Shadowmancer up in Smoke

Interesting week for GP Taylor, author of Shadowmancer. First some of his books got burned (he did it himself) and now he's in the LA Times.

He fared better than the TBN folks.

Maybe that's because he still drives a rustbucket car and has maintained some perspective on money.

Taylor, his round face weary, is looking forward to getting home to his church and family. He doesn't like to travel — flying is painful because of the head injuries he suffered when he was beaten — and he says he's not one for the temptations that fame and fortune can bring.

Well, there is one thing

"I don't think God would ever want me to have one, but I would like a new Cadillac.

"You don't want to get carried away," he says. "It could all be over tomorrow. I just want to enjoy today and see what happens."

He also talked about his battles with depression:

He left to become a full-time vicar after being seriously beaten by a gang of thugs "to the point where I really couldn't physically or emotionally continue anymore."

The experience fed Taylor's long struggle with depression that he says inspired "Shadowmancer's" soul-sapping demons called "thulak" (reminiscent of Rowling's "dementors").

"I thought about kids who are suffering from depression, because I'm a depressive. I don't think enough is talked about it. And in the Christian world, depression becomes a very bad thing. But if you'd broken your leg, you'd be open about it. Why should there be a stigma about depression?"

The reaction from some Christian groups to Taylor raises some interesting questions. Plugged In magazine thought his new book, Wormwood, too dark. Plugged In is published by Focus on the Family, which has also done radio dramas on CS Lewis's Narnia books.

It is curious that Lewis's Narnia books, which are filled with witchcraft-including a séance and incantations to resurrect the White Witch--an attempted human sacrifice and one ritual sacrifice in gory detail, a pantheon of figures from Greek mythology and lots of violent action--are beloved by Focus, without the scrutiny that Taylor gets.

I'm not fan of Philip Pullman, but he made some interesting points in his 1998 essay called The Dark Side of Narnia:

For an open-eyed reading of the books reveals some hair-raising stuff. One of the most vile moments in the whole of children's literature, to my mind, occurs at the end of The Last Battle, when Aslan reveals to the children that "The term is over: the holidays have begun" because "There was a real railway accident. Your father and mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadowlands - dead." To solve a narrative problem by killing one of your characters is something many authors have done at one time or another. To slaughter the lot of them, and then claim they're better off, is not honest storytelling: it's propaganda in the service of a life-hating ideology.

But that's par for the course. Death is better than life; boys are better than girls; light-coloured people are better than dark-coloured people; and so on. There is no shortage of such nauseating drivel in Narnia, if you can face it.

Whatever you say about Lewis, his views on race and sex roles are probably a bit old fashioned.

Shadowmancer, on the other hand, features Raphah, a teenaged boy from Ethiopia, who though seen as an uneducated savage by some of the characters in the book (set in the 18th century) is the most civilized and Christian character of all.


No More Predictions

Damn Yankees. That's all I've got to say.

My daughter thinks the Patriots should take them on.

She still keeping the faith. There are 4 games left in the ALCS, and the Sox need to win all 4. "So they still have enough chances," she told me in the car.

Keep hope alive.


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