Philip Pullman on Beyond the Robot

I was surprised to see that Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy and much more, followed me on Twitter. But then I knew that he was a reader of Colin Wilson and so perhaps it wasn’t so strange after all. And when I decided to ask him if he would like to read an advanced copy of Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson,I was delighted when he said he would, and even more when he offered to provide an endorsement that my publisher could use. The book could not ask for any better send off. Here’s what he wrote:

“Colin Wilson came to a sudden and unparalleled celebrity with his first book, The Outsider, in 1956, and after that was strenuously ignored by every respectable critic. So much for respectability. Gary Lachman has written an intellectual biography of a writer who might be called the only optimistic existentialist, and done him justice. Wilson was always far better and more interesting than fashionable opinion claimed, and in Lachman he has found a biographer who can respond to the whole range of his work with sympathy and understanding, in a style which, like Wilson’s own, is always immensely readable. I enjoyed Beyond the Robot very much.” —Philip Pullman

Needless to say I am extremely happy he liked the book, and I suspect Colin Wilson is too.

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2 thoughts on “Philip Pullman on Beyond the Robot

  1. This certainly is a fantastic send off. The conference was a testament to the fact that “Wilson was always far better and more interesting than fashionable opinion claimed”, and this remains so. I’m in the process of going beyond the robot, and enjoying it immensely. You’ve managed to capture the organic process of the “homegrown existentialist” by balancing the biographic details carefully alongside his ‘days of great insights’. . . Which were, of course, always one and the same — he lived his ideas.

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying the book David. And it was very good to meet you at the conference. I enjoyed your paper and also your posts on FB. Let’s hope this is the start of a Wilson revival. I’ll be giving some talks in London when the book is out, and will let you know where and when. All the best, Gary

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