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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: (urth) Pullman Again
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 16:42:03 

Okay, so based on the discussion here I picked up a copy of "The Golden
Compass" and finished it last night, and have drawn two equal and opposite

1. This is a brilliant novel.
2. This is a lousy fantasy novel.

More detail may perhaps be required.

It is a marvellous _novel_. The characters and action are just plain
The end of Chapter Two in particular, which pulls the rug totally out from
the reader's feet, but in such a _gentle_ way ("... because they were both
and they were both anxious") utterly blew me away. This man can write.

But he hasn't a clue about the logic of fantasy, at the small or at the
large level.

At the small level there are things like the naming of names. "Daemon."
Okay, I 
understand that it's supposed to come from the Greek _daimonion_ and really
means "spirit," and that it's the person's soul (the way the armour is the
soul). But there's no _reason_ for calling them daemons; it's just an
choice to irritate easily-irritated Christians. Ditto for "experimental
it is neither, and the words just mislead.

On a larger scale: does anyone, _can_ anyone, believe that in a world this 
different -- where every human has an externalized animus/anima, where bears
are sentient, etc. -- the history of the world would be _similar_ enough
someone called John Calvin would become something called Pope of something
called the Catholic Church? (I set aside, as irrelevant Christian-baiting
nature of "the Church" in this world.) 

The logic of fantasy just isn't there, and irritates me far more than the
religious whomping.

Nonetheless... it's a cracking good book. I just wish Pullman knew something

about fantasy; then it could have been a _great_ book.


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

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