Monday, December 03, 2007

anti-God, but pro-armoured polar bears. what's not to like?

Much highly amusing furore over the impending release of the Philip Pullman adaptation The Golden Compass - mainly in relation to its being supposedly an atheist tract liable to corrupt a whole generation into godless anarchy, whereupon they will run amok flaying each other with machetes and raping each others' eye sockets, or something like that.

My completely uninformed view (as I haven't read any of the books) is this: Pullman is fairly unabashed about the books' anti-religious viewpoint (and why shouldn't he be?), and I suspect if I was a 12-year-old I would find these to be a great deal more interesting than the Harry Potter series. But they are still children's books. Let's retain a bit of perspective here. I might despise you slightly less if I spot you, as an adult, reading one of these on the bus (i.e. compared to a Potter), but I will still despise you. So be warned.

On a similar subject, I note with a sort of appalled resignation the recent film adaptation of Susan Cooper's classic The Dark Is Rising sequence - this really is a classic work of children's fantasy literature, a rich blend of Celtic and Arthurian legend. I'm not saying the film is bound to be crap, but I'm slightly troubled by the fact that they've felt the need to make the central protagonist Will Stanton American, for no readily apparent reason. I wouldn't be totally surprised if he cracked out the Uzi 9-millimetre and started wasting people in the second half of the film.

Even better is Alan Garner's Weirdstone Of Brisingamen (referenced in an earlier post) which, coincidentally, was dramatised (along with its sequel The Moon of Gomrath) on the radio recently. This, by contrast, is heavily influenced by Norse legends. If I ever have kids, they'll be getting this to read, and they'd better be grateful, the little bastards.

11 comments:

everlands said...

Do you know what annoys me about this film? [Let's face it, something had to!]

It's the fact that the book Northern Lights has now been re-issued as The Golden Compass.

What's that all about?

electrichalibut said...

Apparently the book was always called that in America, for a variety of reasons, one of which may be (though it's not mentioned in the Wikipedia article) that the Americans are too pig-ignorant to know what the phrase "Northern Lights" refers to.

nicola said...

I'm just getting over the fact (sob, sob) that you despise me (sob sob).

electrichalibut said...

Sorry. Pullman or Potter?

electrichalibut said...

Anyway, if it's Pullman, the baby Jesus despises you, which is, technically, worse.

nicola said...

Pullman


... and Potter...

You really despise me now (i couldn't give a flying monkey about baby jesus)..

The Black Rabbit said...

(I actually, for once, agree with you bate, about Potter, Bored of the Rings etc... etc...) but then again, my taste in fiction is hardly top drawer.

electrichalibut said...

Well, I have to concede that armoured talking polar bears with opposable thumbs for expert metalwork are quite cool. Better than fucking quidditch anyway.

The Black Rabbit said...

Who's Quidditch?

Do you still read science fiction by the way? I guess you'd be "despised"! by some Potter-heeds for that?!

electrichalibut said...

Just in case you're not pulling my plonker, try this. Apparently it's a "cross between cricket, soccer and hockey", which would seem to imply at least one of those sports involves flying around on broomsticks. Maybe they edit those bits out of the Match Of The Day highlights.

And I do still dabble with science fiction occasionally, though much less often than I used to. But not children's science fiction. Capeesh?

everlands said...

I think you'll find that bit is cut out of Match of the Day because Sky have bought the rights. Bastards.