HDM and P. Pullman
I am a fan of “His Dark Materials,” by Philip Pullman. It’s a work of staggering imagination (in parts) and is marked by beautiful prose….unlike Rowling’s cumbersome crap (sorry). At the same time, the points of Pullman (an overt atheist) make me stop, think, and consider my own beliefs–and his.
That said, I absolutely hate the ending of the trilogy, which, in my opinion, completely loses the pacing of the language and the scope of the story to narrow down and slam the reader over the head with Pullman’s belief-system. It’s a travesty–the main thing I mind about it isn’t just that it expresses a viewpoint I disagree strongly with, but it does it poorly (at least in contrast to the previous flights of fancy and rhetoric).
My conclusion? Great, challenging, yet brilliant books for mature readers (be they ten or a hundred) and artistically and philosophically confusing work for the rest (who should avoid them, as a result).
Anyway, there’s a lot of fuss going on right now about the movie adaptation of the first book. Here are two good interviews I’ve found with Pullman: at Filmchat and Thirdway. Make that two Great interviews.
Oh, and there’s a fascinating discussion with Thom Yorke at Thirdway, as well. I need to watch that site.