Phillip Pullman knew 2020 was so terrible we would need an extra one of his novels. Photosource: BBC

So it looks like this year might not be complete garbage. It’s still mostly garbage, but now we have some news that may give you the will to keep on living, at least until October. 

Oh, what happens in October?

Nothing much, just one of the greatest fantasy authors of all time, Phillip Pullman, will be releasing a new novella about his trademark heroine, Lyra Silvertongue (we acknowledge the Bear King’s paternal rights on this site) during her young adult years. Speaking of the 25th anniversary of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Pullman revealed that the new book, Serpentine, will see Lyra and her daemon Pan travel to Trollesund in the North to find the witch-consul, Dr. Lanselius.

From what we currently know, it looks like they are seeking him out to learn more about their ability to separate great distances from each other, which is a trait no one else but witches possess in this world and was the result of their separation in the Land of the Dead in The Amber Spyglass. We can’t say what they’ll find there, but Pullman hints that at this stage other young adult life Lyra is attempting to reconcile her original vision from her childhood of how everything is alive and connected with rationality and skepticism she’s gained through adulthood. 

I really got to give it to Pullman. Not only did he create this phenomenal female character in such a rich mythical world, but he gave us stories of her struggles and development at every stage we could have asked for and uses them to demonstrate the infinite power and connections of the human experience. At one point, he even explicitly said he wanted to move on from Lyra and her world but they “wouldn’t leave [him] alone” and he felt that the story needed to be told. He’s literally doing it for us fans, and in a way that doesn’t debase his earlier work like You-Know-Who. 

Actually, Pullman originally wrote his book in 2004 for a charity auction at the request of the Director of the National Theatre, Sir Nicholas Hytner. The story sold for what was only disclosed as a “substantial sum” which we can imagine, must be an obscene amount of money. Luckily, it all went to charity. Anyhow, Serpentine was never meant to be released to the public, but then again Pullman never planned to write another trilogy about Lyra until he started the La Belle Sauvage trilogy, and it will be a welcome balm to us all as we wait for the final book in that series to be released, which for the moment we will just have to be patient for. Let’s not forget, Pullman doesn’t use a computer, all his novels are hand-written because he is a champ with apparently endless patience. 

Thankfully, this one already wrapped up years ago and will be ready to be released on October 15, 2020, by Penguin Random House Children’s. We’ll also be getting an audio version of the book voiced by Oscar winner, Olivia-frickin-Colman, so there’s lots to look forward to, in October at least. In the meantime, you can pre-order the novella here.