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From: John Bishop <jbishop@zko.dec.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: Phillip Pullman [Digest urth.v030.n091]
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 16:10:13 

I'll chime in to agree with the Pullman consensus: the
third book fails to close the arc started in the first
two, and drops the ball thematically and practically.

(*mild spoiler*) A reviewer elsewhere [on the Bujold
list] spoke of "boinking to save the universe".  I therefore
re-read that section closely, and it's not certain they did
"boink", but it's likely--and it just doesn't make sense,
given what went before, or how things were shown to work in
the multiverse he proposed.
(*end spoiler*)

I liked _Golden_Compass_ enough to buy one of Pullman's
other novels, _Ruby_in_the_Smoke_, which turns out to have
all the same virtues and flaws as the "His Dark Materials"
triology in one volume: really good characters, a wonderfully
detailed portrayal of an imagined world (in this case 1878
London), an interesting situation--and a total collapse 
into nonsense at the end, when the author can't seem to
figure out how to end the story without breaking his own

(*Serious spoiler for _Ruby_in_the_Smoke_)
The villian is Mrs Holland (a nasty old lady who runs a
lodging house in Wapping and a gang on the side, and who
I hoped would continue because she was such a wonderful,
clever, perceptive villian) confronts the heroine at the
climax of the book.  When all is almost in her grasp, she
suddenly _goes_mad_ and _kills_herself_ in a couple of
paragraphs!  This absurd action is completely unforshadowed,
no matter how convenient for the heroine it is.
(*end spoiler)

There were other things to boggle at, but that one truly
shocked me--how could an author so competent would let that
text even get written, let alone printed escapes me.

What a shame.

	-John Bishop

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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