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February 20, 2008



The story sounds very similar to the Star Trek episode Return of the Archons, which seems to me to have clearly been a slam at religion.


The story sounds very similar to the Star Trek episode Return of the Archons, which seems to me to have clearly been a slam at religion.

Of course, the basic motifs are common to many types of stories, some by religious writers or with religion-friendly elements. Various elements of the story could be compared to anything from A Wrinkle in Time to That Hideous Strength to, um, Battlefield: Earth. I think there may be some similar resonances in some of Tim Powers' stories as well, though I don't know for sure. Another obvious point of comparison is The Body Snatchers, but I don't know anything about Finney's views on religion.

In any case, too easy an inference from simple structural similarities in form to similarities in underlying meaning and intent would obviously be guilt by association.

Scott W.

*Waits for gratuitous It's-not-an-apologetics-blog-anymore comment*

Tim J

Talking about the religious implications of certain aspects of the wider culture sure sounds like it might have some application to apologetics, but... yeah, I can hardly wait for someone to pop in and inform us all (again) that Jimmy hasn't blogged much in a while.

So? Cancel your subscription.

tau gamma pi

How many people here can tell me the difference between "who's" and "whose"?


So? Cancel your subscription.

In that case, I DEMAND a refund!

David B.

tau gamma pi,

"Who's" is a contraction of "Who is." "Whose" is a possessive.

David B.

Tim J.,

So? Cancel your subscription.

Don't you mean a la William Buckley "Cancel you own ***dam subsciption!"?

David B.

er, "subscription."


David B.,

I believe tau gamma pi meant this bit from the illustrious Tim J.:

(a human who's capping has gone wrong, they are considered insane)


I don't think The Tripods trilogy is anti-religious. I first became aquainted with it when the Boy Scout magazine did a comic adaptation as a series. I didn't read it until college, when any anti-religious sentiment would have jumped out at me, seeing as I was living with a militant atheist and her giggly henchwoman at the time.

To me, it was clearly taking aim at Big Government and self-contradictory programs (like the sympathetic alien master who kills his female slave in order to "preserve" her youthful beauty).

Mark Scott Abeln

I just watched some of the show on YouTube. It looks like fun. Thanks!

Sam Youd

The most ingenious (& unpleasant) interpretation I've seen of the Tripods is that they represent the struggle against the Great Jewish Conspiracy. It does seem to take all kinds. Incidentally another book, The Guardians, was given a Christopher Medal by the Christophers .....

Tim J

Sam Youd?

Tim J

Thanks to those whom kindly corrected my grammer.

And spelling.


Huh, I always thought it was an adventure story. Whaddayaknow.

J.R. Stoodley

Am I the only person who's never heard of this Tripods stuff?


Possibly. :) For a while, you couldn't find a library that didn't have John Christopher books in the kids' or YA section. But they've probably worn out or been deaccessioned in most libraries now.

Mike Petrik

Never read the books, but wife and I enjoyed the BBC series back in the early 80s. Never inferred an anti-religious theme. My take was similar to Miss Jean's.

Eileen R

I remember the Tripods books as frighteningly amazing. I'm almost afraid to return to them and perhaps spoil the impression.

The Sojourner

I'm with labrialumn. Admittedly, I read them when I was about 12 and anti-religious stuff went right over my head back then, which is fortunate because my parents had given up screening my books by then. (When your kid reads 3 or 4 books in a week, it's hard to keep up.)

Oh, and thanks for the post, Tim, because I had completely forgotten the title and author; just remembered that it was a good story and I wished I could find it and read it again.

David Tarvin

I believe I read these as a kid. Boy's Life magazine produced the story in comic form. The first was "The White Mountains". The second was "The City of Gold and Lead." I don't remember the third.



It appears that DVDs of The Tripods Series 1 are only available in PAL format (separate UK and Australian releases). According to http://www.thetripods.org/merchandise.html>this site some of the earlier UK pressings are region free, later pressings are coded region 2.

A Series 2 release was planned for last fall but has been pushed back.


Additionally, I did find a used region free edition of The Tripods Series 1 posted on the U.S. Amazon site. It is still PAL format though.


And finally, it looks like Disney/Touchstone is planning a http://www.thetripods.org/movie.html>movie version.


I read this blog as a fly on the wall, rarely commenting. It started out as an amazing page, unrivaled on the internet in terms of its intelligence and force.

Now it's degenerated nearly into a waste of space. Jimmy's really let this thing die.

And that's his right. It's his page. I can leave whenever I want. And I think I will leave now.

I'll probably be back in a year or so, see if anything picked up. If not, I'm sure it will be dead.


When you come back next year, Aristotle, I hope you'll have started your own website.

Tim J.

"I hope you'll have started your own website"

Absolutely! Although, there are more good blogs NOW than I can keep up with.

It can be a temptation, drawing me away from other more pressing duties.


That capping thing sounds a lot like what my control-freak boss does to me when I dare to think or express an opinion. She doesn't use a cap, though -- just a put-down. Sometimes she starts talking right through what I'm saying. It's very effective--kind of like getting an electrical jolt every time you have an independent thought. :-(

Oh well...sorry for the pity party. But that's the association I immediately made when I read about the cap.

It also reminded me of that lobotomy-ish thing that's administered to the protagonist of A Clockwork Orange: It makes him docile and nonviolent, but it also takes away his capacity to appreciate music (Beethoven. specifically) and, in a real sense, his humanity.

Another ?? days...

Another 19 days since you posted, Jimmy. 13 days since any of the substitutes posted (as good posts as they sometimes are).

Would love to hear from you, Jimmy. I hope all is healthy and well for you. God bless.

J.R. Stoodley

It's a fine line we have to walk. On the one hand we don't want to be annoying and demanding. This is Jimmy's blog and he can do whatever he wants with it, or nothing. Get too annoying and it will probably increase the chances he'll decide to discontinue it entirely.

On the other hand of course we would like to see the blog back to how it used to be and we can't help wondering what has caused the slowdown. I hope if it were something really bad Jimmy would write a post telling us (maybe not giving all the details of course) and asking for prayers.

Brent Robbins

Tim J,

What are all these good blogs you are talking about? Please provide me a list.

The Cranky Professor

He wrote another series of children's book (Young Adult I guess) called The Prince in Waiting - which had a kind of odd Catholic bent. Basically a post apocalyptic England* that's gone back to a high medieval technological era. The main character is the crown prince (sort of) of the kingdom of Winchester. There's an interesting religious angle - definitely Catholic.

*his adult novels are all, so far as I know, post apocalyptic - and nice for setting the mood for England in the early 60s. They make a great comparison to 28 Days Later. I kept meaning to write an article....

Tom H

I agree with some of the comments above. I think the world of Jimmy and the other folks that contribute to this blog....but....SNORESVILLE for some time. The overall quality and blend of odd topics vs. Theology/apolgetics seems to have swung out of whack. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the posts on art, sci-fi (HUGE FAN OF BG) etc. but I do miss the stimulating theological posts. Between this blog's slowdown and Pontifications going off-line....well...I just miss the "old days" lol


The Tripods took Jimmy


I think that Kevin may be on to something. I wonder if there have been any ransom notes?




Maybe he was raptured! ;)


I also came across this series through the Scout mnagazine. I was hooked. I found the books and absorbed them. Fantastic stuff. As someone else said, I'm almost afraid to return to it and risk spoiling the wonderful memory.

I was amused at the time that the aliens got us through TV transmissions. One more reason to kill your TV, yes?

But I'm introgued that someone has actually tried bringing it to the screen. I'll have to grab it as soon as it becomes available in my region format.

David B.

You kidnapped Jimmy so you could get 45 boxes of chocolate? Why 45 boxes? Why not 46, or 47?


I just finished reading the first of another of his (Youd) trilogies. "The Fireball" about two teen boys that see a fireball that wisks them away to old Roman days in "Lodinium". They teach the Christians of stirrups and longbows to defeat the Romans and free the Christians. Also, search www.imdb.com for "the tripods" a movie is planned for next year and "the Lotus Caves" (Youd) movie is also in the works. I'm a fan from way back.

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