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Fiction: specific authors/books > Phillip Pullman and His Dark Materials

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message 1: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (last edited Feb 17, 2010 07:40AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments I was curious what some of the Christian Good Readers thought of Mr. Pullman and his writing His Dark Materials to criticize CS Lewis's Narnia trilogy.

I was going to read these books, because they sounded interesting to me, but when I found out that he is a virulent atheist with a very obvious agenda, it made me less enthusiastic to read these stories. Perhaps, some of you were more open-minded than I, and have read and enjoyed this trilogy.

What are you thoughts on the series, and Mr. Pullman's criticism of C.S. Lewis, if you feel like sharing that with us?


message 2: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 111 comments I have not read them yet. I also boycotted these works when I heard he was an activitist atheist. I should probably someday read them, if for no other reason than to post a review, trying to be unbiased, but still gazing through the lens of a Christian world view.

I have similar issues with Mormon authors - not nearly as bad, but I almost immediately see the world view differences when I read a Mormon author's work.


message 3: by Abigailann (new)

Abigailann (Abigail) | 3 comments I have read them and enjoyed them very much. I just read them as a story rather than a story with an agenda. Yes they do seem to have some anti-established church ideas in them, however I have met Philip Pullman and he seems a nice man aside from his atheism.


message 4: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (last edited Feb 17, 2010 09:50AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments Abigailann, did he talk about his reasons for writing the books and his feelings about CS Lewis's Narnia books? I recently got into a discussion with a non-believer who said that she felt that Narnia was non-subtle in its allegory and that Pullman wanted to write his series to prove that he could write a better series based on his atheist beliefs that was more subtle. I had also read about this on Wikipedia. Please feel free to correct any misapprehensions I might have.


message 5: by Abigailann (new)

Abigailann (Abigail) | 3 comments
I don't remember him mentioning Narnia in his talk I'm afraid (and I haven't personally heard that from any other source apart from Wikipedia). I will say that if that was his aim, then he has probably succeeded, at least to some extent.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments Thanks for your feedback, Abigailann.


message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1692 comments I haven't read any of Pullman's work, but I do know that he has been quoted to the effect that he wrote his trilogy with the intention of destroying everything that C. S. Lewis did with the Narnia series. He also repeats the stock smear that Lewis' portrayal of Calormen culture and society in that series is "racist." Since I have read the Narnia books, I can comment on that accusation: it's unjustified, and in my opinion intellectually dishonest.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments I had a discussion with a person who had issues with Lewis for alleged racism, as well. I decided I would reread Prince Caspian to decide if I saw some possibly racist stereotypes that I had missed the first time I read this series.


message 9: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1692 comments Actually, the alleged racism would supposedly be found in The Horse and His Boy and in the Last Battle (as well as one short section in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), because those are the only parts of the trilogy where the darker-skinned Calormenes appear. Since the villains in the other books, like Prince Caspian, are white, nobody attributes their bad qualities to racism. :-)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments I guess I'm going based on what one of my friends said about Prince Caspian the movie. I forsee a reread in my near future. Thanks, Werner.


message 11: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1692 comments You're welcome, Danielle! I haven't seen the movie adaptation of Prince Caspian, but my oldest daughter said she and her husband were disappointed in it; they felt it didn't follow the book nearly as well as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe did, and didn't have a very coherent storyline. (She didn't say anything about racist elements, though.)


message 12: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1692 comments Getting back to Pullman, though, I knew there was a recently-published serious book about the His Dark Materials trilogy written by a Christian fan of Pullman; but I couldn't recall the title or author, and it took me a while to run it down. For those interested, it's Dark Matter: Shedding Light on Philip Pullman's Trilogy, His Dark Materials by Tony Watkins (InterVarsity Press, 2006). I haven't read the book myself, but reviewers in Booklist and Publisher's Weekly praised it as "smart and wisely restrained," "solid, substantially sourced, and well-written." It's also balanced; the author is "unafraid of taking issue with... Pullman's attack on God and Christianity," but still sees literary value in his work. (Watkins is managing editor of the website Damaris' Culture Watch.)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments That book sounds interesting. I appreciate the information, Werner.


message 14: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1692 comments Danielle, when the subject of racism in the Narnia series came up, I remembered that I'd posted a long comment about that on another Goodreader's review of The Chronicles of Narnia; but I couldn't recall his name, or the exact time frame. Finally, I've been able to hunt it down in my "comments" section. If you're interested, the link is:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... . (My comment is message #6.)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments Thank you for sharing that with us. I loved your analytical approach to this review, which I think was rather simplistic. In my heart, I have trouble believing that CS Lewis was a racist. He was much to analytical and learned to hold such backwards beliefs.

The problem is that people look at the Narnia books with the intention to criticize them, instead of reading them as fiction. If you are not interested in the spiritual message, you have two choices: 1)not to read them, and 2)to read them as fantasy novel and to leave it at that.


message 16: by Aquanetta (new)

Aquanetta (frightening) | 8 comments To tell the truth, His Dark Materials Trilogy is one of my favorite books. I don't judge books by their author, rather by the story. O.K the stuff about the Authority and angels WERE rather... but still I think it's a good trilogy.


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