Monday, August 08, 2005

This is completely unfair....

....and if anyone gave a similar treatment to Tollers or Jack, I'd be deeply sniffy. But it made me laugh and laugh and laugh....

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, Condensed

8 comments:

Abigail Nussbaum said...

Hey, Andrew, don't look now, but... (and also)

Glad you enjoyed the Pullman condensation.

American Ronin said...

It's only unfair if it's not true. Near as I can tell, they're pretty much dead on the money here.

Mike Taylor said...


Hey, Andrew, don't look now, but... (and also)


I got hooked by the site that you pointed me to. While most of the condensations are mean-spirited, this one really appealed to me: I laughed out loud:
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever

(BTW., Pullman is a superb writer but an ignorant and stupid moral philosopher. I loved reading the HDM trilogy, but I doubt I will read it again for a long time; whereas the Narnia books, to pick an obvious counter-example, draw me back again and again.)

Tom R said...

My co-blogger and I have been watching this project with great interest: see comments at http://fathermckenzie.blogspot.com/2004/12/deicide-dropped-from-pullman.html, http://fathermckenzie.blogspot.com/2004/08/ridicules-of-chronic.html, http://fathermckenzie.blogspot.com/2004/12/when-i-fight-authority-authority.html, and http://fathermckenzie.blogspot.com/2005/08/issues-with-authority-update.html.

Andrew and Abigail both get appropriate hat-tips.

Mike Taylor said...

Thanks, Tom, interesting links.

The curious thing, of course, is that Pullman is all sound and fury on the subject of deicide, but signifies nothing when it comes down to it: SPOILER WARNING. Among the many anticlimaxes of the last _HDM_ book is that there is no confrontation between the Authority and anyone else - the Authority just dies of old age quietly in a corner while all the real action is going on elewhere. What's going on here? Did Pullman chicken out? Doesn't seem likely.

I think the most charitable interpretation of Pullman's trilogy (which by the way I thought was very exciting, lots of fun, and fascinating in places) is that he thinks the established church has nothing whatsoever to do with the Real God. But then, the Church in his stories have nothing to do with his Authority either, so frankly I am a bit at a loss to understand what point he is making.

That said, I don't know if I've ever read anything that haunted me as strongly as the image (in the first book) of the boy holding on the bit of dried fish.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

I think the most charitable interpretation of Pullman's trilogy ... is that he thinks the established church has nothing whatsoever to do with the Real God. But then, the Church in his stories have nothing to do with his Authority either, so frankly I am a bit at a loss to understand what point he is making.

My impression was that Pullman kept trying to have his cake and eat it too. First he tells us that God definitely exists, but that the Church doesn't represent his will. Then, he tells us that God is dead, that the Authority - who is now senile and powerless - usurped his position, that the kingdom of heaven is now ruled by the chief angel, and that these angels are definitely in cahoots with the Church (it's also difficult to believe in the gulf between God and organized religion when there appears to be only one such religion in his world). He pays lip service to the notion that organized religion and God are two separate things, but when one of his characters decides to go up against the Church's corruption, he does so not by nailing a proclamation to the door of the cathedral but by going up against the hosts of heaven.

A few months ago there was a minor scandal when the producers of the HDM film announced that they would be toning down the anti-religion stance of the books, and Pullman was quoted (apparently very liberally) as saying, basically, I took the money and ran. He posted a clarification on his website in which he went on to talk about the difference between God and organized religion, and said that, in his opinion, the books made it perfectly clear that the corruption was in the Church, not in God. He also implied pretty strongly that anyone who didn't see this in the books was stupid, uneducated, or a bad reader.

I wasn't a big fan of his before, but that put me off him for life.

Helen Louise said...

I couldn't resist it. I just had to have a go at condensing the last series of Doctor Who. Thanks for the inspiration :)

cslewisfan221 said...

Apparently, there are Narnia Events going on all over the country that are movie "sneek peeks". I just found some information at Narnia Resources