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December 06, 2007



Thanks, dude, you totally saved me from having to read the Pullman books with my kid.


They're very, very good books, and I'm glad I read them. They're just not as great as I think they could have been.

Patricia  Harrelson

OK, I need to read this one at least 13 times because it jerked me in so many directions: Favorite fantasy as child? Destiny? Choices? Pullman's The Golden Compass which I gobbled up but haven't gotten around to reading the next two though my 14 year old recommender of YA fiction tells me that The Amber Spy Glass was her favorite of the triology. And did I even think about such things as you posit here when I was 14? Do I think about them now? OH ferfle, was it?


Wait, are you complaining that destiny rules in fantasy and science fiction?

Do I have you wrong here?

I'm just starting to re-discover fantasy and sci fi (what is the politically correct term for these? I forgot! Speculative Fiction?) but babe, I think destiny is what it's all about!

I mean, Dune?

Or maybe it's all the God-given destiny. Seriously, even there you are obliterating so many books though. Aren't you? Maybe I don't understand the genre well enough.


JV- I think there's a difference between inclination and destiny. Destiny and fate (to me) presumes the workings of outside forces driving us in a particular direction, with or without our consent.

OZMA- Star Trek is I think a perfect example of science fiction and they don't play the destiny card. To me, destiny in literature usually means the author couldn't think of a good way to make things happen himself, so he created "a character" (destiny) to make it happen. Sometimes stuff happens and it doesn't make sense. Sometimes random stuff happens and seems to align so perfectly that it seems like it happened "for a reason". I think both of those are equally random. The ability to draw lessons from experiences is certainly desirable, but "it was meant to be" is kind of a weak lesson. In my opinion. Yikes, I have another 1000 words coming on.


Great, now I have to have a big think about destiny in fantasy. In all my free time.

I had some other issues in Pullman which overshadowed the destiny question, but I'm planning a reread so I'll look at it clearly this time.

It's been a while since I read Prydain, but I did just read Alexander's last ever book and I liked the choices Carlo had to make at the end. Less mystical and eternal, but I think it fits in well with what you're talking about.

Have you read Catherine Fisher's Oracle series? There was a bit of destiny, but an awful lot of characters making real, tough choices and being flawed and changing human beings. I'd be curious to hear what you think of them.

Un Lun Dun used the destiny card in a way that bugged me. Trying to get around it, but still embracing the fate card.

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