New monthly review column: What about The Golden Compass?

Yes, I’ve finally added a new monthly review, just like I used to. You can find my lengthy review article over at theGolden_Compass.jpg website by clicking here.

Be warned:  I called this column this time “A Long Answer to a Good Question” and I offer the questions about Philip Pullman’s well-written, anti-Christian fantasy Dark Materials novels and the Golden Compass movie as a case study of the stages of reading and the sorts of questions we need to have resolved prior to coming to a conclusion about any particular cultural artifact, controversial policy question, book, movie, TV show, rock album, political program or what have you.  I offer a ramble through some of our favorite books that are helpful, generally speaking, about wise cultural discernment, from worldview books to stuff about cultural engagement, from resources on the arts to learning a bit about literary criticism and film studies, to, finally, a few good books from wise perspectives about the controversial Pullman anti-God novels and movie.  Not only do I describe a bunch of books, there are some great web links to connect you to some other folks, too, that write about culture, the arts, and such.

I hope some of these books are familiar to you, and I hope a few might be ordered from us.  Any thoughts?

5 thoughts on “New monthly review column: What about The Golden Compass?

  1. BRAVO!
    Byron, you have done what you do so well– you take a single instance (Brouhaha over The Golden Compass movie) and reminded us 1) how Christians could approach questions of cultural engagement, 2) it’s not just the content of the movie, or just the content of the first book of a trilogy, 3) it’s not just the inflammatory remarks of the author in the news… You’ve given a primer on how to ask this good question, and how to live faithfully.
    All with RESOURCES!
    Scott and I will go see the movie and will report back. The books are thought-provoking, fabulous storytelling, even if the author is infuriating and I disagree with him utterly. And I know Jeffrey says “don’t waste your money,” but hey, we don’t get out much. If we hate it, and the babysitter is game, we’ll stay for another movie, too.
    Again, good work and thank you.

  2. Thanks, Denise.
    Your faithful readership here is a gift and I’m grateful…thanks for your wise words.
    And DO let us (all) know what you think of the movie. It is embarrassing how few films we see. I’ve read a few reviews on this one, and they are mostly pretty good, a few fabulous, a couple less so. And, as always, book lovers have their particular take on movies made from their beloved books.
    Have you read any of Jeffrey O’s fantasy novel? (Careful, he might be watching!) 😉

  3. About Jeffrey’s fantasy novel, I don’t have to be careful– I LOVE it! I hated to put it aside half-read in October, but knew I’d barely finish what I needed to read for school. I should mail you the first chapter. It’s downloadable at, I believe.
    In short, I’ve been so eager to get to this break to finish Auralia’s Colors, and it’s such a treat that I’ve gone back to the beginning to read every word. He works with language playfully, and the story is very visual.
    Jeffrey and his wife Anne are really delightful people, too. I’m eager for you to meet them.

  4. Okay, my report is… that I’m no movie critic! I can’t imagine seeing this movie without having read the book. There are no transitions (!), there are entire settings elaborately created for just one scene.
    Everything is very, very pretty, and perfectly crafted for visuals. I just think the book is too, too big to do this well.
    Lyra in the book is suspicious, not quick to make connections with people, and not one to accept others’ protection. Her connections with people are just too sweet in the movie, too fast. People want to protect her in the movie, whereas people want to use her particular power in the book, and no one’s motives are pure.
    What can I say? It’s not to be feared, not at the point of the story that becomes heretical (that’s in book two). I wonder if a sequel will be made, or not?

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