Tales From the Mad Monk

I write stuff. You might like it.

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Tag: Humanist Fiction

Prydain is Better for your Kids than Narnia

Like many of us who read fantasy as adults, I got my start on Narnia. My first-grade teacher read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to the class. It was wonderful. Wardrobes with new worlds hidden in them, talking animals, magic, and a classic confrontation between good and evil where evil wins—what more could you ask for?

I devoured the rest of the books, and while I thought it was weird that they skipped through different characters and different periods, the fact that they were Christian allegory went entirely over my head.

Then I re-read them in junior high and picked up on the fact that they weren’t just an allegory for Christianity, they were an allegory for a particularly loathsome form of Christianity that prioritized obedience to authority and punishment for wrongdoing over being a decent person. I was discomfited.

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Our World is Shitty. Read About a Better One.

If you haven’t read the Halcyone Space series by LJ Cohen, you’ve made a horrible mistake and you should probably fix that ASAP. It’s YA Space Opera set in a dystopic future that’s much better than the stormy present.

The universe of Halcyone Space can be pretty miserable. Earth has suffered a climate catastrophe that has driven millions into permanent refugee camps where they exist as a permanent underclass. The government of the galaxy is incompetent, corrupt, and utterly uninterested in serving the people.

It’s got problems, but it’s a tremendously immersive world that feels like it still exists when it’s offscreen. Oh, and it’s the setting for a hell of a story.

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