A blinding flash of stupid

A Philip Marchand wrote a piece on National Post about fantasy and science fiction. As the piece’s abysmal silliness has been eviscerated elsewhere (and by Scott Lynch, no less), I just note a single unrelated point of concentrated awful that alone should tell there is something terribly wrong:

An atheist such as W. P. Kinsella ignores his own core beliefs and practically makes a living out of a sub-genre of fantasy, i. e. baseball fantasy.

There you go. “An atheist… ignores his own core beliefs” by writing fantasy. What the bleeding, effing hell is that supposed to mean?

As far as I know, the (only) core belief of atheism is “there is no god”, not “thou shalt not put a god in a story”.

As I’ve understood it, fiction is fiction whether set in world far away or on a copy of our world, and you introduce and use whatever set-pieces you need or like; whether or not your pieces exist in reality doesn’t matter at all. Baseball fantasy from an atheist is no more “ignoring core beliefs” than a story of dark gods and magic swords from a Christian, or a story with a god other than Allah from a Muslim. (Though people often bleat a variant of “This is a deeply Christian story as the main character suffers for others”, which given that selfless heroism is such a popular formula is about as meaningful as “This is a deeply mathematical story because each page is numbered… see?”)

Some writers create worlds closely patterned after some of their personal opinions of reality: Tolkien had trouble, both internal and external, over whether Middle-Earth was a properly Catholic place (did Orcs have souls? Was Manwe a god or an angel?), and Lovecraft’s tales are greatly enhanced by a reflection of his atheism: no god’s coming to help us as the alien Great Cthulhu comes. That doesn’t mean such synchronization is needful, or even particularly useful.

Repeat after me: A story with a dragon in it is not advocacy for the existence of dragons, and an a-dragonist writing it ignores no core beliefs of his…

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