‘Interesting, Fun, But Preachy’
This is an odd one. The book itself is free fan-fiction (so not authorised in any way by JK Rowling) and it’s not just set in the Harry Potter universe, it’s a replacement for the first Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
But what makes it particularly odd is that it’s a book with an agenda.
The agenda is quite explicit – the author wants to get across the biases that affect our everyday thinking and bring us to a more rational approach to thinking. However, sometimes the agenda is so forceful it reminded me of ‘Dianetics’.
But what do you expect for nothing?
It is a fully-fledged book too, in length terms at least. (There is talk of it being sold as a physical book for charity, but that seems to me a target fraught with IP issues.) The premise is simply that Harry Potter was brought up with a scientific, rational approach to life and learning, so when the letter appears inviting him to Hogwarts he’s not just curious but inquisitive enough to want to run experiments to test this ‘magic’ thing we muggles know nothing about.
And from there the book takes you into Hogwarts and encourages you to think. There are puzzles and lots of guidance on the way too.
I enjoyed it, and found some of it quite fun. It took quite a few chapters to get going, and I still think it’s a bit preachy in parts. I’m still not sure what to make of the end-goal of rational approach described in the book though. I’ll need to think about that some more.