Fantasy & Belief

Kirby, D. Fantasy and Belief: Exploring the relationship between fiction, media and alternative religion London & New York: Routledge, 2014

The book explores fiction-oriented beliefs, their situation within the western tradition, and how they work in digital worlds. It’s prohibitively expensive, but it is a really good book. Pretty academic, though, just in case that wasn’t clear.

Religion and spirituality are being transformed in our late modern and secularising times. New forms of belief proliferate, often notable for not being limited to traditional systems of reference or expression. Increasingly, these new religions present worldviews which draw directly upon popular culture - or occulture - in fiction, film, art and the internet. Fantasy and Belief explores the context and implications of these types of beliefs through the example of the Otherkin community. The Otherkin are a loosely-affiliated group who believe themselves to be in some way more than just human, their non-humanity often rooted in the characters and narratives of popular fantasy and science fiction. Challenging much current sociological thinking about spirituality and consumption, Fantasy and Belief reveals how popular occulture operates to recycle, develop, and disseminate metaphysical ideas, and how the popular and the sacred are combining in new ways in today's world.