Pullman, puppets, innocence and death

Some things I’ve enjoyed reading lately (and so might you):

This short story I love just for the unashamed flow of the words; the author seems always compared to China Mieville, and I can see why. Via Cosma, whose other short story recommendations are also good.

BLDGBlog on The Akwigran Discrepancy – which should be an indie band or a Robert Ludlum book, but was (maybe) an unintentional No Man’s Land between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, overlooked by cartography and diplomacy.

Marionettes (previous post) brought me to Heinrich von Kleist’s essay On the marionette theatre. Philip Pullman mentions this as a view of childhood innocence similar to what he aimed for in

Northern Lights

(also for the fighting bear). That is, Pullman is one of the few children’s writers who manages to love both childhood and adulthood – unlike, say, CS Lewis (maybe) and most of Hollywood. Here’s how Kleist explains it:

…grace itself returns when knowledge has as it were gone through an infinity. Grace appears most purely in that human form which either has no consciousness or an infinite consciousness. That is, in the puppet or in the god.”

“Does that mean”, I said in some bewilderment, “that we must eat again of the tree of knowledge in order to return to the state of innocence?”

“Of course”, he said, “but that’s the final chapter in the history of the world.”

On that, I’m with Kleist and Pullman.

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