Washington, D.C. Panel Explores The Dark Tower

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 62, Autumn 1994 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

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.