Daily Archives: July 27, 2021

Hike Books Forward

Two books this week, both coming from the world of science fiction. Neither book would get 5-stars from my pen of evaluation, but both are interesting reads. Written 10 years apart, the first written in 1995 and the second was published in 2005.

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman

I am not so sure what to do with this book. If I read it as a book of fantasy and an alternative world filled with talking bears, personal daemons, strange particles called dust, witches, and pages of unusual phenomena, then I find this book as an intriguing volume of make-believe and imagination. If I read the book as a commentary on reality or an allegory attempting to reflect a genuine worldview, then I discover a book founded on misunderstanding, a rejection of truth, and even a perversion of the character of God.

The author seems to purposively intertwine his fantasy world with the world of our own. The author’s atheism surfaces often as he pulls religious elements into his plot. I found myself connected to the story of the young protagonist, Lyra, as she desires to save her friends, her father, and to confront the evils of the kidnapping Gobblers. And then I found myself bristling as his worldview of fantasy invaded the truths of the universe and the character of God. The re-writing of the Genesis creation narrative to include daemons is an example of the inappropriate invasion of Pullman’s imaginary creation into truth. It does not change truth, but it ruins the sci-fi aspects of the book.

This book was first published in 1995. I have read the trilogy many years ago and enjoyed it, but this recently read (audiobook) left me uneasy and conflicted. This is not a children’s book (in my opinion) and it might raise some questions in young adult readers that would warrant discussion/clarification. I have listed this volume on my blog not as an endorsement, but as a review for consideration. The author touches on a few heavy topics like spirituality, religion, morals, and the existence of the soul. But the plot is filled with the adventure, excitement, and the mystery of fantasy.  Instead of branding it as heresy, I have chosen to read it as well-written sci-fi story of fantasy. Take a read and see what you think.   

Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld 

I included the first book in this series, Uglies, on this blog several weeks ago. This book of science fiction takes place in a dystopian world where teens go through the process of becoming “pretty” on their 16th birthday. They are transformed from being an “Ugly” to a fun, free world of beauty and the bubbly experiences of perfection. But unknown to the young people, they also lose a layer of personal identification, part of their drive to accomplish the unique, and an aspect of their ability to establish deep personal relationships.

In book one the protagonist, Tally, escapes her society as her date for becoming “pretty” draws close. She experiences another society outside the city – the world of the Smoke, where she discovers Uglies that desire to live outside the transformation. At the end of book #1, Tally finds herself back in Prettytown with the desire to find the cure for the transformation. Pretties chronicles Tally’s inner struggles, her establishment of new relationships, and her choices moving forward. As book #2 opens, Tally has finally become pretty. She looks beautiful, her clothes are exquisite, and she is in the center of all that is popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted. But then a message comes from the past, and she begin to remember and reflect. Thus, the plot begins.

This is not the best sci-fi novel on my virtual bookshelf, and it does lead into yet another installment, but I found it interesting and engaging. It is a fast, light read with good pacing, an enjoyable flow, and lots of actions. Book #1 (Uglies) is a must read to understand Book #2 (Pretties).

Book Covers found at Goodreads.com

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: