Catherine's Reviews > Lyra's Oxford

Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman
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Jan 08, 12

bookshelves: bookcrossing
Read in February, 2008

I devoured this greedily in one afternoon and enjoyed the other bits and pieces as well as the story.

At a recent Cardiff bookcrossing meet several non-readers of fantasy discussed why we could cope with some but not most: it's to do with there being a consistent universe which, while different from ours, obeys a coherent set of physical and social rules. The additional material in this little volume supports and extends the world of His Dark Materials. I had good fun comparing the names of the Oxford colleges on Pullman's map to their real names - can't say I worked out the rationale behind them all, but I enjoyed All Souls being transformed into St Scholastica's (not just because it seems appropriate for a post-graduate only college, but also because I have a soft spot for Benedict's sister) and was unsurprised to note the non-existence of my own college amongst others ... but then Keble, Pusey, Newman et al would have had nothing to protest at in Pullman's World, would they?

The politics on the back of the map reminded me of the world of Thursday Next. I think the similarity they have in my head was described best in an interview I saw with someone who had made props for the film - there are aspects of modernity combined with earlier ideas evolved to a greater extent than they had a chance to here, where they were supplanted by technologies missing from the fantasy worlds.
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