Miranda-The Tempest, John William WaterhouseHis Dark Materials [an unofficial fansite]Miranda-The Tempest, John William Waterhouse

The Golden Compass

The Subtle Knife

The Amber Spyglass

Further Stories

Philip Pullman

Adapted Works







- A slow rate of evolution -

December 12th, 2002

Well. Some new tweaky additions to the site were uploaded in the beginning of the week, but I never mustered up enough energy to, you know, actually announce this fact. Consider that now rectified.

The FAQ is now accessible from the side bar on the site, as per the decree of Empress Katy.

Some paltry information about The Haunted Storm has been added to Philip Pullman Bibliography. Anybody who can actually locate a copy of this book will receive our eternal gratitude. And that goes double for whomever can figure out what How To Be Cool is about and why it apparently deserved a television adaptation.

Nick informs us that Pullman has picked his favorite books of 2002 over at The Guardian.

Over at yonder Forum, Mister BullDogJones has pointed out a soon-to-be-airing radio dramatization of His Dark Materials of which I was previously ignorant. Inspired by this revelation, I managed to scrape together some bits of information about all the current His Dark Materials adaptations: currently, there's the Movie, the Radio Drama, and the Play. Admittedly, it's not a lot, but I find a periodic accounting of what is known to be very comforting. If you can contribute to my storehouse of knowledge, I might very well love you forever.

Speaking of adaptations, I really should get around to doing something with the audio books, which are actually finished and present. Unfortunately, I don't have the audio books in my own possession and must crib information from others. Additionally, what exactly I could cover in regards to the audio books continues to elude me. I could possibly gush about my purely subjective reactions, but that might begin to pall for the reader after two hundred or so words. Ideally, others might contribute their own purely subjective reactions but after nearly two years of running this site, I have a narrow opinion of my ability to goad the passive masses into participation. Alas.

Also, for those that care: I've finished procrastinating and dredged up the remains from the Feb 2001-Mar 2002 message board which have been sleeping on my hard drive for six months. This Archive isn't a complete account of everything that went on in the Forum during that year - I've tried to eliminate inanity and preserve insight - but I like it as a compact historical record. I'll get around to preserving the current iteration of the Forum...eventually. Possibly in pieces.

I'm currently having problems with my image-editing software, so apologies to everyone who sent in book covers: I'm very grateful, but I'm going to have to wait to upload them.

October 12th, 2002

An apparently legitimate copy of Philip Pullman's enigmatic The Haunted Storm has gone up for auction on eBay. While you'll probably need pretty deep pockets to win the auction, this is the first time either a summary or cover art for the book has been seen. Go and live vicariously!

(And thanks to Jason Lynch for bringing the auction to our attention!)

October 8th, 2002

An update of odds and ends: Three reviews by Philip Pullman published in the Guardian have been found and duly linked (specifically, Strange Boy, by Paul Magrs, Ruby Holler, by Sharon Creech, and Coraline, by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman liked Pullman's review so much that he said "I don't think I've ever had the urge to send a thank-you letter to a reviewer before"). Someone found a previously undiscovered Q&A session with Pullman in the Guardian. Universal Pictures has apparently optioned the rights to Clockwork, though no other details have emerged.

A small request to any British readers out there: if it's at all possible, the next time you go to your local library, could you please check to see if The Haunted Storm, Using the Oxford Junior Dictionary, Ancient Civilizations , and How to be Cool (all by Philip Pullman) are either on the shelves or listed on the card catalog? There appears to be no 'Net information available on the subject matter or genre of these particular books - and it's not even certain that Pullman wrote some of them - so any content information would be deeply, deeply appreciated. It would, of course, be nice if you could find these books and read them and give us your thoughtful and introspective opinion on their relative merits, but a simple one sentence summary or cover blurb would more than suffice. Send any information to webmaster@darkmaterials.com

August 26th, 2002

The strange Golden Compass cover from the last update has two new siblings now - The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, thanks to Nick. These were found at the Canadian amazon.ca, so I'll tentatively list them as North American releases, but I'd like some confirmation when they're released in September.

Also thanks to Nick, my search for a good Pullman bibliography has finally met success - this site, while largely in Japanese, lists all the Pullman books of which I'm aware without listing any of the false ones which give me such a headache, so I'm inclined to think it's credible. Interestingly enough, it also credits Pullman with a 1972 book entitled The Haunted Storm, which could possibly be the "first-book-Pullman-wrote-which-he-refuses-to-name". However, given how much effort is required to track down Galatea, which had both a respectable printing run in both Great Britain and North America and is openly acknowledged by its author, The Haunted Storm may be very difficult to hunt down. Nevertheless, it's an interesting possibility.

Finally, John Milton was feeling lonely in the Influences section and so I've added William Blake to keep him company. It's a very skimpy section - right now it essentially consists of "The Tyger", aka "The One Poem By William Blake That Everybody Knows". Hopefully I'll be to make that entire section semi-respectable with time.

August 18th, 2002

Bits of odds 'n ends comprise this update - I'm afraid y'all will have to wait until the end of the month to get anything substantial.

A cover for The Golden Compass has been added; this one's a bit odd because it bears the North American name of the first book but was found on the British amazon.co.uk (Coincidence? You be the judge). There's also a new cover for the collected North American edition of His Dark Materials. Proper publication information has also been added to a handful of covers, and the FAQ has been slightly fiddled with. The Philip-Pullman-edited Detective Stories has been added to the bibliography.

Nick's fabulous "minishrine" Dark Adamant has been updated, and of note is a spiffy new section devoted to Philip Pullman's sadly out-of-print second novel, Galatea. So go and look and revel in vicarious joy!

August 6th, 2002

A new interview with Philip Pullman conducted by Third Way Magazine has been added to the Interview page. Thanks to Lisa C. for pointing it out!

Also, Philip Pullman has written a thoughtful reflection on Oxford, His Dark Materials, and fiction that was featured in The Guardian last month. Thanks to truculent peach Jeff for pointing it out!

I recently lost access to the computer where I had been storing my e-mail. So, if you've sent me e-mail and I haven't replied, please send your e-mail again.

Also! I received a fresh wave of Klez virus-infected e-mails this morning, which makes me rather irritable. Kids! Run virus-detecting software on your e-mail (Norton Antivirus is the most common). If you're already running Norton, then you really might want to run a removal tool just in case Klez has sneaked past your defenses. Sigh. Please help Adobe to avoid viruses, because they make her sad.

June 28th, 2002

In a recent interview (The Sunday Times, June 23), Tom Stoppard implicitly confirmed that he was adapting His Dark Materials for the big screen. Unfortunately, the interviewer also reels off all the other projects in which Stoppard is involved (The Coast of Utopia, Tulip Fever) and so it may be a while before Stoppard tackles Philip Pullman's trilogy.

The Facts and Speculation page has been updated with this information and a new Cast and Crew page has been added. The latter essentially regurgitates the same Tom Stoppard information, but running this site has led me to the conclusion that you can never post information in too many places. Also, go and see what Tod posted to the Forum about being cast in this (or any other) movie.

Mad props to Nick for smuggling me the aforementioned interview.

June 23rd, 2002

A (very brief) summary of John Milton's Comus has been added, and the all-mighty FAQ has been updated.

June 14th, 2002

The wonderful Matthew Uselton has contributed two essays to the site:

  • A Structural Study on the Emergence of Evil in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
  • Searching the Corners for Treasure: An Examination of the Role of Science Fiction in the Reclamation of Mythic Tradition

    Of course, both works rely on The Amber Spyglass and so spoilers for the series abound.

    June 9th, 2002

    Philip Pullman is at the Hay Festival of Literature 2002. The Guardian has quite extensive coverage of the event (which can be found here), with mentions of Pullman popping up often. In addition to that, there's apparently a sixty minute audio clip of Pullman talking to James Naughtie that can be accessed through this page.

    Thanks to Jeff for bringing Pullman's presence at the Festival to our attention!

    June 2nd, 2002

    There's a new Facts and Speculation page up for the movie adaptations. This is what is known. If your information isn't on this list, then feel free to inform the world about it.

    On a completely extraneous note - I like John Milton's Comus a lot more than I thought I would, considering my intense loathing of his bloated prose. Huzzah for compelling villains? Right. I shall now slip back into the neutral "third-person Additions" mode - look for Comus information (hopefully) the next time this site is updated (because that's the real reason you visit).

    May 24th, 2002

    Today sees the fabulous additions of a summary of John Milton's Areopagitica (to the delight of millions, I'm sure) and a list of the cast of the Cavalcade audio edition of The Amber Spyglass, which was stolen from Dark Adamant.

    May 18th, 2002

    A Philip Pullman Bibliography was inadvertently uploaded last week - upon discovery of this accidental addition, it was decided to let the section stay with a plea for more information. There doesn't appear to be a definitive Pullman bibliography (not surprising, considering that the author himself refuses to name his first book), and our list is probably less than satisfactory - but it's a start.

    (Now if we would only finish these kinds of things!)

    Also, Empire Online presents the rumor that the very nifty Tom Stoppard has been tapped to write the screenplay of the His Dark Materials cinematic adaptation. Tagging along with that news is the possibility that the series will be presented in two, rather than three, movies. Contrary to the frantic conclusions of many fans, this does not necessarily mean that The Amber Spyglass will not be adapted - it is much more likely that all three books will be combined into a fearsome two-part movie monster.

    May 9th, 2002

    Saints be praised, we finally have content! Please read If There Isn't a Sequel to the Trilogy.... and let the author know what you think!

    Postscript Update, five hours later: Right, I've added a German paperback cover of The Golden Compass, a new section for the various adapted versions of His Dark Materials (nevermind that it solely consists of the press release that everyone has read by now), and various little nips and tucks here and there.

    April 4th, 2002

    For your consumption today is a deluge of cover art. I deeply thank the generous individuals who scanned or found these covers. In many cases, dates of publication, publishers, and cover artists were unknown; if anyone out there happens to have these editions lying around their house, further information would be very much appreciated.

  • The Golden Compass Hardcover (Brazil)
  • The Golden Compass Hardcover (Spain)
  • The Subtle Knife Hardcover (Brazil)
  • The Subtle Knife Hardcover (Spain)
  • The Amber Spyglass Hardcover (Brazil)
  • The Amber Spyglass Hardcover (Spain)
  • The Amber Spyglass Paperback (United Kingdom)
  • The Amber Spyglass Paperback (United Kingdom)
  • His Dark Materials Hardcover (United Kingdom)
  • His Dark Materials Paperback (United Kingdom)

    On the off chance that someone has been living under a rock since early February, New Line Cinema has acquired the movie rights to His Dark Materials and hinted that they will begin production after Winter 2003. This would be an excellent time to stress that this site is very unofficial, and is unaffiliated with either Philip Pullman or New Line, though it's certain that either entity would be thrilled to receive those touching letters you keep sending.

    Also, the His Dark Materials Yahoo! Mailing List has abruptly jerked back to life again. The discussion lately has been interesting and insightful.

    February 1st, 2002

    Philip Pullman has written a piece about composer Nicolai Medtner for the magazine Granta. It is very interesting, especially for poor souls (like myself) that are musically ignorant - Pullman manages to discuss the music without resorting to abstract concepts or intellectual jargon. His portrait of Medtner is clear, concise, and heartfelt.

    January 19th, 2002

    Added a page linking Interviews held with Philip Pullman. There's probably many interviews missing from that list, but you know to do: mail 'em to us or post them to the Forum. Also, minor housekeeping done to the site.

    Happy New Year.

  • Archives

    no time ago
    or else a life
    walking in the dark
    i met christ
    jesus)my heart
    flopped over
    and lay still
    while he passed(as

    close as i'm to you
    yes closer
    made of nothing
    except loneliness

    -E. E. Cummings

    Thou sorrow, venom elf.
        Is this thy play,
    To spin a web out of thyself
        To catch a fly?
            For why?

    I saw a pettish wasp
        Fall foul therein,
    Whom yet thy whorl pins did not clasp
        Lest he should fling
            His sting.

    But as afraid, remote
        Didst stand hereat
    And with thy little fingers stroke
        And gently tap
            His back.

    Thus gently him didst treat
        Lest he should pet,
    And in a froppish waspish heat
        Should greatly fret
            Thy net.

    Whereas the silly fly,
        Caught by its leg,
    Thou by the throat took'st hastily
        And 'hind the head
            Bite dead.

    This goes to pot, that not
        Nature doth call.
    Strive not above what strength hath got
        Lest in the brawl
            Thou fall.

    This fray seems thus to us:
        Hell's spider gets
    His entrails spun to whipcords' thus,
        And wove to nets
            And sets,

    To tangle Adam's race
        In's stratagems
    To their destructions, spoiled, made base
        By venom things,
            Damned sins.

    But mighty, gracious Lord,
    Thy grace to break the cord; afford
        Us glory's gate
            And state.

    We'll Nightingale sing like,
        When perched on high
    In glory's cage, Thy glory, bright,
        And thankfully,
            For joy.

    -Edward Taylor, "Upon A Spider Catching A Fly"

    There's a certain Slant of light,
    Winter Afternoons--
    That oppresses, like the Heft
    Of Cathedral Tunes--

    Heavenly Hurt, it gives us--
    We can find no scar,
    But internal difference,
    Where the Meanings, are--

    None may teach it--Any--
    'Tis the Seal Despair--
    An imperial affliction
    Sent us of the air--

    When it comes, the Landscape listens--
    Shadows--hold their breath--
    When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
    On the look of Death--

    -Emily Dickinson

    His Dark Materials, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and all related characters, concepts, and commercial offspring are the property of Philip Pullman, Scholastic Books, Random House Inc, New Line Cinema and all other right-holders. This unofficial site is neither affiliated nor endorsed by any of the former parties. This site is not for profit and is not intended to infringe upon any commercial endeavors. E-mail: webmaster@darkmaterials.com