Stories to live by

The fantasy worlds of Pullman and Lewis

The release of the film version of Philip Pullman’s novel The Golden Compass has reinvigorated the controversy over his trilogy, His Dark Materials. Proclaimed “worthy of the bonfire” when first published, Pullman’s books have evoked from some Christians the kind of response that one might expect from the church as described in the trilogy itself. Pullman also has Christian defenders, however, most notably Catholic theologian Donna Freitas, who makes an interesting case for him as a liberation theologian manqué in Killing the Imposter God. It is a false god who dies in His Dark Materials, Freitas argues, and Dust, the mysterious substance at the heart of Pullman’s story, is the real divine presence in the world.


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