Of the making of books about Narnia there is no end, and in the Smart Pop series, they do kitschy critical books about anything pop, Buffy, Firefly, Farscape, and plus they even str-e-t-c-h out the definition of "pop" so that now it includes PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen, arguing that it's really a "chick-lit" masterpiece. What next, Primo Levi as action adventure? Shanna Caughey covers all the bases, and it looks as though she isn't totally cowing to the Christian market, as some writers of other religions manage to have sent in some contributions. She provides us with a good framework on which to investigate our queries. And some of the essays. None use very much jargon, and readers familiar with academic language over the past 30 years will find themselves mysteriously free, as though released from original sin, from deconstructive post-modern theory. It's all, what would C S Lewis think of the new movie versions of his books. The keynote author, Charlie Starr, says that C S Lewis was no fan of the movies (he died in 1963) but "had he lived in out time to see its greater flowering" he might have come to love them the way he loved the Ring Cycle, for example. "Greater flowering"? Have the movies suddenly improved since 1963, or am I just imagining Jim Carrey, Arnold Scharzenegger, Vince Vaughn and Kevin Costner, not to mention the age of the blockbuster that crowds out original screenplays? I like Starr's optimism, however, and he sincerely seems to think that Hollywood is getting better in every way day by day. Maybe he should quit his job at Kentucky Christian University and head the MPAA, we need his sunny smile.
A few authors complain that Harper Collins is now packaging the Narnia books so that THE MAGICIAN's NEPHEW comes first--because after all it takes up the creation of Narnia and the series should be read in the chronological order of the action, not the life of the author and the order in which he wrote the darn things. I haven't made up my mind about this. Another author of Hellenic-American descent wonders what would change in the Narnia theology if "C S Louverdis" had written the books--that is, a Greek Orthodex writer like himself. He really lays into Aslan's pomposity and pride: "Aslan is a bully, ultimately, and a guiltmongering prig who doesn't fail to let Edmund know that the one reason that Edumind is alive is due to Aslan's sacrifice--a sacrifice that was stage-managed and lasted all of one day anyway. Edmund, young and with an undeveloped personality, has little choice but to go through life crippled with guilt and humble remorse, and becomes a rather humorless prig himself. Ah, what a message of faith and redemption!" Makes you think, more's the pity.