Lyra

Friday fics — worldbuilding

I have a bunch of things from [community profile] fic_corner open in tabs, but have scarcely managed to read anything, being more occupied with a.) excessive coughing, b.) watching trashy TV and c.) feeling sorry for myself. However! Have a single, solitary fic that I did manage to read:

Worldbuilding (1006 words) by AdaptationDecay
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Digory Kirke, Polly Plummer
Summary:

"Frank and Helen are going to build an entire world from scratch, almost. I'm longing to see how they do it, but I never shall."

You could hardly have an assignment where a prompt for 'worldbuilding' was more appropriate. *g* I like the way it gently pokes a bit at The Magician's Nephew, which is a Narnia book that I enjoy on its own merits, but as an origin story for Narnia I find it full of fridge logic. Also the fact that C. S. Lewis thought that it ought to be read first is all the proof I needed as a kid that authors could be wrong about their own work.


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As to reading order, Lewis may have been tailoring his answer to his questioner. (We're told Jesus did a lot of that too!) The earliest reference I've seen, was in a letter answering a child's fan letter. The authoritative one was in answer to a US publisher who wanted to put numbers on the spines (common practice with series). So there may have been an element of "Well, if you have to ASK somebody, you're too young for Publication Order."
Yeah, now that you mention it, I think HarperCollins reads that letter as being far more definitive than the text itself will bear. After all, he goes on to say that "So perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them", which is a statement that will find very little agreement on either side of the Reading Order Debate! :D

As far as I can tell, since 1974 the British Puffin paperbacks had an internal statement about the "correct reading order" opposite the title page where you get information about other books by an author and/or in a series, although they did not have numbers on their (gorgeous!) covers. (I can find lots of pictures of the covers, but none of the inside pages, so my information is not as accurate as I would like.) Whereas the American equivalent ubiquitous paperbacks from Macmillan were numbered with publication order on the covers, which were frankly nowhere near as pretty, which is why a bunch of American Narnia readers flipped out when HarperCollins brought out the new editions numbered in internal chronological order, as it was an idea that I think had frankly never occurred to many of us! The covers are prettier, though.
Books in the 1950s.... I keep remembering Ann Landers and Dear Abby, who often answered questions with: "If you have to ask ME, you're too young."