The Lewis Legacy-Issue 62, Autumn 1994
Washington, D.C. Panel Explores The Dark Tower
The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing
September 1, 1994
On Saturday, 6 August 1994, a panel of five addressed C.S. Lewis Hoax
topics with an audience of about fifty at Mythcon XXV, held at American
University in Washington, D.C. Reporting in September Mythprint, Mary
Stolzenbach refers to the panel's "fireworks."
Panel members included (in order of speaking) Joe Christopher, moderator;
Sam Konkin, editor of the Southern California Lewis Society quarterly news
sheet; Wendell Wagner, conference program coordinator; John Bremer, author
of "From Despoina to Diotima: the Mistress of C.S. Lewis" in Legacy 61; and
Mary Borhek, longtime Dark Tower critic. Speakers from the audience
included, among others, David Bratman (editor of Mythprint), Kath
Filmer-Davies (Australian professor, winner of Mythopoeic scholarship
award), Verlyn Flieger (Guest of Honor), and Jared Lobdell. (In his book
Word and Story in C.S. Lewis, Peter Schakel credits Lobdell with "seminal"
[sic] Dark Tower expertise.)
Konkin said he is no defender of Hooper's dependability, but The Dark Tower
is great science fiction, far too good to be forged by Hooper. Wagner
generally agreed with Hoax, but thinks authenticity of The Dark Tower is an
open question. Bremer's concerns about academic integrity and honesty were
compounded by Hooper's lack of response. Borhek claimed that Hooper's
defenders have put up smoke and mirrors and blown bubbles.
Most attention focused upon conflicting ideas about The Dark Tower
(including a new theory that because Lewis could read French, he might have
based The Dark Tower on French science fiction). Several speakers had
obviously not read Hoax, and there was no time for sustained discussion.
Nevertheless, the panel was a landmark in Lewis studies.