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14700The letters between C. S. Lewis and Arthur C. Clarke

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    Apr 30, 2005
      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.

      Wendell Wagner


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