Read: Navigating the Golden Compass, ed. Glenn Yeffeth.
I guess we’ll see how long I can keep up this reviewing thing; I’ve managed to accumulate a backlog of about five books, so the reviews may get a bit shorter as we go.
After reading the His Dark Materials series I wanted more, and since there’s a very limited more (though Pullman is working on The Book of Dust, a series of related short stories) I had to turn to non-fiction. These essays on the series range from the seriously literary to the wonderfully inventive, and most of them could stand alone as thoughtful pieces of literary criticism.
A few of my favorites:
Karen Traviss explores the likely social consequences of daemons existing in our world. From gyms for daemons to daemon-based discrimination on the job, this essay ranges from the hysterical to the piercingly satirical.
Robert Metzger frames Pullman as a research scientist, and explains why the structure of the novel seems fantastic but is actually profoundly scientific.
Natasha Giardina outlines the profound differences between how our world frames the differences between adults and children, and the way that Lyra relates to the world around her. According to her, Pullman is subversive in even more ways than he seems on the surface (and there’s no shortage of those!).
And, of course, Michael Chabon’s opening essay captures the wonder and heartbreak and beauty of the series far better than I could. Hey, he’s a professional!