My Poor Car! A Casualty of Global Warming

As I lay asleep in bed last night, during a hellacious ice storm, some turkey came whizzing down the street and smashed my car. I am parked on the street because we have no driveway, no parking lot, and I have no choice. So, wham! tore the whole left front panel off and bent the door so it won’t open.

As I write this, the iceballs are still coming down, still coating the enormous piles of snow all over the place. But the first thing I heard on the news this morning was Al Gore saying all this snow and ice is the result of… Global Warming!

As a fantasy writer, I am sensitive to fantasy being used as a basis for public policy. Despite the demonstrated fact that Warmist “scientists” have been repeatedly caught lying, cheating, fudging their figures, destroying evidence, presenting World Wildlife Fund press releases as peer-reviewed scientific papers, and demanding that the government silence or even jail their critics, they just will not let this drop. Confronted by the most severe winter in most people’s memory, they insist the cold weather is caused by warming. One is reminded of Judge Judy snapping at some witness who is BS-ing her, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me that it’s raining!”

Meanwhile, Harry Reid is trying to tell us that NOT spending a couple trillion dollars on Obamacare is somehow going to increase the deficit. My leg is getting wetter and wetter.

Here we see, at last, where fantasy ends and actual delusion begins. When we craft a fantasy, we assume the reader will take it for granted that what he’s reading isn’t real. We appeal to his willing suspension of disbelief, realizing that it’s only a temporary suspension. Our fantasy book or movie is thus a metaphor, and understood as such by all the rational members of our audience.

On second thought, “delusion” may not be the right word for what Gore and Reid are subject to. The term “compulsive lying” is probably more accurate.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I

Movie Review by Lee Duigon

It’s hard to review a piece of a movie-which, for all its nearly three-hour length, is what this is. If you haven’t seen the earlier Harry Potter movies, or read the books, watching this movie will be like entering a roomful of strangers all talking about people and incidents you have never heard of. There’s no flashing back to make things clear, no explanations provided for anything. If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you can forget about understanding this film.

So why review it, then?

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels have sold millions and millions of copies, and millions of movie tickets, too. This is the most successful series of books ever published, and it has revolutionized young readers’ fiction. It would be irresponsible to ignore it.

Because Harry Potter is such a cultural phenomenon, and this movie is a slice of it, we can look at it to see what it can tell us about our culture. What has Harry Potter taken out of our culture, and what has it put in?

Magic and Science

In the alternative universe of Harry Potter, everything important gets done by magic-or “wizarding,” as they sometimes call it. Witches, wizards, and warlocks are the elite of that world.

As a thought experiment, plug in “science” for “magic”-and you’ll see that the Harry Potter world pretty closely approximates our own. By “science” we mean what Jean-Marc Berthoud calls “the cultural domination of our whole culture by a purely mathematical model of the universe (the so-called scientific worldview, valid in fact only in its strictly limited domain, that of the measurable) as normative of every aspect of reality.”1

Materialistic “science” in our culture has excluded God. In Harry Potter-land, “magic” does the same. Given the awesome power of magic in that world, there would appear to be no place for God.

Despite various efforts to spin the Potter books as some obscure kind of Christian enterprise, we see no evidence at all in Deathly Hallows I that there is any Christianity at work in any of the characters’ lives, or any other recognizable religion, for that matter. Yes, there is one brief scene in which we see a village church with people inside it singing Christmas carols. What of it? Millions of Americans celebrate Christmas as a generic holiday and are dead to its religious significance. And every now and then, a character in the movie says, “my God.” But that doesn’t mean that they believe in God. For millions of Americans, “God” and even “Jesus” are just words to be tossed casually into a sentence, stripped of all meaning.

J. K. Rowling has been accused of promoting witchcraft. But I think it important to note that in Deathly Hallows I, there is no hint of any power higher than that of the magician. Paganism is supposed to feature pagan gods and goddesses, but we see no gods here. The world of Harry Potter much more closely resembles the fantasy world of The Humanist Manifesto II than it does anything in paganism. Take the Humanist Manifesto and substitute “magic” or “wizarding” for words like “science” and “technology,” and you will instantly find yourself in Harry Potter’s universe.2

Thus we discover that Rowling is not promoting paganism. Wittingly or not, she is promoting humanism.

Godless Fiction

This is one of those things which, once you see it, you can’t stop seeing it.

The absence of God, and the non-acknowledgement of any kind of religious concept or practice, sets modern fiction apart from several millenia of story-telling. We visit the fiction shop every day, consuming books and stories, movies, television shows, video games, comics, etc.–and there’s hardly a trace of God in any of it.

Chronicles of Narnia III: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Image result for voyage of the dawn treader

The young king sails into unknown waters seeking seven lords, loyal men driven into perpetual exile by a villainous usurper. To accomplish the mission, the king has to journey to the very edge of the world, surviving deadly perils and witnessing miracles.

That’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as C. S. Lewis wrote it. But that’s not the story you’ll be seeing on the screen.

Maybe, if you’ve never read the book, or seen the BBC-TV rendition of the story, you’ll be perfectly satisfied with this film. It opened strong at the box office, it has a fine cast, all the special effects you could desire-and it’s in 3-D, too.

In spite of all these things going for it, Dawn Treader misses the mark. By how much, the audience will decide.

Old Errors Out, New Errors In

What went wrong?

The second movie in this series, Prince Caspian, was a disappointment. It had some major problems, which have been corrected.

Ben Barnes returns as Caspian, but a very different Caspian. Prince Caspian should have been introduced to us as an idealistic boy in his early teens, but somebody in charge of such things in Movie No. 2 decided to present him to us as some kind of smoldering hunk, a Narnian Fabio. This was so they could hint at a romance between Caspian and Queen Susan. Yick.

In Dawn Treader, even though he now sports a beard, Barnes gives us a younger, fresher, more innocent Caspian, thus proving that the foolishness in Movie No. 2 was not his fault (and also proving he’s a marvelous actor).

Georgie Henley returns as Queen Lucy, the youngest and most faithful of the Pevensie children from our own world, the first of her siblings to discover Narnia. She’s perfect in the part, just perfect. Skander Keynes is back as her brother, King Edmund. He wasn’t given much scope in Movie No. 2, but in this outing he comes into his own.

Will Poulter joins the cast as Lucy and Edmund’s cousin, Eustace. This character is supposed to start out as an obnoxious little prig whose truer, better self is brought out by the grace of God and by his experiences on the voyage. Despite being lumbered with some over-the-top dialogue, young Poulter is terrific. His body language has to be seen to be believed.

Reepicheep, the mouse version of Errol Flynn, is computer-generated. Thankfully, the makers of Movie No. 3 relieved him of the inane dialogue he spouted in No. 2.

The silliness that marred Prince Caspian has been taken out of the sequel. We also get magic swords, a sea-monster, a dragon, sword-fights, a book of magic spells and whatnot, all of it convincingly executed on screen and backed up by excellent performances. So what’s not to like?

Are We in Narnia Yet?

I have been to see “Chronicles of Narnia III: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” and it makes me fear for the future of this series of movies. I’ll be writing a full review for www.chalcedon.edu , so this is just a preview. (Hint: When you go to the movies these days, arrive late enough to miss the commercials and the previews. You’ll be glad you did!)

“Dawn Treader” has received mixed reviews so far (not a good sign). Apparently a lot of the reviewers don’t know the story as C.S. Lewis wrote it, and are blissfully unaware that the story has been radically changed. In fact, they changed so much of it, I wondered why they bothered to make the movie at all.

Why, why, why do they do that when they make a movie? If C.S. Lewis’ story was so inadequate as he wrote it, why would you want to make a movie out of it in the first place?

And then we’ve got Liam Neeson, who provides the voice for Aslan in these films, flapping his jaw in public about how Aslan isn’t just Jesus Christ, he’s also Mohammed and Buddha, blah-blah… How stupid can you get?

Forest Schultz’s Cellar Review

The quests of each of the first two books in Lee Duigon’s children’s fantasy series pertain to legacies of the renowned King Ozias which must be activated by two children, Jack and Ellayne.  Book One ends with the inauguration of a new age produced when Jack fulfills the first quest by ringing the Bell of Ozias on the summit of Bell Mountain.  The second quest is retrieving the secret scrolls of Ozias by descending deep underground into a secret cellar.

Read More

The Harry Potter Rage Continues

The Worldviews of Fantasy

The present generation was raised on Harry Potter. It is the most popular book series and most popular movie series of all time, exceeding the box office receipts of Star Wars and Avatar! But what shall we say of this Dark Tale? The good guys are homosexuals and witches. And the bad guys definitely look uglier than the good guys. We’ve come a long way from the Bobbsey Twins. Not many kids raised on the Bobbsey Twins became interested in Necromancy, Human Sacrifice, and Homosexuality. The next twenty years are going to be. . . different, shall we say? Kevin Swanson interviews Christian fantasy author, Lee Duigon on the basic differences between corrupting man-centered witchcraft and God-centered story-telling.

Check it out here

Sketch of Thunder King Cover (Book 3)

Just thought I’d share the sketch work of the third book. It is going to be called The Thunder King. Obviously not the final look of the book but it is a very nice start.

So I Went to See the Harry Potter Movie…

First they clobber you with commercials, all of them featuring exceptionally bad music with the volume turned up so that your bones vibrate.

Then come the previews, about a dozen of them. And they all look like the same movie! Is it my imagination, or are movies getting uglier? They previewed a new Stephen Spielberg film based on a video game, “Cowboys and Aliens,” and all the actors looked like they’d just crawled out of the gutter trying to find another drink. I guess they just don’t make movies like “Casablanca” anymore–you know: with smart dialogue, fascinating multi-dimensional characters, and an actual story line. Who needs that stuff, when you can base your movies on video games and comic books?

I’ll have much more to say about “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I,” in the review that I’ll write for Chalcedon (www.chalcedon.edu ). But here are a few short takes.

1. Why do some of the characters in this movie say “My God,” when there is no God in J.K. Rowling’s alternative universe? Correct me if I’m wrong, but what role would God play in a world where children and bad guys wield fantastic magic powers and function as gods themselves?

2. Is it my imagination, or does one of the female villains in the movie bear a striking resemblance to Hillary Clinton?

3. If there is no God in the Harry Potter world, and the good guys and the bad guys use exactly the same techniques to get their way (you can tell the bad guys from the good guys in this movie because the bad guys are even uglier than the good guys), what is the source of morality in this alternative universe?

4. Why do so many Christians, especially Christian parents, seem to have no problem with this stuff?

Once again we see that modern Christians seem perfectly content to take the culture as they find it, and make no effort to bring it under the dominion of Christ the King.

Maybe that’s why our culture is turning into a cesspool.

My Writing History (in case you wanted to know)

I started writing monster stories in grade school, mostly because my friends liked them. My teachers didn’t.

By junior high, I was writing science fiction, culminating in my immortal The Apes of Grath. But then I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs and J.R.R. Tolkien, and realized I wanted to write fantasy. I have no idea how many fantasy novels I cranked out, over the next few years. They had titles like The Sword and the Whistle and The Westending Tale. They were horrible. I actually submitted them to publishers, but they didn’t show much interest in 18-year-old Tolkien wannabes. Hopefully all those manuscripts have perished.

After college, I got a job writing term papers (not legal anymore). I should mention that my four years of higher education converted me, unawares, to a shabby secular paganism.

From term papers I graduated to a career as a newspaperman. I was in journalism long enough to forget how to write fiction. When I left in 1980, I started writing short stories again–mostly mysteries, with a little horror. After about 300 or 400 rejections I finally sold my first story, The Bun Man, to Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine. After that, Shayne’s published half a dozen more of my stories.