I'm currently reading the book _From Narnia to a Space Odyssey: The War of
Ideas between Arthur C. Clarke and C. S. Lewis_, edited by Ryder W. Miller.
(We're reading it for May in Knossos, the Mythopoeic Society discussion group
here in the Washington, D.C. area.) It's a collection with some letters
between Clarke and Lewis on the subject of space flight and science fiction.
("War of ideas" is an exaggeration, since it's just a few letters and a rather
mild disagreement.) Because there are only a few letters, Miller has chosen
to fill out the book with some short stories and essays by Lewis and Clarke
that are relevant to this issue. It's still a short book.
It's a good idea for a book, but it's terribly done. Miller is no expert on
either Lewis or Clarke and the introductory essays on the two men are full
of misinformation. The copyediting on the book is pretty poor too. The
biggest problem though is the editing of the letters from Lewis. It was no
problem to transcribe Clarke's letters, since they were typewritten and Clarke is,
of course, still around to correct any mistakes. Lewis's letters were
handwritten though and he's not here to correct the mistranscriptions. Granted
that Lewis had bad handwriting, some frequent abbreviations, and some
misspellings, it's still a terrible job of transcribing the letters. I can look at the
letters as printed in this book and see what words Miller misunderstood.
The book includes photographic copies of some of the letters. I can use them
to figure out other mistakes that Miller has made in transcription.
Has anyone tried to produce a better set of transcriptions of Lewis's
letters in this book? I'd like to give to the members of Knossos by our meeting
next month a better set of transcriptions of Lewis's letters in this book. I
can do some of this myself but it would be even better if someone else could
make some suggestions for this transcription.
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