Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Always Get My Great Ideas Just A Wee Bit Too Late.

As you know if you follow the sidebar to see what I'm reading, I'm working my way through The Chronicles of Narnia right now. Somehow, I managed to go through life without ever reading them before.

Guess what, kids? These are some damn fine books! I bet they'd make some kick-ass movies.

I'd talk more about it but I'm a little busy working on another idea I've got. It'll be a new kind of thing to use instead of snaps or buttons or laces. One side is sort of wooly and fluffy and the other side is a little stiffer with lots of little hookey thingies on it. The idea is that when they touch each other they'll stick, but then you can just pull them apart. Easy-peesey. Don't tell anyone, though. I wouldn't want someone to steal the idea and beat me to the punch.


Tania said...

I like the Narnia books. Totally missed the Xtian symbolism when I read them as a kid. As an adult, I felt like I was being beat over the head with it.

But that aside, darned fun stories.

Eric said...

I hope you're reading them in the right order--when the Narnia books were recently republished, some asshat decided to reprint the books in chronological order instead of the original publication order: consequently, The Magician's Nephew (the second-worst book in the series) now appears as "volume 1" while The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (the second-best book) appears as "volume 2." I've long considered this a form of child abuse. Any kid who gave up on the series midway through Nephew would be totally excused.

Like Tania, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I missed the Christian symbolism (it obviously had an effect--I've been an atheist more than 2/3 of my life now). Several of the books--the best ones, if you ask me--work perfectly well as fantasy (Lion, The Horse And His Boy, Prince Caspian and Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, in more-or-less descending order). The books where the allegory gets thickest (Nephew and The Last Battle) are nearly unreadable, even when I was a kid.

What's interesting, too, is that the Christian allegory is pretty terrible while the fantasy elements are pretty good. (For a special laugh, note the way Lewis slips his silly "Lunatic, Liar or Lord" argument into Lion, accidentally forcing the contemporary reader to wonder how desperate London families really were during the Blitz, if they were sending their kids to stay with people like the Professor--"If this is the first time your sister has acted crazy and the first time you thought she was lying, shouldn't you logically conclude I have a magic closet? Now come sit in my lap....")

I've long thought that Tolkien's comment that he "detested allegory in all it's forms" was a none-too-subtle dig at Lewis, which I think is funny.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy them. As much as I knock Lewis, my love of fantasy (and possibly my love of snow) goes directly back to Narnia--Lion is the first non-comic-book book I can remember reading, and I'll always adore those books even when they annoy the hell out of me. After all, how can you stay mad at Reepicheep? You can't.

Related note: you may appreciate yesterday's entry at McSweeney's--A Letter To His Imperial Majesty, Aslan, in which Aslan's subjects express certain... reservations... about His management style....

Eric said...

I just spotted an inconsistency in my post and a dangling question--here's the answer:

The Horse And His Boy is the best book in the series. Chronologically, it takes place between Lion and Prince Caspian. Publication-wise, it's supposed to be book 5, between The Silver Chair and The Magician's Nephew.

Nathan said...


I'm actually reading them in the compilation order...with Lion,Witch and Wardrobe in second position.

I didn't really have any problem getting through The Magician's Nephew, so I'm looking forward to the rest of it. And yeah, the Christian themes are fairly blatant.