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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Another Narnia

While looking at reactions to the essay asking why there is no Jewish Narnia (earlier discussed here, I noticed that may of the commenters seemed to think the question was about the supposed lack of Jewish fantasy writers. If we look at the best-known work by the best-known Jewish sf/fantasy writer (the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov), we see it's about someone who predicts and produces a movement to set up a revived analog of the Roman Empire with some partial success when last heard from. In other words, it's Islam with the serial numbers filed off just as Narnia is Christianity with the serial numbers filed off. (I have not forgotten that Al-Qaeda is Arabic for Foundation.)

1 Comments:

Anonymous Cambias said...

Joseph:

That's a very unusual interpretation, but I have my doubts.

First, at the time Asimov was writing, Islam was still considered simply part of the "barbarism" which destroyed the Roman world. It's especially unlikely that Asimov, an atheist from a Jewish background, would have considered Islam a positive force either in the past or the present.

Second, the historical analog for the Foundation is blindingly obvious. It's the Church -- only made atheist-friendly. The Foundation preserves knowledge like the monasteries, and it manipulates political leaders with miracles and mumbo-jumbo. Essentially it's the Nice Church of Science.

The analogy starts to break down with the arrival of the Second Foundation in later books, and falls apart completely with the whole secret immortal robots material. But during the cribbin' from Gibbon era of the early Foundation stories, I think the Foundation = Church identification is very strong.

9:31 AM  

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