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Last week when I was at Escape School co-founder Rob took me aside to give me some advice – which was more or less:

You need to be clearer about what you’re trying to say, and there seems to be rather a lot of it. You should put it in a book.

I confessed it was something Nikki Fishman and I had talked about from time to time but never got further than the title – The Reluctant Time Traveller. I explained that I don’t like writing on my own, if it’s anything longer than a blog, and Nikki and I had been too busy with other things. Rob encouraged me to get on with it and he added a subtitle to Nikki’s title – so now it’s “The Reluctant Time Traveller – How to Survive and Thrive When the System Shifts” – title by Nikki, subtitle by Rob.

I told Nikki what Rob had said and we agreed I’d get started. I wanted a co-author and cast my mind around various people and organisations that have influenced my thinking on topics that will feature in the book. Dark Mountain has been a heavy influence and so I thought back over years of Dark Mountain people and events – and asked around a bit and came up with the co-author that I needed – see the book introduction below.

So now it is started and we’re writing it in an open way, so that other people can influence how it shapes up along the way.

I told David Bovill what we were planning to do, and asked if we could do it using the new wiki software he showed me after Unplugged last week. He advised us to buy some Reluctant Time Traveller domain names (which I’ve done) and he’ll set things up so they point to the new wiki. and teach us how to use it. Meanwhile we’re posting the start of it here.

The Reluctant Time Traveller

“The Reluctant Time Traveller – How to Survive and Thrive When the System Shifts”– a collaborative work by Pamela McLean, Za Nonsuch, and others (past present and future) who are influencing our thinking along the way

Dark Mountain

Pamela McLean and and Za Nonsuch met through a Dark Mountain workshop on modern myth-making. The Dark Mountain project brings together people who have different perspectives, and who connect around their concerns for the present and the future:

The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.

                – From Uncivilisation: the Dark Mountain Manifesto


Pamela McLean (previously Pam Fiddy) has wide experience of innovative projects related to people and ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Her current focus is on the Internet and how we adjust to life in an increasingly interconnected world. Her work grew from an Open University course in the 1970’s, which was about information-handling and decision-making. When the course touched on computers and people-centred system design, it stimulated an interest that altered the direction of her life. She shares lessons from her practical work by writing about it (preferably in collaboration with someone else). Her writing is factual.


“Za Nonsuch” is a story-teller (who works under a variety of names). She is interested in the power of storytelling to give insights into the human condition, and how we use myths to connect the past, present and future. She usually shares her stories through speech, movement and drama, enjoying the direct feedback that she gets by “working live” with “real people” in “real time”. She feels that a printed version of a story is a lesser version, “frozen in time”, compared to a live performance which is responsive and never the same twice.

An open collaboration

“The Reluctant Time Traveller” is Pamela and Za’s first project together. They plan to collaborate openly via the Internet “in the cloud”, enabling others to connect with the work while it is in progress. “The cloud” can be thought of as a “meeting place” that exists beyond the usual limits of time and distance. Working openly “in the cloud”  ties in with Pamela’s practical interests in the Internet and life in an increasingly inter-connected world. It also enables Za to experience feedback from an “online audience” in ways that may influence her story-telling and the interweaving of fact, fantasy and fable.

Influences and influencers

Za is keeping mysterious about her influences for now. We’ll acknowledge specific ones, as appropriate, as the work unfolds. Pamela wants to thank in advance everyone who (knowingly or unknowingly) has influenced her thinking. Please keep doing so, and as we get settled in to the wiki space please consider how you might work with us there.