Freethinking Ahead: A Quick Intro

Greetings, y’all. I’m T.D. Walker, and I’m delighted to be a part of the Freethought Blogs network. I’ve been blogging at my website, Freethinking Ahead, for a few years now, and my intention as I transition the blog is to implement and continue some of the projects I planned for that site here.

About Freethinking Ahead

My primary aim for this blog is summarized in its tagline: science fiction, feminism, and freethought. Many of us freethinkers are science fiction (hereafter SF) fans, and many of us have been influenced by SF. But I also think there’s much to be explored in the way our secularism influences our reading of the genre in turn. Such explorations should also examine the way we view issues of gender, class, race, and so on as well.

To that end, I’m planning on a few projects for Freethinking Ahead:

  • Q&As with Secular SF Authors, Editors, and Fans: How has reading and watching SF been influential to atheists? And how does their atheism affect their consumption (and creation as the case may be) of SF?
  • Reflections on SF: Reading SF can act as a sort of thought experiment, giving us ground as readers to explore social issues. What can we, as secular readers (or viewers, depending on the media), get out of classic and contemporary SF, aside from appreciating the story as a story?
  • Recommended Readings: Essays, articles, and SF from around the web.
  • Reading Group: Good blogs should foster dialog on their subjects. I’d like to start a monthly “reading group” series to discuss some of the above questions with regard to SF novels, non-fiction books, and if folks are interested short story and poetry collections. I’m happy to take recommendations for books, and I’ll create another post for that.

I’ll post more about each in the coming days.

About Me

And a few words about myself. I’ve been an atheist for over two decades now, and more recently, I’ve become more concerned about how I can be a better secular humanist and freethinker. For the past few years, I’ve been active in local and national secular groups as an organizer, writer, and volunteer.

Reading science fiction played an integral part in shaping my worldview–I credit SF classics such as Childhood’s End, Clarke’s novel featuring peaceful aliens with a demonic appearance, for helping me work through the questions I’d had about religion as a young teenager. And I find that coming back to SF is useful in exploring questions I have about society as it has been, as it is, and as it could be.

After finishing a PhD in English several years ago, I worked as a software developer (as one does), which has given me both a good grounding in the humanities and technology.

A few years ago, I began writing SF as well, and I have poems, stories, and essays published in various venues. And I’m delighted to be able to continue the sort of writing I’ve done elsewhere that has focused on SF here in the Freethought Blogs network.


  1. says

    Welcome to FTB! So glad to see you here, and I look forward to reading. On the speculative fiction front, I’ve been on a Nnedi Okorafor binge. I don’t think she’s capable of writing something I wouldn’t like.

  2. StevoR says

    Cool. Long time SF fan & erstwhile writer here and looking forward to reading your blog.

    I guess you are quite possibly familiar with them already but for good SF feminist novels I’d like to suggest Jan Marks The Ennead, Pamela Sargent’s Venus trilogy & the anthology Crown of Stars by James Tiptree Jr (Alice B. Sheldon) which are all among my favourites.

  3. John Morales says

    Alas, Childhood’s End was about evolutionary racial apotheosis — thinly disguised mysticism predicated on the reality of the paranormal and a teleological mindset.

    At best, speculative fiction, but not science fiction.

    (He did get better, and he did offer his 3rd Law, which is a good retort to goddish claims)

  4. says

    #1: @Caine: Thanks! Would be great to have one of Okorafor’s books as the selection for a monthly reading group post.

    #2: @StevoR: Recommendations are always welcome. I’ll have the “what should we read for November?” post up shortly.

    #3: @John Morales: You raise a number of good points. Part of the project of the blog is asking what do we do with classics, with those canonical authors whom we all know and who were so influential to the genre, but whose works are problematic. If I were making a recommendation now, I would steer readers to more contemporary novels, especially to younger readers as I was then.