Review of “Incarnate” by Dani Atkinson

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay


There isn’t too much of a plot to this, only an explanation. A mother talks to her small child—probably an infant—and explains why he is god. He’s not god in the sense that all people are divine, but in the sense that he really once was god: smiting people, blessing people, and all that follows. He had an adoring priesthood.

The problem with all that, as the mother explains her restless child, is that humanity was commanded to love a god who was impossible to love. Yet, it was impossible NOT to love him. How were they going to work their way out of this dilemma?


What I found striking about this little piece was not only the cleverness with which people solved the problem of loving a violent, abusive god but the author’s use of language. Most of this is done in baby talk, but it is not mocking or condescending. Her opening paragraph reads:

Once there was a god. And that god was you. Yes, you, sweetie!

Those words are hard to read without hearing the opening of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

While the ending was logical, I wasn’t crazy about it. If the premise is not unique, the presentation is novel and entertaining. I enjoyed it.


About the only bio information I could find on this author was that she’s been published three or four times in Daily Science Fiction, and she hates writing author bios.

The story can be read here.

Title: “Incarnate”
Author: Dani Atkinson
First published: Daily Science Fiction, August 17, 2020

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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