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Meditations On Middle Earth

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  3,063 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
In 1954, one of the most seminal books in English literature was published and caused barely a ripple. It wasn't until the flower-power generation of the 1960's that Lord of the Rings began to exert its real influence and changed the face of fantasy literature forever.
Paperback, 235 pages
Published November 1st 2003 by Simon & Schuster (Trade Division) (first published 2001)
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Mary Catelli
A series of essays on Tolkien.

The commonest one was "the impact The Lord of the Rings had on my life and writing". A lot of them picked it up in the 60s or 70s when, really, there wasn't that much fantasy about. Terry Pratchett actually got pointed at Beowulf when he asked for more books like it -- fortunately he noticed books that had guys with helmets on theri covers and dived in. (That shelf was marked History, BTW.) One discussed Bored of the Rings and how it taught her the comic effect. One
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Alatea
Mar 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the authors' insights were completely new and scarily clever, but it was mostly what I've already know - Tolkien was a genius.
Nicholas Gourlay
Apr 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, essay-s
Originally written on 8.30.06 on www.sffworld.com.blog/779.html
I did sometyhing illogical for me a few hours ago. I read an essay while engrossed in a novel. I don’t do things like that. It requires too much concentration for me, especially just reading any essay. But maybe, just maybe, I’m evolving.
I put down ‘Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M. Auel to read ’How Tolkein means’ by Orson Scott Card. Maybe I had a hair up my butt, but I just felt it had to be read. No time like the present. And I
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Kristin
Nov 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, essays
Some of the essays are close to five-star, others are one-star, so my three star rating is an average of the seventeen essays compiled in this anthology.
I would recommend this book if you are are one of those people who loved Lord of the Rings and then tried to find other books like it (the essays will all tell you that you will never find another book like it, but there are quite a lot of credible recommendations for older fantasy works written pre-Tolkien, and warnings to approach with caution
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Samantha
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a short but sweet book that is more personal than academic and features some of my favourite authors reflecting on Tolkien's work and how it has influenced their lives and writing. One to look out for.
Jim
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a varied and sometimes fascinating collection of essays by writers about their encounters with J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle Earth. Numerous writers credit Tolkien with opening the market for modern fantasy novels. Many, including Robin Hobb and Lisa Goldstein, report that their first reacton upon completing LOTR was to look around for more of the same. Others say that they immediately sat down to write something like LOTR. Many remembered the circumstances of their first encounter with Tolk ...more
Buchdrache
Das hier ist eine Sammlung von Essays verschiedener Autoren rund um Tolkien. Viele berichten dabei vor allem von ihren Erlebnissen mit Tolkien: wie sie auf ihn kamen und wie er sie geprägt hat. Das ist ganz nett zu lesen, während man dasitzt, geflissentlich nickt und sich denkt: »Darin erkenne ich mich wieder.« Allerdings auch ein wenig obsolet, weil das hier wahrscheinlich ohnehin nur diejenigen lesen werden, die selbst Tolkien mögen. Interessanter sind dagegen jedoch die Autoren, die den sachl ...more
Katie
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was hoping this book would be writings set in the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien by famous SFF writers. I would love to see what further adventures George R.R. Martin's could dream up for Aragorn (AKA Jenny's babysitter), Legolas and Gimli!

But, alas, this was not that book. This book was dry, dry, dry uber-academic essays. Here's a sample sentence from Ursula K. LeGuin's piece "Rhythmic Pattern in the Lord of the Rings: "In poetry, the normal ration is about 50 percent: that is, by and large, in po
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Carla
I loved this book, especially Robin Hobb's chapter. I, like Miss Hobb, had a similar story and she's such a good writer. I really enjoyed her chapter.

I will be hoping I can find this older book so I can add it to my library.
James Williams
This is a book where some of my favorite authors (and, I suppose, some of my not favorite authors) write about J.R.R. Tolkien, an uber-favorite author. Obviously, it's something to be read if you're a fan of the Professor.
For the most part, this book is not filled scholarly essays (with the possible exception of Ursula K. Le Guin's piece on language), but are instead personal introspections and retrospections about how Tolkien's work affected each writer's life and career.
Which can be nice, of
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Aurumora
Leseeindruck
Vorweg möchte ich sagen, dass ich das Buch oberflächlich betrachtet wegen den Bildern kaufte, die ich während kurzem Überfliegen sah. Die Bleistiftzeichnungen finde ich nach wie vor schön, auch wenn das colorierte Cover mit ein besten gefällt.
Dann muss man erwähnen, dass mehrere Persönlichkeiten in diesem Buch zu Wort kommen. In allen erkenne ich einen Teil meiner Bücherliebe wieder ob nun für diese besprochene Reihe oder für anderes Buch ist für mich hier egal. Ich habe kurze Eindr
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Laura
Readible, with the exception of the Orson Scott Card contribution. With apologies to another reviewer, who said it SO much better than I'm going to:

" Orson Scott Card seizes the opportunity to get up on his big stupid hobby horse about how modernism is dumb. “Modernists treat everything as allegory,” he growls, harrumphing and popping his monocle. Then he makes up some imaginary straw-man argument in which a modernist read allegorically, and then rips that apart like tissue. Well done, Mr Card!
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Stephanie Ricker
A rather random collection of essays be famous authors (mainly science fiction and fantasy) who love Tolkien. Some of them are a bit repetitive (there are really only so many ways you can say that Tolkien was a genius and inspired everyone), but many of the essays are entertaining purely for the writer's particular style. I especially loved this quote by Esther M. Friesner: “I am a writer. I have received money for doing this on several occasions, so the odds are that I will continue on this unf ...more
Tom
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't perfect, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. The approach most of the writers took was dissapointingly obvious, and even a little repetitive as you read through them.

A few stand-outs for me were Ursula LeGuin's challenging and, for me exciting essay on Tolkein's use of language in the first part of Fellowship. Terri Windling's essay at the end brought me in touch with feelings I've had for years, but haven't had the words to express myself just yet.

Card challeneged the way I lo
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Nannah
(3.5)

This collection of essays has two types of reflections on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy: actual talk about its effect on sci fi and fantasy as genres and its impact on the publishing industry - and the authors swooning over the first time they read the trilogy. Obviously, the latter is less interesting.

Of course, like most compilations, it is a grab bag of excellent and so-so writings, though Orson Scott Card proves yet to be an ass. it reflects quite clearly through his piece, which seems
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Andrea
Jun 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien fans
This is a great book of essays on Tolkien and his work by people who are both authors and fans, and therefore both understand and appreciate the work and can delineate why. While there is a little repetition of "I first read Tolkien when I was N years old and it changed my life", since it's true, it doesn't detract too much from the essays.

The essays, for me at least, made me want to go back and read the books again, and made me appreciate just how new and exciting Tolkien's works were when they
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Katelyn
There's a lot in here about the need for fantasy/fairy tales/epics/the-story-as-primary, for humans innately and individuals based on their experiences, and in Lord of the Rings's historical and social moment, all of which is fascinating if you think that's fascinating. Orson Scott Card thinks that LotR has no meaning apart from its story, and that this is what makes it good (and books snidely referred to as "'serious'" that you can say something about that isn't the story bad, not-so-implicitly ...more
Sarah
What does Tolkien mean to you? No, seriously. What does he mean to you as a reader? A writer? A fantasy genre enthusiast? These are the questions some of today's great science fiction and fantasy writers try to answer in this collection of essays. Some essays are very technical, focusing on the history or the languages of Middle Earth. Other essays are more broad, focusing on the impact Tolkien's Middle Earth on the fantasy and science fiction genres. All in all, it was a great book and interest ...more
Krystle
An okay collection of authors talking about LotR, largely about how they came across it growing up, causing most everything to sort of meld together in unremarkableness.

Good ones worth singling out:
Ursula K. Le Guin -- "Rhythmic Pattern in The Lord of the Rings"
Orson Scott Card -- "How Tolkien Means"

Ironic that Douglas A. Anderson pointed out the impending first movie's release and the associated merchandise being chugged out beforehand, as this book would seem to have been published as part of
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Dacia
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It is a compilation of essays from famous fantasy and science fiction authors on their reaction/influence to J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of The Rings. My favorite was Terry Pratchett's essay. A really wonderful and brilliant tribute to Tolkien by authors who have been pretty powerful in their own respective rights. Even if you haven't read the trilogy, this book is worth the read.

Edit.... I also have to add the essay If you give a Girl a Hobbitt by Esther M. Friesner
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Keith Davis
A few of these essays are brilliant, but there is a depressing recurring element to a lot of them. Repeatedly the authors reveal themselves to have been teenage loners and social outcasts who discovered Middle Earth at a critical stage and it became the perfect escape. If you are like me and bristle at Fantasy fiction being dismissed by critics as escapist, it is a tad disheartening to see the cliché so thoroughly reinforced by Fantasy's practitioners.
Francine
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This little volume (0nly 229 pages) contains essays by some of the best fantasy writers (published in n2001). Most, if not all, are huge Tolkien fans....so fans of The Hobbit and LOTR will find like-minded people here. The writing, of course, is darn good!

I knew of several of the authors but learned of others that I will pursue. Delicate sketches throughout. Mini bios on authors at the end...what more could a reader ask for?

Delightful; highly recommended.
Deb
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a deep love of Tolkien's work
Reading these essays was the most satisfying reading experience that I have had in quite some time. I have long had a deep connection to Tolkien's work and these essays provided a clearer understanding of that connection. I knew that there are thousands of Tolkien freaks like me out there and it has been most gratifying to hear from them.
Germancho
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: do-not-own
Es una recopilación de ensayos y reflexiones sobre la Obra de Tolkien, por escritores de Ciencia Ficción. Tiene su gracia, especialmente por el ensayo de Orson Scott Card, y otros de ese calibre. Otros articulos estan muy mal escritos, o son simplemente ridiculos. Sin embargo, seria bacano que los detractores de Tolkien lo leyeran. Un MedioMedio.
Ledys
Aug 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Victor
Recommended to Ledys by: Won it in a contest
Shelves: read-before-2008
I really enjoyed this back when The Lord of the Rings was my main obsession. I find it interesting to read these books with essays, especially about a book that shaped so much of a generation. I wonder what book will define our generation for the future...
Nina
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not every essay in this collection is brilliant, but there are enough brilliant ones in it to make the book a very rewarding read. That, and I love hearing SciFi and Fantasy greats describe their own experience of falling under Tolkien's spell as exactly the same as mine. I particularly liked the ones by Michael Swanwick and Terry Pratchett.
Alfonso
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Autores del mundo de la ciencia ficción describen cómo el Legendarium de Tolkien cambió su manera de escribir fantasía. Incluye interesantes reflexiones que demuestran que el profesor de Oxford inventó un género en sí mismo.
Eveningstar2
Mostly a collection of personal introspective essays describing an author's first experience with Tolkien. I was hoping for more analytical essays. Ursula LeGuin's essay on Tolkien and the rhythm of language is beautiful and fascinating.
Anthony
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A bunch of essays about Tolkien from modern fantasy writers . . . who just don't get it. For a far better appreciation of Tolkien and examination of what he did and why (frequently making reference to Tolkien's own letters), read Joseph Pearce's Tolkien: Man and Myth.
Yvonne Flint
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fan essays by talented writers about Tolkien made me laugh, cry, reminisce about the delight of the first read and the permission to be an unashamed myth-lover that is my soul's treasured gift from Middle-earth. Many additions to the reading list from the essays and essayists sparkle in my future.
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Tolkien's T.C.B.S: Meditations on Middle-Earth 3 7 May 08, 2013 07:55AM  
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  • The Magical Worlds of Lord of the Rings: The Amazing Myths, Legends and Facts Behind the Masterpiece
  • Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism
  • The "Hobbit" Companion
  • The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-Earth for Dummies
  • The Journeys of Frodo
  • The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created A New Mythology
  • The Shaping of Middle-Earth (The History of Middle-Earth, #4)
  • Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth
  • Hobbits, Elves and Wizards: The Wonders and Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'
  • Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy
  • Tolkien: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
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Karen Haber is the author of nine novels including Star Trek Voyager: Bless the Beasts, and co-author of Science of the X-Men. In 2001 she was nominated for a Hugo for Meditations on Middle Earth, an essay collection celebrating J.R.R. Tolkien. With her husband, Robert Silverberg, she co-edited Best Science Fiction of 2001, 2002, and the Best Fantasy of 2001 and 2002 for ibooks and later, co-edite ...more
More about Karen Haber...
“Commodified fantasy takes no risks: it invents nothing, but imitates and trivializes. It proceeds by depriving the old stories of their intellectual and ethical complexity, turning their action into violence, their actors to dolls, and their truth-telling to sentimental platitude.” 1 likes
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