Tag Archives: fantasy worlds

Abner’s Literary Felony

Here’s how Michelangelo painted it, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Successful fantasy author “Abner Doubleday” (not his real name) has, in the series of his novels that I’m reading–novels which he says are dedicated to the glory of God–committed almost every literary offense under the sun. And I’m only halfway through the second book.

But Abner is full of surprises, and yesterday he provoked me to cry out.

If any of you folks out there contemplates writing a fantasy novel, please be guided by these essays.

In addition to packing his novels chock-full of fantasy cliches, Abner has discovered, and indulged in, the vice of allowing the world of here and now to break in on the fantasy and control it.

See, he’s writing novels about the ancient world before the Flood, retelling the early chapters of the Book of Genesis as a comic book without pictures. The villainous evil bad guys (that’s how he’d say it) are supposed to be divine beings who rebelled against God and came to earth as false gods. They are devoid of redeeming features.

Abner has also made them modern, 21st century liberals, only stopping short of giving them names like Barbara Boxer or Barack Obama. But at every opportunity, these beings, these devils, yap about “hope and change” and “fundamental transformation” of the ancient world, do everything in their power to turn all human beings into welfare dependents, invent modern feminism and inflict it on the antediluvian world–I know it’s only a matter of time before he drags in the minimum wage.

As much as I detest liberalism, and loathe all its works, may I be fricaseed if I ever cram it into one of my novels. Our world’s political and social issues have no business cropping up in a fantasy world.

Why not?

Well, obviously, if you suddenly start writing about Climate Change or Income Inequality, the reader is going to remember that he’s not actually in a fantasy world but only reading a stupid book whose author is trying to lecture to him. Any reader with a modicum of self-respect will walk away from it.

But more importantly, the issues specific to our time, no matter how important they are right now, are only fleeting symptoms of the great disease–sin. The great problem is the Fall of Man, which has been with us from the beginning and has taken many forms. In my lifetime, for instance, it was communism in my younger days and Obamaism today.

It doesn’t matter what we call them. They are all aspects of the same thing.

By importing the Democrat Party agenda into the ancient world, Abner has trivialized the far greater issues raised by the Bible–issues which remain the same from Genesis through Revelation. Contemporary liberalism will pass away and be replaced by something else just as bad, and bad for the same reasons.

It all boils down to the same thing.

The Serpent told Eve, “Ye shall be as gods,” if only you’re smart enough to disobey God’s command not to eat of the forbidden fruit. And Eve believed him. And Adam believed Eve, and tried to blame the whole business on God Himself: “The woman that you gave me, Lord, she made me do it…” No wonder the pair of ’em got kicked out of Paradise.

 


The Wacky World of Herodotus

What do you say about a guy whose books are still in print 2,400 years after he wrote them? Who has two nicknames–“the father of History” and “the father of lies”?

Herodotus wrote the history of the wars between Greece and Persia, but people still read him for all the cool stuff he included in his “researches.” What kind of cool stuff? How about: giant ants as big as dogs; gold guarded by griffins; female warriors; how to practice the art of mummification; bedroom politics in the Persian royal court; incredibly barbaric  customs of people you never heard of?

All this and more!

I’ve been re-reading Herodotus lately. The man couldn’t pass up a tall tale. Some of them are even true.

For those who like to read fantasy, the “real world” described herein is not too far removed from the worlds of Narnia or the Arabian Nights. And for those who want to write fantasy–well, you won’t find many better role models than Herodotus.


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