Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jewish Fantasy Literature

Michael Weingrad, a professor of Jewish Studies, has written an excellent essay on the dearth of fantasy literature written from a Jewish perspective: "Why There Is No Jewish Narnia". I'm more of a science-fiction kind of guy, but I was surprised by this. I mean, if Orson Scott Card can write fantasy from a Mormon perspective (the Alvin Maker series), why wouldn't there be much more written from a much older and deeper religious tradition? While science-fiction has tended in the past to be iconoclastic in terms of religion -- although I sense a change in direction in this recently, such as in the novels of John Scalzi and John Ringo -- there is still a significant amount of science-fiction written from a Jewish perspective, not to mention an Islamic perspective. So, again, why this absence of Jewish fantasy literature?

Weingrad answers this by inserting his in-depth knowledge of Judaism and its history into an also in-depth knowledge of fantasy (as well as SF and related genres). The result is an outstanding essay that I simply can't quote in part. Read the whole thing.

1 comment:

Matko said...

The hebrew culture and Judaism are rich on folk stories and mythology. One only has to remember something like Golem. It is a shame there is no good contemporary jewish fantasy.