Summary Le Guin meeting + extra talk on Philip Pullman

Thank your for the lively discussion!

Le Guin:
What we liked:
– solutions to a dystopia
– honesty: exploiting the bizarre power –> George does not want to decide, seems passive, not our typical hero
– good and bad as categories vanish –> consequences of best intentions
– updating what is real now again and again
– science of dreams
– different writing styles for different characters
– climate change, racism, overpopulation as topics of this dystopia

What we disliked / discussion:
– Could George be erased? Are there other people with his abilities?
– erasure of Black people when everyone is grey (even though it makes sorta sense)
– alien invasion: escalated quickly, what do the aliens know about dreaming?
– aliens: new enemy from the outside (cf. Watchmen)
– power as morally ambiguous
– smaller tasks = smaller dreams might have enabled George / Haber to tackle issues such as climate change
– “made me question reality”
– Heather’s disappearance into the domestic sphere (vs. Le Guin as a female writer) –> Heather powerless when faces with effective dreams, scary message

Philip Pullman:

*1946, British contemporary novelist, knighted in 2019, author of His Dark Materials series (1995: Northern Lights, 1997: The Subtle Knife, 2000: The Amber Spyglass) + a fictionalised biography of Jesus called The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ + other series (Sally Lockhart, The New Cut Gang) and non-series books, plays and non-fiction works

We briefly talked about:
– how His Dark Materials do not adhere to the typical fantasy tropes, it’s rather transdimensional, metaphysical magical realism, portal elements, heavily inspired by our world, pseudo-Catholic church = Magisterium (Calvinism)
– how far is science allowed to go?

For most of our members present, Pullman is a five star read, even as an adult. If you haven’t read any Pullman yet, read it. You can start with Northern Lights and work your way through to the newest installments, La Belle Sauvage (2017) and The Secret Commonwealth (2019) – the latter one of Marthe’s favourite books of 2019 so far

Read up on Philip here: https://www.philip-pullman.com/
On Catholicism: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/apr/19/philip-pullman-interview-catholic-church
On The Secret Commonwealth: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/28/secret-commonwealth-philip-pullman-review
His Dark Materials BBC Series: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000b1v2

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