Philip Pullman Wins CILIP Carnegie Medal

June 23rd, 2007

If I have this correct, in the U.S. the title is The Golden Compass., the first installment of His Dark Materials.

Pulled from the Sunday London Times: 

 [ Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights has been voted the best children’s book of the past 70 years by the public, it was announced today.

The author received 40 per cent of the total votes cast in an online poll, beating Mary Norton’s The Borrowers and Alan Garner’s The Owl Service.

 The Top Ten “Carnegie of Carnegies” list was compiled by the organisers of Britain’s most prestigious prize in children’s literature, the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

The Carnegie does not offer a cash prize, but is sought after by children’s writers because of its unique judging process. Unlike other literary awards, which seek submissions from publishers, the Carnegie takes its nominations from librarians.

Pullman said: “I am humbled and honoured that Northern Lights has been chosen from among so many wonderful books. Personally I feel they got the initials right but not the name. I don’t know if the result would be the same in a hundred year’s time; maybe Philippa Pearce would win then.”

The top ten list drew criticism when it was released in April for not including some of the best-known and most successful children’s writers of the era. Enid Blyton, J. K. Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson were not on the list because they have never won the prize.

“The competition was formidable,” said Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust and one of the top ten judges. “The top ten includes some of the greatest children’s writing of the 20th and 21st centuries.”

Mr Douglas said that Northern Lights was a deserving winner and that Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy had “redefined children’s literature and changed the way we think about children’s books. They are classics.”

Pullman’s books have sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 37 languages. The Golden Compass has been made into a film which is due out in December, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.  ]

Love, C.

43 Responses to “Philip Pullman Wins CILIP Carnegie Medal”

  1. Nicole Lon 24 Jun 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Isn’t it interesting that all three books mentioned are “fantastic” in some way? the Golden Compass has magic and alternate universes, the Borrowers are the little people that live in big people’s houses, and the Garner book is either King Arthur or keltic mythology related (it’s been at least 20 years since I read it, so my memory is not perfect on the last).

  2. Lois Tiltonon 24 Jun 2007 at 6:12 pm

    I simply do not see the appeal of the Pullman books.

  3. David Louis Edelmanon 25 Jun 2007 at 8:45 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Lois. I thought “His Dark Materials” was lousy, lousy, lousy.

  4. Lois Tiltonon 25 Jun 2007 at 9:32 am

    And it went downhill from there!

  5. Constance Ashon 25 Jun 2007 at 10:09 am

    Well, I liked them very much, particularliy the first volume, that featured Lyra. When ‘her’ adventure got highjacked by the boy, I didn’t like it quite as much.

    However, one might venture that one of the reasons it is so well received it that it perceives religion as a force for evil and idiocy. Or, at least blows out of the water the comfort in the belief that a Big Daddy god of the universe is a force for good. It pits the Enlightenment against the Dark Ages, if you will. It is the attraction of the inadvertant Miltonian portrayal early on in Paradise Lost of Lucifer, of Carey’s diptych, Godslayer, with a tremendous number of truly imaginative devices and interesting protagonists and antagonists.

    You might say that its appeal shares that of Christopher Hitchens’ recent book, God Isn’t Great, which has sold over 300,000 copies since its publication about three weeks ago.

    It is possible for politics to affect what we write and how we receive it. Even ‘fantasy’ can be shaped by ideas from the ‘real world.’ Sometimes those works are the ones that resonate the most strongly with readers.

    Love, C.

  6. Lois Tiltonon 25 Jun 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I was particularly aware of the position Pullman was taking, since it is superficially much like my own, but it was extremely dissonant.

  7. Laurieon 25 Jun 2007 at 1:49 pm

    I read all three books in His Dark Materials and it was rough going. I just found nothing to like about them.

  8. Constance Ashon 25 Jun 2007 at 2:16 pm

    It is interesting that several of us register not just dislike but extreme dislike of His Dark Materials.

    So, can we look into the reasons why and wherefore comes that dislike?

    Could we also look into what the reasons for the dislike might signify within the larger context of genre and literature? For instance, does anyone think the books are badly written? Possess foolish, unbelievable characters? A plot that is unbelievable — i.e. reader cannot suspend faculties of disbelief?

    I’m curious to see if there will be responses to these questions, and, if there are responses, what they will be!

    There is nothing that everybody likes, that speaks to everyone — not even … dom dah DOM dah BUFFY!!!!! (shakes head in bewilderment as to how that could remotely be possible, but indeed I have encountered people who say so!).

    Thank you.

    Love, C.

  9. Lois Tiltonon 25 Jun 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Buffy – feh

  10. lyssabitson 25 Jun 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Heh, I seem so out of step with the people on this blog sometimes. 😉 I loved His Dark Materials, but I absolutely cannot abide RR Martin’s series and have bit my tongue every time people have talked about it.

    Whether you like or dislike Pullman’s story, I think the point about it changing children’s literature is valid. It’s certainly not the same kind of story that is normally marketed to children. I didn’t discover it until recently, and I was surprised to learn it was a children’s book. It’s dark and much more complex than the other stories I’ve read in this genre, and certainly deals with much more abstract topics then I normally expect, questioning authority and dogma. There are plenty of stories for children with dark elements, but I don’t know, these felt different. No easy answers.

    Heh, unlike Constance I liked the books way better after Will “hijacked” Lyra’s adventure.. while hers was a slightly more interesting story in the beginning, I founds the character to be pretty annoying, and was happy when a more moderating interest came into her life.

  11. Constance Ashon 25 Jun 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Lois — I blow you smoochies!

    For which, I do understand, you have nearly the same aversion as you do for Buffy!

    But — you didn’t say why you dislike His Dark Materials.

    Love, C.

  12. Constance Ashon 25 Jun 2007 at 6:20 pm

    It’s dark and much more complex than the other stories I’ve read in this genre, and certainly deals with much more abstract topics then I normally expect, questioning authority and dogma. There are plenty of stories for children with dark elements, but I don’t know, these felt different. No easy answers.

    That was interesting, lyssabits — would you care to expand on your observations?

    Love, C.

  13. Beth S.on 25 Jun 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Despite the award, these books were not written for children. Pullman never intended them as such. It was his publisher who decided to market them as children’s books.

    I disliked the series because Pullman let an agenda get in the way of telling a good story. I enjoyed the first volume, the second one less so, and the third one was painful to read. Why? Because it was clear that he was an Author on a Mission, and there is nothing more tedious, IMO. In fact, he himself said that he wrote the books as a kind of atheist counter to Narnia, which he despised.

    Well, fine. If Pullman wanted to create a world where he could turn Christian theology on its head, that’s his right. But in the end, he committed the same transgression he accused Lewis of: letting the message bludgeon both story and reader. And I found his solution for saving the world distasteful.

  14. Constance Ashon 25 Jun 2007 at 7:04 pm

    And I found his solution for saving the world distasteful.

    BethS — It would be terrific if you provided some specifics as to why his solution was distasteful to you. Would you do that?

    Thank you!

    Love, C.

  15. Daniel Woodson 25 Jun 2007 at 8:00 pm

    *inserts own opinion mid-discussion*

    It’s been a little while since I read it (I was 14 or so), but I really liked the series as a whole. Having said that, the ending disappointed me – it seemed a bit lazy, plot-wise (I’m sure that if they could leave one doorway open for the ghosts to escape, they could leave another one open for themselves too). It seemed a bit convenient – a way to separate Lyra and Will forever, to get a more poignant ending.

    Arguably, I was perhaps too young to notice and appreciate any ‘agenda’ Pullman might’ve had, but I didn’t think that the messages (to borrow lyssabits’s observations, ‘questioning authority and dogma’) overrode the story. For me, they were just something to think about along the way. As such, I personally think that people can focus too much on the Christianity issue sometimes, to the point where the story becomes a vehicle for supposed anti-religious sentiment, and the merit of the story itself gets left behind. After all, Pullman himself says that the Church represents many things, not just organised religion.

    Re. BethS’s thing about the solution being distasteful, I’m not sure what you mean by it. Bearing in mind that it’s a good 5 years since I read the books [and hence, apologies if I’ve got this wrong], this is how I remember the ending: there’s a huuuuge battle between all the angels etc, in which the self-styled ‘creator’ is freed from his crystal (?) prison, whereupon he evaporates (passes on, crosses over, whatever). The battle comes to an end, and Will – along with the remaining angels – goes round sealing up all the doorways, to stop the dust being sucked into the abyss created by the bomb. They leave one door open to set all the trapped spirits free, and everyone returns to their original worlds, leaving Lyra and Will separated forever. Thus, unless I’m forgetting something fairly pivotal, I can only assume that by ‘solution’ you mean the fact that they seal up all of the doorways. As I said before, I thought that was a bit lazy and convenient, but I’m not sure how it could be distasteful.

  16. Lois Tiltonon 25 Jun 2007 at 9:58 pm

    I thought it was manipulative and dishonest. The church is a straw church, it fulfills no genuine spiritual need, it’s only there to be Evile, to serve the author’s agenda.

  17. Kate Elliotton 26 Jun 2007 at 1:07 am

    I liked book one best, because I enjoyed the world and the familiars and all that aspect, although I found the girl annoying. I liked book two almost as much, because I enjoyed his audacity in plot and I liked the boy protag better. But I thought book three just didn’t work, although there were occasional sections I thought interesting (that woman scientist?).

    I might like the movie, as it looks quite pretty, and I must say that Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig are inspired choices (to my mind).

    Having said that, I agree with Lois aobut the handling of the church in the novels. Feh! It’s like the Dawkins argument, which always seems to be arguing with a simplistic straw man he has set up which has little to do with the beliefs of people who have a more complex understanding of, well, faith than he does.

    Also, Constance, in the second Crossroads book (almost done with revision!), I found a place for the line “How like them!” — in honor of Lois!

  18. Lois Tiltonon 26 Jun 2007 at 8:12 am


  19. Constance Ashon 26 Jun 2007 at 9:11 am

    I found a place for the line “How like them!” — in honor of Lois!

    Yay Kate!


    Lois — Which reminds me of Vaquero’s Pastor Ted song, which he may well be singing at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco in October.

    “I’m guilty ….

    I’m guilty, of the deepest immorality ….”

    The critical comments of you both are indeed useful too.

    Though I will say re church as strawman — in RL you can find many of those too. At least as far up to the funeral. I’ve often thought the primary need many sorts of churches provide is dealing with death, providing the ritual, which often is also thoroughly enmeshed within the community’s own rituals and procedures, when a member dies. This provision is most certainly there in the community where I grew up. But there too, church is part of the community, and does not stand outside of it.

    Re death: the ‘communities’ within which I now reside created their own rituals — but it’s been kind of interesting to see that over time some of those have trickled beyond them too. For example, the now-custom of printing the deceased portrait on t-shirts is starting to show up outside of the black neighborhoods. You know, I think that began originally not long before we moved to New Orleans, that printing of the deceased portrait on t-shirts.

    Love, C.

  20. Beth S.on 26 Jun 2007 at 9:31 am

    Lois, I agree about the Church being there just to be evil. That’s part of what I meant when I said the agenda overrode the story.

    Constance, I was trying to avoid spoilers, but since everyone seems to have read the book…

    I assume folks here are familiar with the Adam and Eve story, in which Eve is tempted by Satan in the form of a serpent, and through her, Adam. Because of their disobedience, they are driven from paradise, and sin enters the world, bringing evil and death.

    OK. In Pullman’s story, he kind of reverses this. Lyra and the boy (whose name I’ve forgotten) are Eve and Adam. The role of the Tempter is played by Mary (I think I’ve remembered her name correctly. She’s the one who finds and protects them). Her job as Tempter (and this is clearly discussed in the book) is to awaken Lyra to her own sexuality, to “tempt” her into having sex with the boy. Doing so will be the first act toward saving the world. I can’t remember the specifics now, but I think it had to do with ridding the world of Dust. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Adam and Eve’s sin brought darkness into the world; in The Amber Spyglass, Mary tempts Lyra to have sex with the boy in order to drive darkness from it.

    What I found distasteful about it was the portrayal of two kids–they’re what? 12? 13?–being nudged into a sexual relationship by their protector and mentor. Pullman covers it over with metaphor and pretty writing (kids will likely miss it altogether), but it’s there, for anyone with the eyes to see it. I’d quote the relevant passages here, except I don’t own a copy of the book.

  21. Constance Ashon 26 Jun 2007 at 10:16 am

    Beth S. — That could be distasteful, yes.

    But hadn’t the time passed, traveling among worlds, in captivity and so on — by the time Lyra and Will connect, they were far beyond the ages they were when we first meet them?

    For instance, I read this as, partly, a paradigm for the sexual awakening of adolescents, and the wisdom of waiting until they were past the first throes of puberty. But there we go — different readings of the same text ….

    Also, Lyra and Will were deeply in love, a love that, young as they were, would likely have lasted, considering what they’d gone through and achieved together. Yet, in order for that to sustain and matter, they had to be sundered — you could read that as how they are expelled from their Garden of Eden. Which is the primary Fantasy paradigm: if an act is authentically great and significant, there is a cost to the enacter. Like Frodo’s experience left him no longer capable of happiness in the Shire, Will and Lyra have to give up their personal happiness as well, for the great good. Saving the world always comes at the cost of sacrifice.

    In Fantasy, self-sacrifice is the division between good and evil ….

    Which is one of the many reasons so many are outraged by the Suicide Bombers — self sacrifice is good, but these people are evil, so now what?

    Love, C.

  22. Beth S.on 26 Jun 2007 at 10:41 am

    I’d have to reread the book to be absolutely certain, but I think Will and Lyra are still quite young, no more than 14 at the outside, when this event occurs.

    As to the ending…I agree there has to be a cost to any great act; it’s a primary requirement of good storytelling. At the end of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo would never be the same again; he was, in fact, dying by degrees. But his departure from Middle Earth gave the tale an uplifting ending, whereas at the end of The Amber Spyglass, I was left feeling cold and depressed. Pullman managed to write a very credible love story, and it was heartwrenching to see Will and Lyra eternally separated. I’m not arguing with the way he choose to resolve the main conflict, but that coupled with my other objections didn’t make me want to revisit the story.

    But–tastes differ. And thank goodness, because that leaves us with a wide variety of stories both to love and to hate. :)

  23. Laurieon 26 Jun 2007 at 11:20 am

    It’s not that I think the story was bad. I just think the whole darn thing just came off as pretentious and self-important. The tone of the narration never came near enough to storytelling to let me actually be immersed in the goings on. It’s kind of like going to church and listening to one of those tired, obvious parables that the pastor delivers in his best “this is a VERY IMPORTANT LESSON” voice. At the end, he pauses dramatically, looks at you significantly, then finishes with… nothing you didn’t already know.

    The sad thing is, there’s a lot of cool stuff in there! I really liked the idea of the demons that shift shape as fluidly as a child’s thoughts and feelings shift. I liked the world, the adventure and the plot. I just never connected with it, even once. It tried too hard. I was hoping there wouldn’t be a test at the end.

    Maybe I was too old when I read it? 28, I think. Maybe at 14, it would have been better.

  24. Constance Ashon 26 Jun 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Beth S. and Laurie —


    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your insights.

    I suppose I WOULD say that, considering there’s much there that I can agree with! :)

    Love, C.

  25. Kate Elliotton 26 Jun 2007 at 12:21 pm

    I heartily disliked the Will/Lyra stuff at the end, to some extent for the reasons Beth S cites. Also because of this idea that seemed to be present in the book that children are natural innocents, which is totally naive and dumb (imho). Plus I find so annoying the “I met my great love, a greater love than any other love known in the universe of all time, at 14” schtick. Gag me with a spoon. And, no, I don’t like Romeo and Juliet much either, why do you ask? Although I find R&J more believable in the way it plays out the story given the strong emotions young persons are capable of. Shakespeare seemed to understand that this was specific to time and place and character, while with Pullman I for some reason felt he was trying to universalize it all.

    My feeling with book three is that he broke off more than he could chew. I admire someone for tackling huge themes, and in that sense I thought book three was a failure in the best way, that is, that at least he tried but couldn’t quite get there. Which for me is better than always playing it safe with subject matter.

  26. Constance Ashon 26 Jun 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Cosmologies are particularly difficult to portray well within a story that demands propulsion and character dynamics, so to say Pullman didn’t really succeed there is more than germane, one would think.

    Myself, I confess to having tears at the sundering of Will and Lyra. Who woulda thunk it, of yrs. truly, who loathes being manipulated into tears …. :)

    Love, C.

  27. Beth S.on 26 Jun 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Kate said:

    while with Pullman I for some reason felt he was trying to universalize it all.

    Yes! I was reaching for that but couldn’t quite articulate it.

    Constance, the relationship between Will and Lyra was the only thing in the books that touched me, though not because I think one can really find mature, true love at 14 (I’m with Kate on that) but because they did have a special friendship and a strong bond based on all their shared experiences. Pushing the relationship into the sexual arena cheapened it immeasurably, I think–the characters didn’t need that and neither did the story. That was just Pullman inserting himself to make a point and be edgy. And yet–it was subtle enough that some readers (and certainly the young ones) will miss it altogether, which strikes me as dishonest of him as well. Either that, or his publisher made him blur it out, like a TV news-video pixelating the naughty bits.

  28. lyssabitson 26 Jun 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Wow, I must have totally zoned out during the third book… I find it pretty hard to remember most of the stuff that happened aside from Lyra and Will’s separation at the end. Will and Lyra’s moment in the forest.. didn’t strike me as any more sexual than someone at that age might feel. I don’t know, when I was that age.. you don’t really know what sex *is* more than what you see in the movies or read in books, but the romantic notions of it are certainly very appealing. You certainly start thinking about it more, actually doing it seems icky, but fantasizing about it where everything goes right and nothing is awkward.. not so bad. 😉

    Still, I mean, their daemons had settled, I sort of saw that as a transition from child into adult, so I wasn’t skeeved out by the fact that their friendship turned into something else. Maybe I totally missed the creepy parts, since folks are saying it’s very subtle, and I am not the most careful reader.

    I also didn’t think that the religion was strictly there for evil. I admittedly don’t really remember the finer points of that resolution, but when reading it, I think I thought that originally the Authority had probably had either benevolent or benign intentions, and that it was the Metatron who ended up warping things, as all things do get warped, as his power grew. No? I’m gonna have to read them again, I see, but I just lent them to a friend.

  29. Lois Tiltonon 26 Jun 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Just in case anyone might be interested, here’s a link to my essay on the Pullman material, from the 11/05 IROSF:

  30. Constance Ashon 26 Jun 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Ooooh, Thank You, Lois, for that link!

    And, for making it possible for me to finally be able to see your stuff on that site, by resolving the registration problems!

    Your article is first class, and I recommend reading it to everyone here. :)

    Love, C. who is rushing out da door!

  31. Kate Elliotton 26 Jun 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Wow. I don’t even remember Will and Lyra’s separation at the end. I must have really zoned on on book three. Obviously I lost emotional connection by that time to the story.

    Beth- very agreed with your points.

    I’m enjoying hearing from those of you who found the book emotionally touching, since sometimes it’s just a matter of resonance. For after all, I am one who can be made to cry by sappy ads on tv, to my eternal shame.

    Off to read Lois’s article. . .

  32. Kate Elliotton 26 Jun 2007 at 11:45 pm

    . . . waiting for registration to go through . . . guess I’ll read the article tomorrow

  33. Constance Ashon 27 Jun 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Wow. I don’t even remember Will and Lyra’s separation at the end. I must have really zoned on on book three. Obviously I lost emotional connection by that time to the story.

    I skipped or skimmed parts ….

    I find I do this more and more in these degenerate times ….

    Nevertheless, I still believe the reason I do so is that I’ve read so many novels by now, I know what’s going on, just via the pointers along the way.

    But still, yes, I’m bad.

    Love, C.

  34. Kate Elliotton 28 Jun 2007 at 12:36 am

    for me, the marker of a novel I’ve really enjoyed these days is not how well written it is but whether I read the entire thing front to back because I’m caught up in the story. If I start skimming large chunks, then that’s a bad sign (for me, anyway).

  35. Constance Ashon 28 Jun 2007 at 9:41 pm

    I hear ya there, Mizzy Kate!

    Soooo, what is it about those Logic novels that has everyone gaga?

    Love, C.

  36. shannonon 19 Jul 2007 at 12:28 pm

    I’m reading it at the moment – up to chapter 15 in The Amber Spyglass – so I’ve skipped a lot of comments above when they started talking about the ending. I didn’t want to spoil it.

    I’m really enjoying it so far, actually. I usually wait until the end of a book before thinking about my opinion/reaction etc., unless it’s terrible, but I can share my 2 cents as I feel now.

    In general, I didn’t really know what the books were about, though I’d heard Pullman does battle with the Church, so I was expecting a bit of that. I was surprised when it went as far as waging war against God, who turns out not to be a god but a greedy Angel. That side of things is a bit shaky to me, but I’ll have till the end to see if it works, for me.

    I quite like Will and Lyra, and I love Iorek. Most of all, I love the exploration of other worlds, races and cultures. The pod-wheel people, for example, which first appear at the beginning of the third book, are fascinating. There are no bounds to Pullman’s imagination, and I think fiction – especially fantasy – is a great way of encouraging people to think about things they take for granted, such as religion.

    There have been a couple of books recently that I’ve skimmed over chunks towards the end – Special Topics in Calamity Physics, for example -which I hate doing. And I agree, it’s a bad sign. But I read every word in His Dark Materials, and sometimes have trouble putting it down (all those people I’ve walked into getting off the subway, I’m sorry!).

    By the way, I’d heard from a Dutch friend that it was called Northern Lights – but is that the other name for the first book or for the trilogy? I don’t usually like the American versions of book titles (Sorcerer’s Stone?? What the hell is a sorcerer’s stone??!!), but The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass – these work! I’m looking forward to the movie, and having seen the preview before I started reading, I could absolutely picture both Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman as Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter!

    Oh, and as for pushing dogma – if anyone here has read Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, they’ll agree with me when I say that Pullman hardly makes a dent! Starting mostly with Faith of the Fallen, Goodkind has been banging all his readers over the head with his very unsubtle, highly literal, incredibly blatant propaganda. By comparison, Pullman is lighter and more refreshing.

  37. Constance Ashon 19 Jul 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Shannon! Thank you so much for letting us know that you are enjoying the Pullman books so very much, and why you are liking them.

    It’s so interesting hearing the responses of people new to works one has liked. At least, for me it is. I shouldn’t try and speak for ALL. :)

    Yeah, the U.S. title is rather different than the British one. Why? Your guess is as good as anyone’s!

    Love, C.

  38. Joe Dempseyon 23 Jun 2008 at 1:18 am

    This may seem intruding to everyone here in their own conversations

    Pardon the misspelling(I’m a very bad speller)

    Having just finished the books and read everyone of the entries here, I can agree with everyone on some points, but others I cannot. I personally LOVED the books and were fully imenced in the story and charicters lives, I have a bad habbit of lossing myself in a book and more or less felling the charicter’s pain and feelings as they are. I am 15 and living in the U.S.(suprizingly living in the most overly religos part of it, Texas!). I just haved to get my words in after reading all of your blogs! To me, I liked every book not having a favorite just equal. Starting, the conclusoin to the story did seem quite abit depressing, but after having a deep conversation with my mother, found the meaning quite clear; you dont always get a fairy tale ending, in the real world its not always they lived happly ever after, how as head before with a great deed comes great sacrifice. The story did not seem sexual to me in the least bit, physicaly showing your love for someone does not always mean sex or as much, it enchanted me deepely how they simply held each other and kissed knowing full well that they loved each other and silently gazing into their eyes just knowing that the other cares for them the same way they care for the other, nothing arousing or sexual about that is there, or at least thats what I got from the book and how you felt through the blogs!? When it came to the church I dint look and see a evil entity at all, it looked to me as it was simlpy a corrupted entity in scoceity, full of zelous old men selfconsumed in thier own power, the church as a entity seemed little than just a vessal for helping people know right from wrong(which in any case is what started christanity in the first place, not something to worship or fear, but simply lay the ground rules for a simple and humble existence with the world around you, right?) the people runing the thing were the bad guys and thats what I think was what Pullman whanted to show. In other words I have no quaril with anyone’s opinoin on the books, I’m simply giving my opinoin to ponder on for a bit.

    Blog agian I would like to know what you think(good or bad)

  39. Constance Ashon 23 Jun 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Hello, Joe — Welcome to Deep Genre. You may find other things that interest you on this site.

    This post and the comments about it were made a year ago. So you won’t be getting any responses. Posts on blogs have a life and then everybody moves on to something else. Posts just don’t stay active for a year at a time.

    But since I was the one who put up the post, the site forwarded me your comment, so I am responding to you, but nobody else will be scrolling down a year ago to find us, I don’t think.

    I recently saw the movie “The Golden Compass.” They didn’t do such a good job with it, I think. Though it was splendid to look at, in the sense of expressing another rather recent development in what we call the sub-genres of science fiction and fantasy — Steampunk, that brings together styles and machinery from the late Victorian era with magic or technology from a later period.

    It’s too bad the others won’t be seeing what you think about Pullman’s books. I’m so glad you’ve got a mom that you get to talk with about what interests you too. It’s important that you keep reading and learning the techniques for thinking for yourself and learning the techniques for communicating effectively what you think and feel too. (Spelling helps! :) But we all make spelling mistakes — we just call them typographical errors.)

    Keep reading and thinking! Join in sometime, if something more recent strikes your fancy.

    Love, C.

  40. Joe Dempseyon 23 Jun 2008 at 11:50 pm

    eh, sorry… I get in conversations alittle late, which is what happens in real life alot!

    But hey thanks for the support, I realy aprecate it. I’m currently reading The Underneath, ASOME book to. if you dont know its by Kathy Apelt and I happen to know her personaly(she goes to my church). I’m not christan, but find a open mind helps with alot of issues, not atheist either. I’m as a specific religon Druid, but am more of a all around pegan from the diffrences in my family. Open minds help alot with seeing the world for the beauty it gives us, in more appropreat words and open minded person is like a achitech of the Republic of Heaven. Heh!

    (Sorry, I’m still using this year old blog site place, I’ll find another, thanks for your help!)

    Sencirely, Joe

  41. Carolon 24 Jun 2008 at 3:11 am

    Hi Joe,

    The site is still very active! Keep reading and posting here!
    Its great having an open mind! Actually new comments are posted down the side of the page so people can still read/notice them even on the older blog posts. :)


  42. Kate Elliotton 26 Jun 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Hey, Joe,


    No problem about coming late to the conversation. It’s an odd artifact of the internet that our time sense seems speeded up and also frozen at the same time.

    I appreciated your comments, especially about book three. I did not personally care for many of the elements in book three, so it was illuminating to me to see a different perspective. It helps me appreciate the books more when I can see how another reader approached it.

    One of the most interesting things to me about reading novels is that every reader will come away from any given novel with a different experience; no one experience is the “right” one — I think that’s part of what gives novels their depth and texture, the reason people keep reading them. The story is as much about our interaction with it as about the story the author things s/he wrote.

    I hope you check out more recent Deep Genre posts, too!

    Best wishes,
    Kate Elliott

  43. jencon 16 Apr 2009 at 5:49 pm

    As a 12 year old I first read the trilogy and was enthralled by the adventure, the characters (which I felt I could relate to as a child) and the gripping plot. However, I read the book unaware of the conflict between god and humanity. To a child they were just imaginary ‘bad guys’. Indeed, Pullman himself commented that he wrote a story that can be read on many levels, which raises the question; what makes a children’s book?

    In fact, as an adult who loves the books very much, I still see the dominant themes being that of growing up, the evolution of nature, the multiverse theory and freedom. Whether these are all related to religion is a matter of personal opinion, apart from the death of a fictional god I think the book is more about science.

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