Meditations on Middle Earth: New Writing on the Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien by Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, Raymond E. Feist, Terry Pratchett, Charles de Lint, George R. R. Martin, and more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
As in all anthologies some of the efforts are more successful, and/or more in my taste. I found that the writers I like were generally better and more interesting, and the obverse. Raymond Feist, for example, says: "[Frodo], along with Sam, Meriadoc, and Pippin, were willing to brave tribulations that the larger, more 'classi ...more
Other authors wrote critical essays. I wish they hadn't, or at least that I hadn't tried to read them through. Although I have read and enjoyed ...more
Well, I can't say that I LOVED this books, though I had high hopes from the authors included. In the end, it turned out to be a collection of mostly "how I met Tolkien's work" essays and a few actually ABOUT Tolkien's work. I guess I've simply been spoiled by Shippey's great scholarly books about Tolkien and LotR.
However, as I read, I began to enjoy the essays not as scholarly work, but kind of as a fire-side chat among fellow Tolkien-lovers. Which was quite nice.
SO, if you take this ...more
"Frodo travels through Middle-earth like some kind of God-sent integrity test. The wise, if they were truly so, upon seeing that he had come to visit, would shriek, 'Oh, no! It's that fucking hobbit! I'm not in!' and slam the door in his face. Here is the true purpose . . . not to destroy the source of power but to test all of creation and decide whether it is worthy of continuance."
Some of the essays were really good, and some were kind of dull, but if you're a fan, the collection is definitely...more
It's over 25 years since I read LOTR, so I have a certain nostalgia about Tolk ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
I will be hoping I can find this older book so I can add it to my library. ...more
" 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! ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
Edit.... I also have to add the essay If you give a Girl a Hobbitt by Esther M. Friesner ...more