Landscape With Dragons revisited
- I've now read most of O'Brien's book, and I have to say I'm
disappointed; I found it to have all the subtly of a Jack Chick
pamphlet. Among the authors he warns against in the chapter on
"Neopagan Literature for Children" as not Christian enough are
Madeleine L'Engle (whom he considers a "Christian Neopagan"), Lloyd
Alexander, some works by Steven Lawhead, Terry Brooks (gotta agree
with him on this one), Anne McCaffrey, and especially Ursula Le Guin
(he leaves out the "K."), whom he considers a Gnostic (thus showing
that he doesn't know what gnosticism is). He also hates the Disney
movie Aladdin, but I haven't read that part yet to find out why (I
assume the genie). The only three fantasy authors he actually
recommends are Tolkien, Lewis (except for THS), and MacDonald (except
for "The Golden Key"), though CSL is the only one of these he treats
in depth; the 90-page reading list his publishers put in the back of
the book I noticed includes Carol Kendall, though some of its other
choices are a bit bizarre). Matt I think has it right when he says
that for O'Brien, no symbol ever changes its meaning. For me
personally the strangest bit was O'Brien's advice on what to do if
you found out your child had played D&D, or was "fooling around with"
an Ouija board, or had been exposed to "sinister video games" (his
own children aren't allowed to watch tv, either at their own house or
those of others, and were exposed only the "gentle stories"):
"He [the parent] should ask God for spiritual protection for his
family (a prayer that should be made daily). He should plead for the
Blood of Jesus to cover his home and each member of his family. He
should ask for the protection of the holy angels to surround and fill
his home and family and for special graces to be given to his
children's guardian angels. He should invoke the intercession of the
saints and all holy angels, including Saint Michael the Archangel,
protector of the Church, the one who cast Satan out of heaven. He
should pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who has been
given a special role during these times as an instrument to defeat
"Then he should pray for the specific grace to meet this
particular crisis . . ." --he also notes that resorting the fasting
may be required. He ends his book with a defense of intolerance,
arguing that intolerance is acceptable given "the urgency of the
Unfortunately (?), the book was written in 1998, so there's no
mention of Harry Potter. Rather surprisingly, he also doesn't seem to
have ever heard of Philip Pullman's THE GOLDEN COMPASS, which is a
pretty serious omission even then. So even if you were interested in
his theory, you'll find his applications sadly out of date.
The short version: don't bother reading this book to find out
anything about Tolkien or Lewis or fantasy.
The long version: if you want to understand the mindset that
condemns everything supernatural as Satanic, O'Brien's book is as
good a place as any, but you'd be more entertained by a Jack Chick
pamphlet, which is just as intolerant but at least has pictures.
> From: jef.murrayAfraid you've lost me here; can you explain?
> Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 7:49 AM
> I have to take exception here. O'Brien is not a
> fundamentalist, (an orthodox Catholic could never
> be so considered)
- Hello fellows:
I've been off-list for some time. One reason is that
I've been looking after an early Mythopoeic personage,
Jon Lackey. He was the producer of the "Greater
Trumps" masque that was mounted at
the second Mythcon in 1971. He had been in ill health
for much of this previous year.
I'm sorry to report that he passed away on February
26th of cancer.
He was an enormous influence on my life, as well as
many others. He was involved with the very
first campaign to produce a film of "Rings" in 1957.
A major contributor to the SCA, LASFS, a tutor and
mentor to many, RenFair performer, artist, sculptor,
costumer, composer, and so much more.
Please pass this information on to anyone who might
have known him, and have them contact me
as regards a planned memorial.
Bonnie S. Callahan