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Dark Matter: Shedding Light on Philip Pullman's Trilogy Paperback – March 23, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (March 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083083379X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830833795
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,705,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Philip Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, a sweeping retelling of Milton's Paradise Lost and The Fall, has caused great controversy among Christian readers. Watkins, a self-proclaimed Christian and managing editor for Damaris's Culture Watch Web site, offers a perspective on Pullman's work that is anything but dark and is sure to enlighten the debate among Christians. Watkins explains that while his intention is to provide readers the opportunity to appreciate Pullman in general, he also believes fervently that "it's helpful for all fans of Pullman's work—Christian or otherwise—to understand a Christian perspective on it." The book is divided into three parts, the first a walk through Pullman's life and background and the second an overview of the major dimensions of each book in the trilogy. It is not until the third section that readers will find what they are really looking for: a critical evaluation of major themes and story dimensions such as dæmons, sin and the infamous "death of God"—an assessment that is smart and wisely restrained. Watkins's critical appreciation of Pullman's trilogy will surely appeal to a Christian audience, but will reach well beyond this market to a general readership looking for a solid, substantially sourced, and well-written analysis of this beloved work of literature. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Watkins is a fan of English children's fantasist Philip Pullman, but one unafraid of taking issue with his favorite on certain fundamental topics--in particular, Pullman's attack on God and Christianity. Capable, some say, of work on a par with the best of Milton, Dickens, and Tolkien, Pullman also has a reputation for religious subversion and has stated that he is "trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief." Watkins considers Pullman's career as a storyteller and also the major influences on his thinking, which include Paradise Lost, Blake, and the German Romantic story writer Heinrich von Kleist. He explores the world of Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, 1996; The Subtle Knife, 1997; The Amber Spyglass, 2000), examining such themes and issues in Pullman's work as the nature of the mysterious entity Dust and its connection with Original Sin, the Fall, and consciousness; truth and integrity; and the church, God, and the kingdom of heaven. Anyone with even cursory interest in Pullman or heroic fantasy may appreciate Watkins' thoughtful discussion. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By K. Alphs on November 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
This past week I was sent a disturbing email in regard to the upcoming movie release of "The Golden Compass" based on the novel of the same title by Philip Pullman.
After reading the article which was linked to the email and talking with a friend who has actually read Pullman's trilogy I began to read Tony Watkin's book.
Watkin's book covers the topic of this controversial trilogy and movie in three parts:
1. The Storyteller. This gives you a biographical sketch of Philip Pullman, explaining how life experiences have shaped the person/author he is today.
2. Synopsis of the books in the His Dark Materials trilogy: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
3. Shedding Light On His Dark Materials discusses the theological message of the series from a Christian perspective.
Watkin's had Pullman's full cooperation and assistance in writing this book. I highly recommend Watkin's book for those parents who have concerns about Pullman's trilogy or would like a better understanding of the trilogy before they begin reading.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By E. Vigne on August 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of the Philip Pullman books. I consider him to be an excellent writer and storyteller. However, the "His Dark Materials" books deal with issues that need to be thought over and discussed carefully. I appreciated this book as a well-thought out and interesting look at Philip Pullman's background, his personal views, his goals in writing the books, and the historical and religious background behind the books. I especially appreciated the author's candid expression of his enjoyment of the books. He admitted that he was a fan of Philip Pullman, while disagreeing with his message. I enjoyed seeing a Christian opinion of the book that fully appreciated Philip Pullman's wonderful storytelling, but still seriously considered anti-Christian or anti-Church messages in the trilogy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having heard Watkins interviewed on a radio talk show, compelled to read this book and it was certainly worth it.

Watkins is none of the Christians who embarrass the rest of us believers who categorize the trilogy as Satanic and to be avoided by all at all costs simply because it challenges God's church.

This helps no one. Watkins helps all in providing his take on the sources, influences and even critique of Pullman's trilogy using science, Scripture and other sources. Watkins is in fact a fan of Pullman's fantasy writing and expresses even agreement with the majority of Pullman's morals expressed.

There is beneficial stuff especially on science background of parallel universes (Watkins is a physics grad)and others such as literary influences of Milton, Von Kleist and Blake. His conclusion that Pullman inverts Second Century Gnosticism is spot on!

Worth reading.
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