Be sure to put three or so bishops on your generation ship to avoid issues of apostolic succession.) Reach for any other ingredient—time travel, artificial intelligence, or worse yet, extraterrestrial life—and now you have some irritating theological question, one that will devour your creative energies like a black hole.

And avoiding that singularity is the key. In my experience as a writer, attempting to write any kind of speculative fiction while staying behind every jot and tittle of established theology is futile. Fear of writing heretical ideas will do more damage to your writing than actually writing something theologically inaccurate….

Read the whole thing.


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Everything is Sexist

Posted November 13, 2015 By John C Wright

Some things are beyond parody. It does not mean one ought not parody them: Read the remainder of this entry »

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Anniversary of Superversive

Posted October 19, 2015 By John C Wright

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:

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Superversive Blog: What Stories Do!

Posted September 18, 2015 By John C Wright

A guest post by the refreshing young authoress April appears over on the Superversive blog:

Not everyone loves reading, but who can resist a good story?

There is something about a good story. The way it pulls you in, the way it makes you want more, the way it makes you feel.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a very emotional person. I like to think rationally; I don’t like the idea of my emotions overriding my will very much. Yet I love to obsess over fictional characters and the way they make me cry, laugh, agonize, rejoice, and just feel.

There’s something about diving into a good story. Opening up our hearts and feelings to the direction of the author’s pen strokes. Even though it will take hours of our time, hours of our thoughts, and even wreck our emotions sometimes, we still gladly take the plunge.

Even when the stories are not fiction, people still like stories. Why do people like the news channels? Why do people like gossip? Why do people spend hours on Netflix?

Because they want stories

To be Superversive is to reach upward, to strive for those moments of joy, of revelation, and hope. Build your story so that you can deliverer those feelings to your readers. That even while everything may be in chaos and death, and fears are close, and you don’t know how everything will turn out, you give them hope. That awe and sense of something bigger and beyond. You stay holding onto the dreams, you give them a piece of calm in the storm, and you inspire.


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Ruth Johnson on Sci Fi and the Culture Wars

Posted September 11, 2015 By John C Wright

There is a new post up at the Superversive blog you might find interesting. It touches on the psychology of the Culture Wars, using the Hugo Kerfuffle surrounding the Sad Puppies as an example.


Part One:  What Forces Drive the SciFi Culture Wars?

Q: In the Afterword to your new book, you suggest that ideas about personality might help us understand “culture wars” by showing how the sides just see the world differently.  What do you mean by “personality-based worldviews”? 

A: The thesis of Re-Modeling the Mind is that our brains can’t process all of the information that comes at us constantly, so each brain organizes itself around more limited options, depending on the neural strengths it already has. When we talk about “personality” we mean these limitations and abilities, which are usually clearly visible when we watch each other. We know ourselves this way, too. We know there are things we simply can’t take in, or if we can take in the facts, we can’t manage them to make decisions. There are things we pay close attention to, and other things we just can’t be bothered with. Personality is this very real neural patterning that filters the world so that it’s manageable.

But this means that our personalities also limit and even blind us to things other people can perceive and manage. We’re all in the same physical world, in the sense that we agree on where the objects are, so that we can avoid running into them. But at a more complex level, we really don’t all live in the same world. Our personalities can have such root-level different views of the world that we can barely have conversations. This is what I’d call a personality-based worldview.

I’m not a science-fiction reader, and I’d never heard of the Hugos until this year. But watching the ferocity of the battles made me feel convinced that at least some of this culture war is provoked by a clash of personality-based worldviews. In other words, probably the leaders and many supporters of each faction share some personality traits so that they all “live” in a similar world. In each faction’s “world,” its values are not only sensible but the only possible ones. Or if not the only possible ones, the only morally right or safe ones. This is why it’s so hard to have a conversation. It’s self-evident to each faction that its values are right, and the arguments offered by the other faction hold no water in their worldview. A lot of people on both sides feel that if So and So wins a prize, moral right or wrong will be rewarded

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Posted July 31, 2015 By John C Wright

This month I have not had a day-job, and so for the first time have had enough free time to work like a full time writer.

This is the novel I have been waiting eleven and a half years to write. I wrote the manuscript in five weeks, and spent a week polishing and revising.

I sent it off to Castalia House this Monday, so keep your fingers crossed for me. (I have also begun a new project for Castalia House called MOTHS AND COBWEBS, a juvenile, which I will describe in a later post.)

iron chamber

The novel is called IRON CHAMBER OF MEMORY.

The story idea came to me during the month of December in 2003, just a few days after my rather dramatic conversion from total Christ-hating atheism to total fidelity. I was recovering from major surgery, and still had one foot, so to speak, in the spirit world.

This story idea came to me in one moment, complete, perfect, in immense detail. I dragged myself out of bed to spend one afternoon writing the outline down in one go from start to finish.

Nothing like this has ever happened to me before, and nothing since.

I often speak of writing as if I am taking dictation from the muse. Usually I am exaggerating a little, or being a little modest. Here I am not. It is as if some other spirit than mine contrived this story, and all I have done is write it down.

The thing was eerie. There are certain ideas and themes in it which are quite a bit like other things I have written. An amnesiac hero trying to discover who he really is, for example, appears in nearly everything I write.

I can also see where the basic ideas come from: that there is a room in a house where whenever the protagonist enters, he remembers he is in love with a woman who also loves him, but only inside that chamber, and nowhere else. The conceit is taken from the deservedly obscure novel A HAUNTED WOMAN by David Lindsay. I say it is deserved obscure because Mr Lindsay did not exercise his full range of his powerful imagination here, and did not explore the several odd but logical ramifications of the idea.

But there are other themes here utterly unlike my usual fare, and other ideas I know not whence they came.

The only element I added was the setting. Originally, I meant it to be set in Oxford, England, at Magdalen College, but I since discovered a small channel island called Sercq or Sark, called a Dark Sky island, and, until 2008, the last still-functioning feudal  fief in Europe.

The small and beautiful manor house of the Lord of the island, Le Seigneurie, I had to make into something huge and haunted as Gormenghast, and I add a frankly impossible old growth forest which could not fit on the tiny real island; but aside from these indignities of poetic license, the strangest details in the story are the ones taken from life, and these are the least likely to be believed. I did not make up that Sark is a Dark Sky island, once invaded by a Nuclear Scientist, nor that the language spoken there has never been written down.

The overall vision encompassed in the story is strange, and I am not sure if it counts as science fiction or magical realism or mainstream or what it is. Not only is the narrator unreliable, reality is unreliable.

Part of it is a love story, part of it is a story of treason and revenge, part of it is hallucinatory, and part, the best part, is a metaphysical thriller after the fashion of Charles Williams, where the mystery is not who murdered whom, but what is ultimate reality.

Let me favor you, dear reader, with the opening scene:

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From a Colleague

Posted April 5, 2015 By John C Wright

Mr Charles Stross holds forth on the recent controversy concerning the Hugo nominations:

The indented remarks are his, and the italics is his quote of Castalia House’s public statement of purpose:

Castalia House was (per wikipedia) founded by Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day) in early 2014 in Kouvola, Finland. As their website explains:

Castalia House is a Finland-based publisher that has a great appreciation for the golden age of science fiction and fantasy literature. The books that we publish honor the traditions and intellectual authenticity exemplified by writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, G.K. Chesterton, and Hermann Hesse. We are consciously providing an alternative to readers who increasingly feel alienated from the nihilistic, dogmatic science fiction and fantasy being published today. We seek nothing less than a Campbellian revolution in genre literature.

Total culture wars, very gamergate, much fail, wow. But the screaming question I feel the need to ask, is: why Finland? Could there be a connection between the white supremacist Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), the overtly racist Sweden Democrats, the Dark Enlightenment/neoreactionary movement, and Vox Day’s peculiarly toxic sect of Christian Dominionist theology?

Later, in the comments, Mr Stross remarks:

The shout-out to “Campbellian” in the Castalia House bumph is telling — John W. Campbell was an obnoxious racist (consider that Heinlein wrote “Fifth Column” to an outline drafted by Campbell and toned down the racist/eliminationist invective against the Yellow Peril!), as well as a crank and a reactionary who thought teh wimmins’ place was in the kitchen. Says it all, really.


Jim Butcher certainly deserves to be on the Hugo shortlist.


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Superversive: When Originality Goes Sour

Posted April 3, 2015 By John C Wright

A guest blog on my wife’s journal by Suzannah Rowntree, author of PENDRAGON’S HEIR, who offers her opinions and conclusions concerning when craving for originality in art oversteps itself, and shoulders love of beauty aside:

Originality. It’s one of the sacred cows of contemporary art and storytelling. As it appears, a successful attempt at originality is one of our most important measuring-sticks of artistic worth, while nothing kills an author’s confidence or an audience’s enthusiasm faster than being told your work is unoriginal.

Instead, we’re led to believe, the only art worth its salt is art that adds something to the world, art that does something new and unexpected. So we live for the genre-busting novel, the shocking plot twist, the authors who demonstrate their artistic independence and fearless vision by desecrating temples and killing heroes.

The central demand is one for novelty. We expect to be surprised. We expect something we’ve never seen before.

And I’ve come to believe that this hankering for originality is a bad thing.

Now I don’t mean to argue for artistic laziness. I happen to believe there’s a huge scope for surprise, plot twists, diversity, and high artistic quality in unoriginality. But we have come to the place where our desire for innovation has morphed into a destructive monster. This is apparent in all the arts. A few years ago I read a really quite hilarious article from no less honoured a pulpit than the Huffington Post, bewailing the decline in Beethoven’s popularity over the last one or two centuries. When Beethoven’s music first made its appearance, performances were packed. Everyone raved about how transgressive the music was, its daring use of discord overturning what had gone before. Today, Beethoven concerts are snoozefests. What, the Huffington Post asked with apparently sincere puzzlement, had happened?

But isn’t the answer obvious? Someone came along who was more transgressive than Beethoven. By easy steps, we came to twelve-tone music on one hand, and Freddie Mercury on the other, and the currency of shock value was debased to the point where it took three minutes of John Cage listening to the audience’s shuffling to really sell out a concert.

Contrast that with one of the few remaining bastions of unoriginality in modern-day storytelling: the romance novel. The genre recipe is quite simple: there must be a hero and a heroine, and they must fall in love and live happily ever after. No one picks up a romance novel because they want to be surprised by a twist ending. In fact, the guaranteed destination is the whole point. There may certainly be twists and turns during the journey, we may certainly wonder how the mess of misunderstandings, grudges, and stubbornnesses keeping the hero and heroine apart will ever be resolved, but we are never really in doubt that at the end of it all, evil will be punished, good will be rewarded, and the prince and princess will ride off to live happily ever after.

Now a foregone conclusion is not something our culture generally rewards with high artistic accolades. Who is the most highly-acclaimed popular fantasy author of our age? George RR Martin, whose reputation is largely built upon his allergies to traditional heroism. A dedicated subversive writer, Martin kills off his most overtly heroic characters when his audience least expects it, sours his most idealistic characters, and enjoys the challenge of making his downright villainous characters sympathetic.

Martin is no doubt good at what he does, but for the superversive author, a different paradigm is necessary. A superversive story may be dark and even disturbing (CS Lewis’s That Hideous Strength comes to mind) but the evil is always evil, not misunderstood, and the good is always heroic, not tragically naïve. A superversive story may be in some sense original; it may surprise, delight, and astound its audience, but its currency is not ultimately shock value or novelty. Rather, its currency might better be described, in Lewis’s words, as Stock Responses.

If you’ve read CS Lewis’s essay The Abolition of Man, you know what I mean. If you’ve never read that essay, do get yourself a copy. In that work Lewis slams modern education as a sham and a farce that produces well-trained but morally incompetent men, “men without chests.” His novel That Hideous Strength dramatises this essay in the character of Mark Studdock, of whom it is said that “in Mark’s mind hardly one rag of noble thought, either Christian or Pagan, had a secure lodging. His education had been neither scientific nor classical—merely ‘Modern’… and the first hint of a real threat to his bodily life knocked him sprawling.”

The solution, in Lewis’s view…

Well, dear reader, you must read the column to discover what was the solution, in Lewis’s view.

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Superversive: Why Christian Comic Books Are So Necessary

Posted December 17, 2014 By John C Wright

Superversive literature is needed in the name of realism, both to correct the grim and horrid stories of socialist-flavored realism so popular in the mainstream, and to correct the opposite error of happily optimistic stories of simple heroism where the heroes never fail.

Dan Lawlis, a comic book artist, has a column on the second topic over on the Superversive blog.

Why I Think Christian Comic Books Are So Necessary

Consider your average kid is reading your average comic book, let’s say its Batman. You know the story, the Joker is threatening the city, and in comes Batman, he throws his batarang, it hits the switch that turns off the death ray, and saves the city in the nick of time.

The problem is, it always works out. Batman never faces death, so he doesn’t have to confront life. This is fine if you’re a little kid. Kids shouldn’t have to deal with the real world. But more and more comics are being read by older teens. That’s a problem, because those fantasies aren’t preparing them for the real world.

These teens get out in the real world, and things don’t work out so well. In the real world Batman misses with his batarang and innocent people die. On top of that the jerk usually get’s the girl.

Since Batman always wins he can avoid the need for God. The writers can neatly avoid God by filling any need with fantasy. When the kids try to mimic their heroes in the real world and lose, they aren’t prepared for that, and they fall apart.

Over the years comic book story lines have grown up in subject matter, that is, the heroes face death more, but they haven’t grown up spiritually. What’s the result of this development? Well, you can see it all around you. The characters get angry at life. They become bitter, grim, mean, dark brooding types. Batman, Wolverine, even formally colorful upbeat characters like Spiderman and Superman have become more evil looking, grey and colorless.

Read the whole thing:

I had noticed the evil-looking and colorless comics myself, growing steadily ever since the days of THE WATCHMAN by that child pornographer neopagan whose name I forget, the author of LOST GIRLS. Alan Moore? He did a really good job with SWAMP THING and with almost everything he’s written. This work is all dark and nasty and vulgar, of course, as morally empty as the grin on a skull. Imagine comic books written by Hannibal Lector. It is a pity his immense skills could not be used for the side of goodness and truth.

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SUPERVERSIVE: Why “Realism” Isn’t

Posted December 10, 2014 By John C Wright

As part of the world-storming Superversive Literary Counterrevolution, my beautiful and talented wife describes the fundamental unreality of so called realistic literature:

I have never liked dark, gritty, ‘realistic’ stories—the kind that are unrelentingly grim. The kind where there’s no hope, everything is covered in dirt, and terrible things are happening one on top of another like a stack of pancakes. (Sometimes, these stories have a lot of blood or sex, sometimes not.)

For a long time, I could not put my finger on why.

Friends would say, “Oh, I understand, they are too dark for you.” Or “They don’t bother me, I don’t find them scary.” But that did not seem to put into words the impression I suffered when reading/watching such stories.

I wasn’t scared. Something else was wrong.

Oddly, it was a funeral that finally solved the mystery for me.

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