Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Ruby loves the great Christian fantasy writers: Tolkien, Lewis, L'Engle.

I read the last two, as a teenager. I have yet to get into Tolkien, but I like the movies. Even the cartoons, which I guess are otherwise universally despised.

The only one of them I really share her fascination with is Lewis. I think he was a prude, and he harps on atheists. But he is immensely clever, using beautiful images, and has a very sophisticated way of handling the divide between faith and intention. He is a great writer. He isn't a lazy thinker.

I distrust what I remember of L'Engle, which is admittedly little and supplemented by Ruby's avidity.

"Bounce the ball, Charles Wallace."

Watching the Disney movie of "A Wrinkle In Time" last night, Ms. L'Engle impressed me as a sort of neo-Manichian. People are so dismissive of their bodies.

Ruby says the movie doesn't do the book justice. This interview also goes a long way towards dispelling that impression. She's obviously lived passionately.

I did find this irritating:

"So to you, faith is not a comfort?

Good heavens, no. It's a challenge: I dare you to believe in God. I dare you to think [our existence] wasn't an accident."

Now, come on. Why not a triple dog dare, if she really wanted to emphasize the point?

Reading: I picked up Contacting Aliens, the guide to David Brin's Uplift universe. Usually, I'm not fond of "the world of books." I like series and series authors, but I'm more interested in my own dollhouses. However, Mr. Brin's Uplift universe is very compelling to me: It seems a very logical way to organize a random universe over the very long term. It is also richly detailed, with great cascading uplift linneages.

Several years ago, a friend of mine pointed out that alien and fantastical races are often simply extensions of human character types. The Gruff, independentnt dwarf. The aesthete elf. I think Brin does this one better by making his alien cultures such specific representations of weird personality types that they sort of transcend the limitations of the genre. It is a sort of allegory, which is rare in science fiction.

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