08-24-2007 09:55 AM
The Golden Compass
In a landmark epic of fantasy and storytelling, Philip Pullman invites readers into a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, or Redwall. Here lives orphaned ward Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle Lord Asriel appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. Lyra sets out in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.
The Subtle Knife
The universe has broken wide, and Lyra's friend lies dead. Desperate for answers and set on revenge, Lyra bursts into a new world in pursuit of his killer. Instead, she finds Will, just twelve years old and already a murderer himself. He's on a quest as fierce as Lyra's, and together they strike out into this sunlit otherworld. On this journey marked by danger, Will and Lyra forge ahead. But with every step and each new horror, they move closer to the greatest threat of all -- and the shattering truth of their own destiny. In this stunning sequel to The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman continues His Dark Materials trilogy and confirms it as an undoubted and enduring classic.
The Amber Spyglass
Along with the return of Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, Dr. Mary Malone, and Iorek Brynison the armored bear comes a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust; Chevalier Tialys and Lady Salmakia, hand-high spy-masters to Lord Asriel; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. So, too, come startling revelations: the painful price Lyra must pay to walk though the land of the dead, the haunting power of Dr. Malone's amber spyglass, and the names of who will live -- and who will die -- for love. And all the while, war rages with the Kingdom of Heaven, a brutal battle that -- in its shocking outcome -- will uncover the secret of Dust.
The Magical Worlds of Philip Pullman
The author of illuminating guides to the creations of J. K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, David Colbert turns his eye to Philip Pullman's majestic His Dark Materials trilogy. From the philosophy of William Blake and John Milton's poem Paradise Lost to quantum physics and the Bible, this book reveals the complex origins and controversial themes that make Pullman's trilogy a modern marvel in literature.
The Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
Mary Gribbin, John Gribbin
Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is renowned for its mystery and magic. What's the truth behind it all? Is the golden compass actually based in science? How does the subtle knife cut through anything? Could there be a bomb like the one made with Lyra's hair? How do the Gallivespians' lodestone resonators really work? And, of course, what are the Dark Materials? Drawing on string theory and spacetime, quantum physics and chaos theory, award-winning science writers Mary and John Gribbin reveal the real science behind Pullman's bestselling fantasy trilogy in entertaining and crystal-clear prose.
Philip Pullman, John Lawrence (Illustrator)
An exciting new tale set in the world of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials saga. This collectible hardcover volume includes a short story by Mr. Pullman, plus a fold-out map of Oxford and various "souvenirs" from the past. The book is illustrated throughout with woodcut illustrations by John Lawrence.
The Ruby in the Smoke
In the first book of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart Trilogy, 16-year-old Sally Lockhart ventures into the shadowy underworld of Victorian London in search of clues to the mystery of her father's death. Pursued by villains at every turn, the intrepid Sally finally uncovers two dark mysteries -- and realizes that she herself is the key to both.
09-01-2007 07:29 PM
This is a very nicely done website devoted to HDM. On the front page there are several movie trailer clips that you might find interesting.
There is also a collection of essays that might prove to be some interesting background material to read while we are waiting for the September 4th start date for the discussion of the Golden Compass:
Those of you who are fugitives from the Harry Potter group and want to make some comparisons (and/or are Lord of the Ring fans), might be interested in this somewhat dated essay:
09-02-2007 06:26 PM
Does the description below look a bit familiar? Apparently this story about the Marionette Theater had some influence on His Dark Materials and beyond the obvious description of fencing with a bear. You will find the parallel in chapter 13 called Fencing about 12 pages into the chapter or on page 225 of my edition of The Golden Compass. I thought I would post it now so those of you reading or reviewing the book can think about the implications of the story. When I originally read the description of Iorek Byrnison's fencing lesson with Lyra, I thought it was merely a description of the bear's fighting skill. Apparently there is a lot more depth to a lot of these incidents than apparent on first reading. I can see now that I'm going to have to reread the book on different level after I finish it. We can bring this up story again later when we get farther along in the book discussion. The link for the full story is below:
"I was astounded to see the bear standing upright on his hind legs, his back against the post to which he was chained, his right paw raised ready for battle. He looked me straight in the eye. This was his fighting posture. I wasn't sure if I was dreaming, seeing such an opponent. They urged me to attack. "See if you can hit him!" they shouted. As I had now recovered somewhat from my astonishment I fell on him with my rapier. The bear made a slight movement with his paw and parried my thrust. I feinted, to deceive him. The bear did not move. I attacked again, this time with all the skill I could muster. I know I would certainly have thrust my way through to a human breast, but the bear made a slight movement with his paw and parried my thrust. By now I was almost in the same state as the elder brother had been: the bear's utter seriousness robbed me of my composure. Thrusts and feints followed thick and fast, the sweat poured off me, but in vain. It wasn't merely that he parried my thrusts like the finest fencer in the world; when I feinted to deceive him he made no move at all. No human fencer could equal his perception in this respect. He stood upright, his paw raised ready for battle, his eye fixed on mine as if he could read my soul there, and when my thrusts were not meant seriously he did not move. Do you believe this story?"
"Absolutely", I said with joyful approval. "I'd believe it from a stranger, it's so probable. Why shouldn't I believe it from you?"
"Now, my excellent friend," said my companion, "you are in possession of all you need to follow my argument. We see that in the organic world, as thought grows dimmer and weaker, grace emerges more brilliantly and decisively. But just as a section drawn through two lines suddenly reappears on the other side after passing through infinity, or as the image in a concave mirror turns up again right in front of us after dwindling into the distance, so grace itself returns when knowledge has as it were gone through an infinity. Grace appears most purely in that human form which either has no consciousness or an infinite consciousness. That is, in the puppet or in the god."
"Does that mean", I said in some bewilderment, "that we must eat again of the tree of knowledge in order to return to the state of innocence?"
"Of course", he said, "but that's the final chapter in the history of the world."
09-04-2007 05:28 PM
Citt : About the Book of Dust, it is a true sequel to His Dark Materials ? A novel or short stories ?
PP : It will be a single, in a sense ; a story about Lyra, a few years after His Dark Materials. Lyra will be 16 or 17 and it begins in Oxford with some of the same characters, but not many of them. It's a different story, in a sense not a sequel or a continuation. A different story. However, it will be about Dust. So I've been writing, trying to finish it for a long time, but this film just came up and I'm doing other things. I've just finished a short book which will be coming out next spring, probably March or April in this country. It's called Once Upon A Time in the North, and it's about Lee and Iorek. When we see them for the first time with Lyra, Lee is not that old, he's fifty, sixty, something like that, so they know each other for a long time. But I wanted to write a story when they first met as they were young, and I've just written it. I'm making a little book like Lyra et les Oiseaux [Pullman gave the French title for Lyra's Oxford] with extra-bits. I've just been working on it, on a game, a game-board. It's going to be part of that book. So that's coming out next year, but for The Book of Dust that mean it's slowly, slowly, slowly...
Here is the full interview:
09-10-2007 03:25 PM
09-14-2007 10:43 PM
Freitas and King believe that Philip Pullman-whom the New Yorker called "one of England's most outspoken atheists"-is a theologian in spite of himself, and that Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is a religious classic on the order of the Chronicles of Narnia. Here, the authors attempt to show that the Pullman novels are not about killing off God, but rather, annihilating an understanding of God that is antiquated and unimaginative. Analyzing lengthy scenes from the novels, they find Pullman's views pantheistic, rather than atheistic. Pullman "resurrects a far more sophisticated divinity" and wrestles mightily with theological questions. Freitas and King explore Pullman's beliefs about God, good and evil, and salvation, seeing the novelist as squarely situated within liberation theology and "surprisingly Greek, indebted nearly as much to Socrates and Plato as to God the Father and God the Son." Freitas (Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise) and King clearly know their material and have the requisite passion for their topic. Although this is not light reading, the book release's timing to coincide with the motion picture, His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, should give it higher visibility to a popular audience. (Sept. 7)
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09-14-2007 10:51 PM
Exploring Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
Publication date is October 30
This is meant as a helpful discussion about Pullman's trilogy, and it is written for readers of the trilogy, regardless of their age. As we who have read the trilogy know, Pullman tells an adventure story that is nonstop action. The trilogy is filled with concepts and images that deal with the most challenging ideas philosophers and scientists tackle. Gresh, with a lengthy bibliography, gives readers context: What are images of the world of the dead that major religions and cultures have adopted? What is the dark matter that physicists believe makes up approximately 25% of the matter and energy in the universe? How have various cultures conceived of witches, angels, harpies, specters and other creatures Pullman uses in his story? What about the idea of parallel worlds, and how do scientists describe them? Anyone who has been caught up in Pullman's amazing trilogy will want to know more details, such as those discussed by Gresh. Fortunately, she doesn't bring an agenda to her book—well, only in that she has great admiration for Pullman's brilliance.
09-14-2007 10:54 PM
Finding God in the Shadows of His Dark Materials: Exploring Hidden Spiritual Themes in Philip Pullman's Popular Series
09-14-2007 10:57 PM
From the Publisher
Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is one of the most popular fantasy works of our time. Both the trilogy and a new movie based on it are being marketed chiefly as YA (young adult) fare. But Leonard F. Wheat shows in this fascinating analysis that His Dark Materials is far more than a YA tale. At a deeper level it is a complex triple allegory--a surface story that uses 231 symbols to tell three hidden stories. As such, it is among the most profound, intellectually challenging, and thoroughly adult works ever written.
Wheat brings the hidden stories to light. He demonstrates how Pullman retells two prominent works of British literature--C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and John Milton's Paradise Lost. Pullman's aim is to counter Lewis's pro-Christian allegory with his own anti-Christian allegory. Pullman does this in his second allegory by turning Paradise Lost upside down. Satan and his daughter, Sin, along with Adam's murderous son Cain, become heroes; God and Jesus become villains. This retold story depicts our society's warfare between knowledge (symbolized by Dust) and religious superstitions (symbolized by Specters). Pullman adds an original third hidden story featuring Christian missionaries, Charles Darwin, agnostics, and atheists.
Wheat's intriguing interpretation of Pullman's work is the first to point out the many allegorical features of His Dark Materials and to highlight the ingenious ways in which Pullman subtly attacks religious institutions and superstitions. Pullman fans as well as readers interested in fantasy or concerned about religious coercion will find Wheat's book not only stimulating but overflowing with surprises.
09-14-2007 11:03 PM
These are only the new ones that either are not out yet or have just been published and doesn't count the body of books already published analyzing HDM.
From the Publisher
The Rough Guide to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials explores the beguiling world of Philip Pullman's classic trilogy. The guide covers Pullman's inspiration from science and literature, including string theory, climate change and dark matter, Milton, Blake and fantasy fiction. The Story and characters are unraveled with insight into the key mysteries and events and how everyone from Lyra Belacqua to the golden monkey demon fit in to the author's grand design. You'll find everything from the story behind the filming and cast of the first His Dark Materials film, The Golden Compass to how the Victorian era shaped Pullman's imagination, with a tour of Oxford's Exeter College, Geneva (home of the Magisterium), Venice (Cittagazze), and of course where to catch the Northern Lights. Pullman shares his views on religion, and discover what organised religion has to say about his books.
Cut threw the darkness and step into another universe with The Rough Guide to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.