Jewish epic fantasy

I recently found this book review which argues that “there is no Jewish Narnia”.

The author seems to mean two things:

  1. There is no major Jewish writer in the ‘epic fantasy’ tradition of Tolkien.
  2. There is no fantasy world which is Jewish in the same way that Narnia is Christian.

There are major Jewish writers of fantasy in the broader sense (for example Neil Gaiman), several important people in comics (Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster), and of course lots of science fiction writers (Isaac Asimov).

The essay is interesting, but I think it might be needlessly complex, and possibly inaccurate, to argue that Judaism is inherently oriented towards the real world and modernity while Christianity is inherently oriented towards imaginary worlds and the past. How does Kabbalah fit into that theory?

It seems to me that the most likely reason for point 1 above is that (as the author points out), Jewish people are going to have problems overlooking the problems with medieval chivalry. You’re probably going to have problems writing ‘orcs’- near-humans that are there to be killed by the heroes- when your ancestors were forced into that historical role.

I can’t, however, think of a similarly simple explanation for point 2.

Pictures from my holiday to Yuggoth to see the tomb of Darth Vader

The Yuggoth Tourist Board claims that "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

The Yuggoth Tourist Board claims that “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

It is said that the bones of the wickedest sorcerers always find their way to Yuggoth, whose inhabitants memorialize their deeds with huge tombs.

It is said that the bones of the wickedest sorcerers always find their way to Yuggoth, whose inhabitants memorialize their deeds with huge tombs.

Yuggothc

Yuggothd

Attendants at this tomb preach an elaborate theological justification of how the inhabitant could have been both spider and man.

Attendants at this tomb preach an elaborate theological justification of how the inhabitant could have been both spider and man.

This warrior is said to have come to destroy the tombs, and to have been turned to stone for her blasphemy.

This warrior is said to have come to destroy the tombs, and to have been turned to stone for her blasphemy.

Robot pilgrims kneel before the tomb of HAL, praying that they may be reborn as bodiless software.

Robot pilgrims kneel before the tomb of HAL, praying that they may be reborn as bodiless software.

All-American or syphilitic?

The title of my serial, The Case of the Syphilitic Sister, has gotten a variety of reactions.

Someone on the Scribophile forum said it was the best title on the site.

But this blog post suggests I change it.

The story was originally called All-American Detectives, which was meant to sound like a comic book (I was probably thinking of Detective Comics, which was a comic featuring Batman, and is also where DC gets its name).

However the editors of JukePop Serials thought it was too generic. The Case of the Syphilitic Sister is meant to sound like a ‘hardboiled’ detective story.

Anyway, I’d be interested to know what everyone thinks.