I’m a sucker for books like these; I like it you have something that allows you to tell all the players apart and get the lay of the land and give you a bit of context in the bargain; they’re essentially history books of fictional worlds. And this one, as it turns out, is pretty good; most of the character and plot stuff I already had in hand from reading the books, but at least some of the background stuff was new to me, and of course, as noted in today’s Month of Writers installment by Brandon Sanderson, there’s enough controversy around Pullman’s point of view that it’s nice to get a good overview of that.
In any event, if you’re a sucker for these sorts of books, like I am, or just want to be able to talk about all this stuff at parties even if you’ve just only started the first book, here you go. Also, as a complete aside, one day I want one of my universes to be popular enough to get a Rough Guide treatment. The Rough Guide to the Colonial Union is not too much to ask for. Of course, having a $180 million movie come out, based on my universe, would help. I’m open to that.