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Thread: Gaiman Pullman and C.S.Lewis

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    tWebber
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    Gaiman Pullman and C.S.Lewis

    I must say it seems everytime I look at something lewis wrote somehow thewriters Pullman and Gaiman come to play.
    Looking at pullman and gaimans works however I am not only unimpressed but revulsed.

    The Narnia series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine and Gaiman and Pullmans works often take a stab at the series. Stabs I find missed entirely.

    Both Gaiman and Pullman accuse the narnia series of being sexist and preachy. I heavily disagree. If anything I think pullman and gaiman are hypocritical in this criticism as Pullmans series of His Dark Devices goes far into making it clear that his books and characters want to kill God. I also find it Ironic that the two accuse narnia of sexism when Pullmans main character gets away using wiles and lies to get what she wants.

    Gaiman I have less knowledge off but his fiction on what happens to the character of Susan completely fails to see the point lewis was making. Susan is still queen and her attempt to act adultish reflecting her desire to go back to the childhood of narnia reflects lewis own statement on how in growing up you learn to embrace your childhood not throw it out.

    Pullmans god figure is also a person plating Hod in a universe that is basicly pantheistic. The theology suffers when you realize that the gnostic and pantheistic themes fail to meet the evidence given by reality. The narnia series on the other hand uses fiction to bring people closer to the truth and splendor of creation and the creator.

    In short I would much rather have a world of meaning with a talking lion who cares about peoples wellbeing than a caustic world of wannabes .
    Last edited by RumTumTugger; 02-03-2017 at 01:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWall View Post
    Gaiman I have less knowledge off but his fiction on shat happens to the character of Susan completely fails to see the point lewis was making.
    I am still unimpressed by The Problem of Susan - or rather badly impressed.

    Gaiman has done work which is readable, but he has also done work which is pointlessly critical of what others than he believe to be holy (The Eucharist) or consider inspiring (Narnia) + some weird nostalgia for H. P. Lovecraft. The readable work I mean is Stardust.

    As to The Problem of Susan, the fact he had written such a thing (I had only read about his short story, not yet read it) made me angry and also eager to write sth better on what had happened to Susan after the Railway Accident.
    http://notontimsblogroundhere.blogspot.fr/p/apologetics-section.html

    Thanks, Sparko, for telling how I add the link here!

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    tWebber Boxing Pythagoras's Avatar
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    I've never actually read Pullman's work, so I'll refrain from commenting on that. However, I absolutely love Gaiman's work. Still, I had not read The Problem with Susan until seeing this post.

    Personally, I enjoyed it. The stark and very intentional juxtaposition of the realistic, adult short story next to the fantastic, children's epic is definitely jarring. As is true for so many others, I loved the Narnia series, as a child. Whatever one's view of the theology thinly veiled behind the Narnia text, it's quite easy to see how Gaiman could have been inspired to write The Problem. Children's stories very often have the lovely boon of ending suddenly, as if there is no more to the lives of those characters than what is contained within. The Problem seems a perfectly reasonable extension of Susan into the future. Even if you do agree with the theology represented at the end of Last Battle, it's easy to see how Susan might not have understood it. How she might have grown into exactly the sort of woman Gaiman depicts, here.

    Neil Gaiman loves children's stories. That is very, very obvious by even a cursory reading of his work. However, the curious nature about loving something that much is that you therefore think about it quite deeply, and this can often lead to recognizing problems you might not have noticed as a child. This whole theme is as thinly veiled in The Problem with Susan as is the theology in the Narnia series. Rather intentionally, I think.

    I honestly don't think that Gaiman missed Lewis' point, at all. Rather, I think that Gaiman believes that Susan, herself, may have come to different conclusions than did her author. Whether those conclusions are right or wrong is another matter, entirely.
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every hidden truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
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    I've not read Pullman at all. I haven't read The Problem with Susan but I've read his other stuff fairly extensively and I like it a lot. I think he compares favorably to Lewis as a story teller if you can look past his point of view, which usually isn't heavy handed in most of his short stories. It's worth noting that Tolkien had some critiques of Lewis's story telling.

    fwiw,
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    Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy had a lot of problems, especially in the second and third books. The first book has some rather obvious anti-religious (or at least anti-church) sentiments, but they're at least a background part of the story than the foreground and it's more of an attack on organized religion getting too much power over the government. It's a little obnoxious and doesn't really seem necessary, but the general sentiments wouldn't necessarily be controversial even to a religious person.

    The second and third books, on the other hand, are where it all gets ramped up to being an all-out assault on religion itself, to the detriment of the story. It's actually a pretty big swerve in the plot that you wouldn't really expect from the first book, and I remember one particularly preachy chapter being entirely devoted to how a particular character lost their faith for reasons that the book seems unaware are profoundly stupid. The especially crazy thing is that Pullman complained about Narnia being religious propaganda (even though Christianity is never even explicitly mentioned in the series), which basically makes him into a pretty big hypocrite for writing something that's far more propagandistic than Narnia ever was.

    It's a real shame, because there were actually some pretty interesting ideas in the series that unfortunately get thrown to the wayside because I guess Pullman wanted an anti-Narnia that much.

    I don't really know much about Gaiman other than the fact he wrote a rather pretentious blog post about how people have no right to be frustrated with George R.R. Martin not bothering to finish A Song of Ice and Fire.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    I had to force my way through the last bit of His Dark Materials (though I managed to finish it, so I've attempted worse). I think the only Neil Gaiman work I've read is Good Omens, a collaboration with Terry Pratchett.
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    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    I don't really know much about Gaiman other than the fact he wrote a rather pretentious blog post about how people have no right to be frustrated with George R.R. Martin not bothering to finish A Song of Ice and Fire.
    Writers. What do those guys do all day? Anyway, Martin--now there's a guy I gave up on, especially when I discovered the Grail and Anglo-Saxon series by Cornewll. I do like the Dunc and Egg stories though.
    "Shall we mourn here deedless forever, a shadow-folk, mist-haunting, dropping vain tears in the
    thankless sea?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    The stark and very intentional juxtaposition of the realistic, adult short story next to the fantastic, children's epic is definitely jarring
    I'd have other names for The Problem of Susan than realistic and adult ... for one thing, I think someone's dying in the story (it was last year I read it and I am regularly short of sleep), and so we have a paradox of knowing what dying people are thinking.

    Obviously a thing Gaiman has done along with Pratchett too.
    http://notontimsblogroundhere.blogspot.fr/p/apologetics-section.html

    Thanks, Sparko, for telling how I add the link here!

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