Tag: Phillip Pullman

His Dark Materials…again!!!

I’ve mentioned these books before. This series by by Phillip Pullman is a true surprise. Hailed initially as a Harry Potter rip-off…you have only to read the first few pages to realize…this is sooo nothing like Harry’s little story. I am in the process of reading these again after seeing something truly remarkable.

I was reading a Newsweek article “What to Read Now. and Why.” and just after finishing the read (which by the way is an absolutely AWESOME recommendation…that entire list of books should be required reading in schools…probably should be read before even high school to be honest…anyhow, I digress.

Back on topic, I spotted another link that caught my eye on Newsweek, “Newsweek’s Top 100 Books: The Meta-List”. I scanned through it and sure enough…this is the current list of almost everything you’ll be required to read in school (again hopefully before high school)…except I notice two things:

1. There is virtually zero modern literature in here, which leads me to believe that the list maker is either an old English teacher or someone whose only regurgitating the same list of best-reads that I saw when I was 8 (with one exception, read #2)

2. The most recent literature on the list…is none other that the His Dark Materials trilogy. WOW?!

Not sure how THAT made it on the list, dont get me wrong, it’s definitely required reading in TonyTown…but it’s like whoever made that list of books stopped, dropped 50 years of literary prejudices, added that book to the list, then went back to being a literary bore.

My point is simple.

His Dark Materials has managed to make it into the prude’s list. Once you finish the trilogy, you will know why…it is nothing short of a dive into our own dark hearts and imagination. It is human nature, and nature, and hugely satire. The movie doesn’t count, since it completely eliminated the role of the Church which was a hugely important aspect of the plot, and probably the #1 reason the movie held virtually zero chance of getting booked for a sequel.

The title of the series, His Dark Materials, comes from seventeenth century poet John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Book 2:

Into this wilde Abyss,
The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixt
Confus’dly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless th’ Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more Worlds,
Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and look’d a while,
Pondering his Voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross.

— Book 2, lines 910–920

Whosoever spends such time as to let all of us…those who’ve learned to love and live for the inspiration that good books give us…spend some time experiencing their imagination rather than our own, spends their time most graciously, and is much appreciated.

His Dark Materials just got put on a list of some of the greatest literature written.

Anyhow off to sleep. Happy reading!!!

Elric…the Movie!!!!

I know…I know…everyone’s like..”Who? What?”

Elric, the main character of ~14 novels, a product of the profound imagination of Michael Moorcock…is finally getting his chance on the big screen. Michael Moorcock has been publishing best-selling literature about the Eternal Champion for almost 50 years. The Eternal Champion (of which Elric is but one incarnation) is an entity bound by fate the bring the universe in balance in the eternal struggle between the forces of Law and Chaos. The Elric Saga is VERY recommended…this isn’t your colorful rehash of Dragons and Heroes. Elric is not the good-guy-hero of the typical fantasy novel. He is an Anti-Hero, was born weak of stature, and often wracked with a sickness that reminds my of what would be a supernatural and incurable case of tuberculosis. The wandering Emperor of a supremely powerful and decadent race quickly realizing it’s exodus from the world, Elric’s only respite from his horrible sickness lays within the not-so-benign graces of a Sword rumored to be as age old as the Gods, and rumored to be capable of sustaining the wielder regardless of injury.

With only this little tidbit…you may realize this isn’t the kind of story with happy endings…the one great thing about Moorcock’s work is that you can count on there never being a “Happily Ever After.” His sagas end with the hero’s end…and are in all respects tragedy.

So…now that I have touched upon the literary addiction of those Eternal Champions…I am very happy to have just found out (albeit late) that Universal Studios, in conjunction with producer Chris Weitz (screenplay writer of Pullman’s The Golden Compass), are beginning the process of bringing Elric to the big screen. This has been a big dream of mine…to see Elric through the eyes of his creator.

I have concerns though, Chris Weitz’ association with Golden Compass bought him the ire of a very large amount of Christian activist groups who were already on their own crusade against everything Philip Pullman has written. Even the Vatican got involved denouncing the film and novels (Golden Compass is the first of three) as directly and intentionally anti-Christian. The novels associate the Christian church with an all-powerful regime in a sort of alternate reality where the Church is the reigning power of the world, and is convinced that the existence of other worlds directly jeopardizes their power. Philip Pullman himself is a very vocal Atheist, and the His Dark Materials trilogy reflects a very different view on religion as a whole, with very obvious events of portent related to events from Christian biblical texts. Even though Weitz went so far as to utterly remove the references to the Church in the movie, the aforementioned Crusade denounced the movie, severely hurting it’s revenue in the box offices as Christian sheeple everywhere took the advice of all those groups and would not see nor allow to be seen the movie…it’s probably one of the biggest events of censorship I’ve ever seen. Note to all you would-be activists…regardless of your spiritual denomination, if your faith is threatened by a publication, your faith is already in question. If you count the contrivances of fictional theatre as a serious threat to your faith…it’s your choice not to see the movie, no one is forcing you to…but to forbid people from viewing or reading said content in any capacity is censorship.

Anyhow…back to my shiny happy thoughts…

Elric…the movie…YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you’re interested, most of Moorcock’s works are actually out of print now…this will not last very long, as the movie promotion kicks in you can bet re-releases will follow, but for now it’s easiest to use Amazon to find good deals on the novels (there are like 40-50 novels by Moorcock). If you need a bibliography for Moorcock, I like to use fantasticfiction.com.

Happy reading, and a toast to what should be a truly powerful upcoming film!