Talk:The Amber Spyglass

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Who is the publisher[edit]

It seems that Amber Spyglass was originally published by David Fickling (as credited in the article) .... At that time David Fickling was an imprint of Random House .... David Fickling is now an independent publisher outside Random House (who appear to be the current publishers of all three parts of HDM). In this circumstance, WHO should be credited as publisher?. A quick search suggests similar problems may exist with the other two books of the trilogy. Pincrete (talk) 15:28, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Plot summary[edit]

Hi. I made my first few edits to Wikipedia the other day, adding some additional information to the plot summary. I see that some of these were removed by User:Pincrete, who stated that the plot summary is overlong to begin with. Fair enough I can agree with that, but it seems like at the moment there is not enough information to be detailed, but too much to be a summary. For example, it mentions that an assassin is dispatched, but then it never mentions him again. And it goes into detail about Lyra releasing the dead from the prison, but omits the fact that this window remains open, which I always thought was one of the core resolutions of the book. Reading this now just makes it seem like things ended like they were at the beginning, all the dead get stuck in a hole.

So, can we either: Remove the mention of the assassin at the beginning, or re-instate my change stating what happened to him

Do an overall plot summary pruning, or add in something that explains that the dead are no longer stuck in a hole.

Also, is there a guidance somewhere about how plot summaries should be written, best practice etc? Thanks Scribolt (talk) 06:41, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

Scribolt, I've made some substantial changes today, partly to resolve the points you make. There are, I believe, guides but basically we all learn as we go along. As your memory of the book may be fresher than mine, tell me if you think I've over-done things today. I have this page on my watchlist, so will 'see' any edits you make here. In general, it is easier to say what we DON'T do in summaries and articles (we don't interpret, we don't point to 'significance', we observe the distinction between 'in-universe' and 'real world', we aren't writing a back-of-the-book-taster 'blurb', apart from 'back story', we write in the present tense, etc.....).
These pages (the HDM ones), have a bit of a history of being 'bloated'. The plots are SO complex and SO well fleshed out with nice details (eg Bal+Bar being 'lovers') that it is almost inevitable that some info has to be simply by-passed. I've made a lot of edits on HDM pages, but before today, not many on the summaries. Considering the importance of these books, the number of current editors is very low these days, so welcome aboard! Pincrete (talk) 14:28, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
I liked your changes, I just re-read it and started looking at the wiki pages. I've made one further change, which has the bonus of shortening it slightly. Just switch it back if you feel it was important. Thanks for your welcome I'll keep an eye on all these pages over the next few weeks and see if I can help. Scribolt (talk) 14:53, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
Two dangers I will point out across ALL the HDM pages are firstly making 'real world' comparisons + links eg John Faa, Magisterium etc. I spent months cleaning these up across all the pages, for whilst it is fairly obvious that Pullman intentionally uses 'real world' names, HIS John Faa is not OUR John Faa. I evolved a strategy for dealing with this. The second danger is that we bring our own knowledge to summaries. Mary's story about ceasing to be a nun, is quite important in 'Amber', and sets up 'the kiss', but our summary doesn't even mention that she has ever been a nun .... that's probably in book 2's summary! I simply 'pruned' it to a minimum today as I didn't have the heart to cut it completely! Pincrete (talk) 15:26, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
Meh, well it does mention she's a nun, because she would need to be one to begin with to cease being one, right? Anyway, I discovered the list of characters which I note does include some of those real world references, which seems like the most sensible place for them. Scribolt (talk) 05:50, 23 May 2016 (UTC)
Agree about where mainly to keep 'real world', I developed strategies for making the dstinction, "has the same name as/ etc.". With 'nun story' I figured that anyone who had read would be reminded and anyone who hadn't wouldn't understand anyway without a para of explanation, so 'mention' was enough. Pincrete (talk) 09:21, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

Censorship section[edit]

I'm not sure layout consideration should impact the content of an article. Correct me if I'm wrong but the layout is merely here to inform about quotations, titles, important things that we wish to highlight and so on. IMHO it should be taken into consideration when considering what to put in an article but that is what your first point suggested when you say "transforms the article into a wall of text". Concerning the second part " this is non-free material so should be used sparingly" I do not think that quoting 2*5 lines in a book that is more than 1000 pages long is any source of problem. Finally I'd like to add that this is substantial addition to the section about changes made to the U.S edition. Indeed this section deals with censorship and the underlying sexuality that was removed from the U.S edition. There are only two (spotted so far) censored passages so I cannot possibly see how it may hurt to have both of them. Especially since the one I added is brilliant piece of writing by P.P. I'd be more than happy to further discuss the matter with you of course and I'm open to all your arguments (especially your second one), but again I reckon that both passages should be included for the following reasons: 1. There are only two so we can make an exhaustive list easily 2. It's a bit of a shame that U.S readers cannot easily find the modified passages on a wikipedia page and have to get to old topics in old forums that could be removed someday. 3. The layout should clearly not be taken into consideration. Lonnibesancon (talk) 12:49, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

Just because certain information might be hard to find elsewhere doesn't mean Wikipedia is the place for it; we have no obligation to US readers who want to know the extensive details of the censorship. Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.
Copyright is an issue, yes. See WP:NFCCEG: "Extensive quotation of copyrighted text is prohibited." Four paragraphs of text from a published novel is, I think, an unusually large amount of copyrighted text by Wikipedia standards, and unjustifiable, because one example is enough to demonstrate the censorship.
Finally: layout is important. That doesn't just mean visual appearance, but also structure, paragraph breaks, and so on - the goal is readability. Wikipedia articles should be concise and only go into extensive detail when critically important. Including long blocks of text from the book is overkill and creates that unpleasant wall of text effect, making the article less readable. Popcornduff (talk) 13:02, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't see it as an obligation to US readers, but also as a piece of information to others that this kind of content was edited.
While I agree that only one is enough, a second one does not hurt especially if it makes the list complete. I would have left only one (or just mention the chapters of other edited content) if there were 3 or more. But that's not the case here and if we can have a complete list why not have it? I'm pretty sure it does not fall under the "excessive" quoting.
Yes readability is important but content is always more important to me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lonnibesancon (talkcontribs) 13:22, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

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Alethiometer link[edit]

User:Popcornduff, I sympathise partly with this removal. I did nor insert this instance, but have made such a link in other places. The problem is that whilst characters, places, people are all covered somewhere, the Alethiometer and a few place names are not 'explained' anywhere centrally. I had thought of 'splitting' terms + renamings + pronounciation off into a seperate list. Such a list used to exist, but was merged into main HDM article around the time I first started watching (4-ish years ago). Thoughts? Pincrete (talk) 19:53, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

I think just adding a brief explanation, "a truth-telling device", adds the necessary context. So I've added it.
I've also done something drastic, and removed the list of terminology. Wikipedia isn't meant to just be arbitrary lists of things (see WP:INDISCRIMINATE), and this isn't the place for an index of fictional terms like "Chthonic Railway Station". Popcornduff (talk) 06:09, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Popcornduff, Aaaaaaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh! I realise that this is probably an IAR argument, but I defended the 'terms' list quite strongly in the AfD (which resulted in a merge) 4 years ago. Apparently our list is 'singled out' and recommended in a US educational resource as being useful to how language is used in HDM. I endorse that, whilst I recognise the most common terms 'adapted' by PH without any help from anyone, even I am interested at the more obscure. It isn't wholly IMO indiscriminate, since linguistic 'adaptation' is such a feature of the trilogy.
I would probably agree with you about pronounciation, which is not nec/useful. Pincrete (talk) 09:26, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Sorry to have caused you some alarm. You could always revert the edit and maybe we can get some other editors' opinions. I went and dug up the AfD and read the debate, anyway.
"Apparently our list is 'singled out' and recommended in a US educational resource as being useful to how language is used in HDM." - Sorry, but I don't think this is relevant. There are all kinds of things we could include on Wikipedia that would be useful to someone somewhere; for example, we could add a recipe for a terrific apple pie to the apple pie article, and the recipe might even be so good it gets recommended by a dozen TV chefs. But Wikipedia isn't for recipes, and it isn't for extensive lists of fictional terms.
It's fancruft, basically - trivial information not necessary for an encyclopaedic understanding of the subject.
The list also seems to contain original research, such as the introductory paragraph: "To enhance the feeling of being in parallel universes, Pullman renames various common objects or ideas of our world with archaic terms or new words of his own. The names he chooses often follow plausible alternative etymologies to those which have prevailed in modern English, thus making it possible to guess what everyday object or person he is referring to." Says who? Popcornduff (talk) 09:48, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
I agree completely about the 'interpretative' element' (to advance the feeling etc.), I removed bucket-loads of that stuff from the list and all the articles when first involved here (Asriel & Dust and a few others still have quite a bit) - we simply don't know what PH 'means' and aren't in the business of writing Eng-lit interpretation.
I'm not going to pretend that collecting all the 'adapted/invented' terms in one place, with origins, has any strong policy justification - it doesn't. With most books we wouldn't even think of doing it - but when reading the books I got a huge amount of pleasure from 'noticing' the clever transposition of an archaic/Gk/Latin/Arabic etc. term into a new context. The list opened several examples even to me - who easily recognised the most obvious ones unaided. To the extent that this is a 'fan-cruft' argument, I plead guilty. But why would we deny people much younger than ourselves the element of interest of 'unlocking' this element of the book when it takes up so little space ? Is it strictly necessary? No, but neither is most of the info - except for those who want to find out about the books without bothering to read them. Pincrete (talk) 10:37, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Sounds like you already know we can't keep it, then. Popcornduff (talk) 10:57, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

Previous AfD 2007 (Keep) and AFD 2013 (no consensus but unopposed merge).
It is clear in these deletion discussions that other editors, who were much more experienced than I was at the time, were also prepared to 'judge on the merits' even if that involved ingnoring the 'letter of the law'. No one has been more active than I in the last 4 years in removing fancruft and OR from these articles, but removing info which is factually accurate, praised in a book by an educationalist, is not compiled anywhere else on the internet and potentially adds to understanding, seems wanton to me. Pincrete (talk) 11:14, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Forgive me, but your arguments seem to amount to nothing more than your personal feeling that it's interesting. I'm a huge Radiohead fan (as my editing history attests) and it would personally give me enormous nerdy pleasure to write extensive and well-considered analyses of everything they've ever released, but that's not a matter for the Wikipedia project.
But perhaps other editors would say I'm being too harsh. Consider starting an RFC? Popcornduff (talk) 14:34, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Grant me "interesting, factually accurate and recommended by an educationalist in a book" as a minimum! The apt comparison isn't with your own opinions about Radiohead, it could be something a bit nerdy like 'list of studios' or somesuch and would need some kind if agreement that the 'where' of recording with that group was actually useful and accurate and a distinct quality of that group. I'll probably revert (minus the 'interpretation' and pronounciation), since I think something which has been here since 2007 and twice been through AfD deserves a broader discussion than us two. Pincrete (talk) 18:26, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
All right. With your blessing, I'll start a request for comment because I think this warrants more discussion. Popcornduff (talk) 05:12, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
I've started another discussion on the His Dark Materials talk page, where other editors are more likely to see it. Feel free to go and make your case there, and maybe we'll do the RFC if we still don't come to an agreement. Popcornduff (talk) 15:53, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

This needs more than a plot summary[edit]

Having just listened to the book again, the plot summary is pretty poor. Or rather the article is missing anything that reviewers or Pullman himself have said giving an analysis of the book, its themes, etc. There are some hints in the controversy section, but not enough. Father Gomez failed to kill Lyra, but was there still a Fall? And the result of that? Is there a message in the book? I've got my own ideas which are of course irrelevant, but we should have a section on the issues/metaphors, etc. Doug Weller talk 14:04, 3 November 2017 (UTC)

There's a bit in Dust (His Dark Materials) and in the main article on the trilogy. The story is about the Church trying to rid the universe of dust and make all intelligent beings "innocent", read "ignorant". Lyra represents Eve and the Church wants her dead to prevent a second Fall. The trilogy presents the Fall as a positive act of maturation and it prevents the destruction of Dust. All of that needs expanding and sourcing. Doug Weller talk 10:30, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
So fix it! Popcornduff (talk) 10:35, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Maybe, when I'm off ArbCom and reduce my 13,500 watchlist, but I'm mainly interested in archaeology. I just happened to come along to this. You edit these articles quite a bit, if you agree with me maybe you'll find time. Doug Weller talk 15:32, 4 November 2017 (UTC)