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From: "Alice Turner" <pei047@attglobal.net>
Subject: (urth) Pullman again
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 12:04:49 

Said Dan'l re =The Golden Compass=:

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

I don't think that, with a real writer, it's quite so cut-and-dried.
(Most writers of commercial fantasy are not, by my definition, "real"
writers; Pullman, otoh, most certainly is.)

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

Can't you accept that he is, at one level, joking? And at another being
deliberately provocative? This is quite okay by me, more so than
Madeleine l'Engel maundering on about mitochondria and God in a rather
better known fantasy series for children. Pullman is quite genuinely
(imo) repelled by the efforts of a lot of classic fantasy to push
religious agenda, and he's deliberately countering it--but with humor.

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

Dan'l, that is a *joke*. Maybe not the best joke in the world, but
still. It also serves another purpose--it's a signal that he is not
targeting Catholicism or Anglicanism or any other ism, that they're all
in it together. It's the same impetus that causes him to cast witches as
good guys. (Not entirely, as you will see if you continue the series.)

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

It doesn't irritate me. It is, perhaps, a reminder to the reader that he
is reading a book, written by an author, who can do as he likes.

> Nonetheless... it's a cracking good book. I just wish Pullman knew
> about fantasy; then it could have been a _great_ book.

I think it just might be the best juvenile, and even the best fantasy of
the 20th century. Contenders, please? (Single books, only.)


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

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