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Reading Room

Your quiet and comfy lounge to pick up a great book and discuss sci-fi literature.

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Old Feb 20, 2008, 01:08 AM   #1
SF_not_Sci-Fi
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His Dark Materials

I've just read the first two parts of the trilogy and it's brilliant so far. Though I hear that the movie adaptation was pretty disappointing, I highly recommend that you pick up the first of the novels, The Golden Compass.
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 09:04 AM   #2
Jove
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Re: His Dark Materials

I can certainly confirm that I found the film disappointing.
But then I actually found the books rather disappointing, given the hype.
They're... okay.
Better than average, but not significantly so, in my humble opinion.

Maybe 'cos it's aimed more at the younger generation.
Although so was "Harry Potter and the Absurdly Titled Books" - and that was far superior.
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Old Feb 23, 2008, 05:23 AM   #3
SF_not_Sci-Fi
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Re: His Dark Materials

Harry potter? How can you even suggest that that derivative-bordering-on-plagiaristic, poorly written and continuity-error filled pile of dog**** is superior to... well anything but a radioactive pile of dog****? And then there's the shabby hastily written last volume which was at best a grave insult to Rowling's long-suffering fans. I read that whole series and friend- I can only compare the experience to the time that I read Battlefield Earth cover to cover. I guess I have a bit of a masochistic streak. And the worst of it is that books like these don't even let you get any pleasure out of the pain.

The Golden Compass on the other hand weaves an immersive, highly original and very natural-feeling supernatural world peopled with interesting characters and a delightful layer of philosophical allegory. It is a children's book in the best Asimovian sense: written in a way that is both comprehensible to children and highly enjoyable for all ages.
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Old Feb 26, 2008, 12:46 PM   #4
Jove
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Re: His Dark Materials

Potter was superior, in my humble opinion - it was more pleasant to read, okay it was cliched, but it did exactly what it said on the tin (although the final episode was slightly not in keeping, granted).

But The Golden Compass is just... dull, to be honest.
I read them after all the hype they received, so was probably expecting much more from them - and the disappointment might be colouring my view.

And it is so contrived in places... "ooh look, we need a big bear to help us fight... so give me a couple of paragraphs and I'll find one for us who'll be my best friend forever!"

Part of the problem is my general apathy toward fiction involving the travels / quests of children, written for children. I found it dull, yawn-inspiring in places, and nothing to write home about. Plus it is supposedly anti-theistic / anti-christian in stance yet actually offers very little in the way of alternative answers as to what things are - leaving it all unsaid. Yes - it gives some interesting ideas of consciousness and life in general, but unfortunately this just pushes the supposed question back a level. And even in its attempt at being interesting it just became... muddled and irritatingly naive. Although to be honest I probably won't be able to give examples, but this was a general feeling I got.

So no, I found them disappointing. The film more so.

And please don't compare it to Asimov... that's like... Sci-fi blasphemy!!
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Old Feb 26, 2008, 07:22 PM   #5
SF_not_Sci-Fi
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Re: His Dark Materials

Quote:
And please don't compare it to Asimov... that's like... Sci-fi blasphemy!!
Not so much a comparison but a citation. It fits Asimov's prescription for writing good children's fiction. It also the Good Doctor's orders for good SF, though it is fantasy.
Quote:
of children, written for children. I found it dull, yawn-inspiring in places, and nothing to write home about. Plus it is supposedly anti-theistic / anti-christian in stance yet actually offers very little in the way of alternative answers as to what things are
It seems to say that the church's simplistic and dualistic attitude towards innocence and experience has always led to it's logical conclusion: the enslavement of the body and the destruction of the spirit. As for a solution it offers Bakunin's: "A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished." And I haven't even started the third book, mind you.
Quote:
"ooh look, we need a big bear to help us fight... so give me a couple of paragraphs and I'll find one for us who'll be my best friend forever!"
The gathering of heroes with the necessary skills to fight The Enemy through fortuitous circumstances is a morphological archetype in the folktales and fairy tales which form the basis for all modern fantasy. As is the child of destiny and the uncanny effect that she has on those she encounters. I thought that these elements were used in an engaging way, but at this point we're arguing about personal taste.
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Old Feb 26, 2008, 07:36 PM   #6
Nexus
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Re: His Dark Materials

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jove
And it is so contrived in places... "ooh look, we need a big bear to help us fight... so give me a couple of paragraphs and I'll find one for us who'll be my best friend forever!"

I've not read it, though that doesn't sound as bad as Hagrid's "Oh, I shouldn't have told you that" clues from the first Potter book.
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