I love reading about history, but I hate most historical fiction.
For me, fictionalizing history is justified only under three circumstances:
- The book, story, or play is terrifically written, and great art in and of itself. It’s full of memorable characters, vivid scenes, and lip-smacking language. Examples: Shakespeare’s “History” and “Roman” plays, Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
- The fictional work is set in a past time as an excuse for the author to examine universal ideas. Examples: The Name of the Rose, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
- The fictional work shines a new light on allegedly “familiar” history. Examples: Gore Vidal’s “Narratives of Empire” series, Philip Kerr’s “Berlin Noir” trilogy, Doctorow’s Ragtime.
Remembering Hypatia, on the other hand, is a book best forgotten. It’s written in such a lackluster fashion, by an author (Brian Trent) with a tin ear for language, no sense of drama, nary a deep thought, and, basically, a clear disrespect for the intelligent reader. I’m not going to justify my broad assertions with details here; I don’t have time to waste on that drivel. You can either trust me on this, or you can say “fuck you” and vote for four more years of the same illiterate Bush literary policies.
Now a word about the future of Nonbelieving Literati. I’ve tried to nurture this “club” for about a year and a half, and I’ve enjoyed doing so. We’ve had some interesting inter-blog discussions, and some of us have read books that we might not have otherwise picked up. But I’m unable – and unwilling – to continue being the energy source behind the scenes. It would be great if one of the members could take the initiative and choose the next book, bearing in mind that it should be a work of real literature that will have wide interest, rather than a simple atheist screed. If it were up to me, which it’s most definitely not, I’d pick Huckleberry Finn, the title character of which is a real free thinker whose ideas soar above those of so-called “civilized” society. But perhaps the new leader will have a better idea; I’m game to start reading anything, although I can’t promise I’ll finish it.
As far as No More Hornets is concerned, I will continue to post, but only sporadically. Economic exigencies have made it impossible for me to spend as much time writing for my own – and, I hope, your – entertainment. I, for one, have never needed any convincing to be an atheist, and I’m no longer interested in reading, writing, or commenting on poorly limned arguments against the existence of any gods. We’ve heard them all, dozens of times. The concept of gods is so stupid as to be beneath contempt; I’m tired of pretending to have rational “debates” with idiots who think there’s a higher power somewhere. My little blog is not going to convince the smug theo-thugs that they’re wrong. I’m hoping that my writing ability, however good or bad it may be, can be put to better use than spewing nonsense to flit around the ether.
Thanks for visiting here. I look forward to amusing you again soon.