Wednesday, June 24, 2015

His Dark Materials

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/119322.The_Golden_Compass?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr
His Dark Materials #1-2.5, Philip Pullman
I love this story, when I read it as an exemplar hybrid of fantasy and science fiction.  There are some truly magical concepts here that leave me breathless.  Truly.

But I can't just love the story, without being beat about the head with the allegory.  Pullman is so heavy-handed with his anti-dogma angle that it seriously dampened the afterglow of The Golden Compass.  I was so thrilled with the final pick-up and climax in a book I'd been warned was slow!  Then...as I allowed its full, holistic impact to incubate with me, as a novel...I became irritated.

I appreciate Pullman's right to his opinions, and in fact find him pretty quotable (his stuff on literature for all instead of dubbing a book "for children" alone?  Golden!)...but when it comes to these books, at least for now, my distaste for his method of delivery of these opinions soured the overall impact.

There is some unforgettable imagery in these books, but I stopped halfway through The Subtle Knife because my irritation with the allegory stomped all over my enjoyment of the narrative.

It happens sometimes.

Whether Pullman's issue is with organised religion, one religion alone, or the idea of God generally -- whatever his true mark -- it's not splendid for me.   I felt, while reading, these novels allow ample room for the interpretation that those who believe, invest in any of these, and exercise restraint, are rendered virtually soulless.  This is undeniably provocative. Consider me semi-provoked.  Even if I'm not classed amongst the institutions he's trying to stick it to, I'm not wowed by this kind of sticking it to...it's philosophical mudslinging couched in beautiful fiction.   He is brilliant, it appears, but oh how we disagree.


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