Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Discussion of "Epic Pooh" @ ENWorld

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Discussion of "Epic Pooh" @ ENWorld

    I thought some folks here might be interested in chiming in on some of the discussion on "Epic Pooh" @ ENWorld @ http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=175241

    Some of the reading verges a bit vehement for my tastes, but the discussion is lively and interesting none-the-less.
    grodog
    ---
    Allan Grohe
    [email protected]
    http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html

    Editor and Project Manager, Black Blade Publishing
    http://www.black-blade-publishing.com/

  • #2
    Originally posted by grodog
    I thought some folks here might be interested in chiming in on some of the discussion on "Epic Pooh" @ ENWorld @ http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=175241

    Some of the reading verges a bit vehement for my tastes, but the discussion is lively and interesting none-the-less.
    I was wondering when that would spill over here .

    I'm posting there under my real name (Mark Hope) but still have the same supercool Kubicki Ex-Factor bass avatar...
    The name that can be named is not the true name.

    Comment


    • #3
      Someone actually admits that they found Elric Of Melnibone virtually unreadable. I wonder at that, because structurally it is quite simple.
      Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

      Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

      Comment


      • #4
        interesting .......

        A point not totally inexact is that somehow, MM says the same thing book from book ....... about equilibrum, self responsability and freedom of man !

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by devilchicken
          Someone actually admits that they found Elric Of Melnibone virtually unreadable. I wonder at that, because structurally it is quite simple.
          To be fair, they might just mean that they found the narrative itself so bad, they wanted to throw it across the room rather than finish it. I've read books like that; one them was The Silmarillion

          Comment


          • #6
            I wanted to do the same thing with WIZARD'S FIRST RULE, but it was too friggin' heavy.
            Infinite complexity according to simple rules.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by johneffay
              To be fair, they might just mean that they found the narrative itself so bad, they wanted to throw it across the room rather than finish it. I've read books like that; one them was The Silmarillion
              So did that 70+ page Treebeard epic in LOTR. Took me three attemptps to get through the book - as that chapter stopped me every time.
              Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

              Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

              Comment


              • #8
                What struck me is the suggestion that Mike attacked Tolkien to boost his sales. If that worked at all, why is it so rare for writers in the genre to do so much as look funny at eachother funny? From what I've seen, analysis and criticism are at best regarded as being in poor taste. I think Mike hit the nail on the head when he said that it's lack of tensions that attracts people to books like The Lord of the Rings.

                Anyway, at least people can defend LotR, at least it's got its good sides, at least Tolkien was a likeable fellow. These days we've got Eragon, and they can't, it hasn't and he's not. I wonder if there's going to be a writer who'll write an essay about that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I must say I didn't have any great problems getting into The Silmarilion when I read it a couple of years ago. I mean, it's got a linear narrative of sorts but it more resembles the Old Testament in its format than a traditional novel, which it most certainly isn't. I read it straight off from reading LOTR and Unfinished Tales, so I suspect I was 'tuned' into Tolkein's wavelength or something. Anyway, I enjoyed it.
                  _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                  _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                  _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                  _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by David Mosley
                    I must say I didn't have any great problems getting into The Silmarilion
                    There's a reason that he never published it...

                    I read it when it first came out at a time when I was rabid about Tolkien (I used to read LotR once a year); mainly because I hadn't read enough comparable literature to realize how badly it was written. Even so, I hated The Silmarillion and would hesitate to describe it as literature. The reason people can write history books in that sort of style is that it allows them to provide a weath of source material which engages the reader's interest as s/he can test the claims made therein. To produce a pseudo-historical work in such a manner is pure self-indulgence. Not that I blame Tolkien for writing it; I blame the publishers for brininging it out as a cash crop.

                    Originally posted by David Mosley
                    it more resembles the Old Testament in its format than a traditional novel
                    With the exception that The Old Testament (at least in the King James version) is a lot better written in places. What The Silmarillion really resembles is a source book for D&D players.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Personally, I enjoyed the Silmarillion, and will happily read it again. I think you find there all the tragic elements which are only hinted at in The Lord of the Rings.

                      By the way, according to BBC Tolkien is considered by many to be the first fantasy author (see the text under the photo). Now, that's quite infuriating.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by johneffay
                        There's a reason that he never published it...
                        He didn't finish it? My understanding is that it was The Silmarilion that Tolkien really wanted to publish, but it was too 'unorthodox' to get picked up by a publisher. He was encourages/persuaded to publish The Hobbit (a story he originally wrote for his children) and then that writing a sequel - LOTR - would be more commerical than the prequel.

                        By the time of Tolkien's death, he had revised and re-revised The Silmarilion and it was still unfinished. The Silmarilion is arguably the first example of the Tolkien 'cash-cow' promote by his son Christopher (who incidentally is now touting another unfinished book by his father), but it's excusable because it was the book that Tolkien really wanted published in the first place.

                        Originally posted by johneffay
                        I read it when it first came out at a time when I was rabid about Tolkien (I used to read LotR once a year); mainly because I hadn't read enough comparable literature to realize how badly it was written. Even so, I hated The Silmarillion and would hesitate to describe it as literature. The reason people can write history books in that sort of style is that it allows them to provide a weath of source material which engages the reader's interest as s/he can test the claims made therein. To produce a pseudo-historical work in such a manner is pure self-indulgence. Not that I blame Tolkien for writing it; I blame the publishers for brininging it out as a cash crop.
                        I think it's fair to about Tolkien in general that he isn't really a novelist. At least, he doesn't write in an manner that's accepted as being how you write novels. To that extent, he's as experimental as a writer such as JG Ballard - I can hear the audience in the front stalls rioting as I type that. (All my 'Lit Cred' is in tatters!)

                        Anyway, Tolkien wasn't really a novelist. He was a professor of philology and he wrote like one. I don't think Tolkien specifically wrote The Silmarilion for an audience - it was self-indulgent, he wrote it for primarily for himself, perhaps hoping it would one day be published and be a modest success - if he was lucky. I don't know if Tolkien made any great claims for his literature during his lifetime. That The Hobbit and LOTR were as phenomenally successful as they were isn't his fault at all - except in that he wrote the damned things.

                        Originally posted by johneffay
                        With the exception that The Old Testament (at least in the King James version) is a lot better written in places. What The Silmarillion really resembles is a source book for D&D players.
                        I've never read the KJV. It's revered by people who love the words without necessarily loving what the words actually stand for and mean. I was brought up on the Good News Bible (GNB), the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and later the New International Version (NIV). In reading The Silmarillion I immediately recognised the style of narrative as being the same as Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, etc. As such, like I say, I had no difficulties in getting into the book. It's not a traditional novel and I can see why some people would find it disjointed, but I don't think Tolkien was trying to write a novel.

                        That it may now resemble a D&D source book is neither here nor there. D&D simply didn't exist when Tolkien started writing the stories that make up The Silmarillion. His template - afaik - was simply the Bible, and it seems obvious to me that The Silmarillion is the Bible as it would have existed in Middle-Earth (were it a real place).
                        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Oren Douek
                          By the way, according to BBC Tolkien is considered by many to be the first fantasy author (see the text under the photo). Now, that's quite infuriating.
                          You should use the 'Feedback' option and tell them why the statement is wrong (or inaccurate). I often do this when I see things on the BBC website that are factually incorrect and if you back up your arguements with evidence they invariably take the comment on board and amend the article.
                          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by David Mosley
                            My understanding is that it was The Silmarilion that Tolkien really wanted to publish, but it was too 'unorthodox' to get picked up by a publisher.
                            Yes, that's the reason.

                            Originally posted by David Mosley
                            I think it's fair to about Tolkien in general that he isn't really a novelist.
                            I think that's very unfair to Tolkein. The Hobbit is an extremely well plotted novel with excellent characterisation.

                            Originally posted by David Mosley
                            At least, he doesn't write in an manner that's accepted as being how you write novels. To that extent, he's as experimental as a writer such as JG Ballard
                            Except that, unlike Ballard, it's a failed experiment. Tolkien lets his philological and mythological obessessions run away with him to the detriment of his writings.

                            I agree with just about everything you say about The Silmarillion, but all these things make it a bad book. Here's a question for you: Do you seriously believe that anybody would be reading, let alone praising The Silmarillion if they had never read LotR and it had been published in isolation?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by johneffay
                              I think that's very unfair to Tolkein. The Hobbit is an extremely well plotted novel with excellent characterisation.
                              What I mean when I say Tolkien isn't a novelist is that he attempts things that 'break the rules' of novel writing. This is particularly the case with LOTR, where after the 'breaking of the Fellowship' in Book 3, he splits the remaining narrative first between the 'The Three Hunters' and then between Frodo and Sam (and Gollum). Personally I think this division works really well and more than pays off when Gandalf & Co. get to the Black Gate and the encounter with the Mouth of Sauron, but I think a more traditional novelist would have used a more traditional form.

                              The other area where Tolkien 'kicks against the pricks' of traditional storytelling is in the opening chapters of LOTR, and specifically the journey to Bree. Again, my understanding is that originally Tolkien planned the whole journey to be as detailed as that, but after reaching Bree realised just how long the book would be if he continued that degree of minutia. It's noticable that the pace picks up a lot more quickly once Strider joins the party of hobbits. Of course, imo a different novelist would have gone back and edited the slower portions of Book 1 to improve the pacing, but Tolkien seemed to have a perculiar stubborness when it came to revision.

                              Certainly, he did revise - there are early drafts of The Hobbit where the characters have different names for example - but equally, he wouldn't change something because it no longer fitted in with the rest of the book, rather he'd find reasons for why it was that way in the first place. One example of this is Glorfindel. Early on in his mythos, Tolkien decided that elves all had unique names, which was fine until he re-used the name Glorfindel for the elf who rescues Frodo from the Nazgul, because earlier Glorfindel had been a character in The Silmarillion. Rather than just rename the second character, Tolkien devised a complicated explanation that involved Glorfindel being reincarnated during the Third Age.

                              Originally posted by johneffay
                              Except that, unlike Ballard, it's a failed experiment. Tolkien lets his philological and mythological obessessions run away with him to the detriment of his writings.
                              This is what I meant by Tolkien not being a novelist. He didn't think like a novelist in my view. He thought like the philologist he was. I'm not being disparaging when I say this.

                              Originally posted by johneffay
                              I agree with just about everything you say about The Silmarillion, but all these things make it a bad book. Here's a question for you: Do you seriously believe that anybody would be reading, let alone praising The Silmarillion if they had never read LotR and it had been published in isolation?
                              Probably not. I don't think that invalidates The Silmarillion as a book though. I think you certainly get a lot more out of The Silmarillion if you've previously read LOTR and know how the story ends. This is what you mean by it being a 'D&D source book', isn't it? It fleshes out the world of Bilbo, Frodo, Aragorn, etc. so that your appreciation of LOTR is increased. I think the individual stories of The Silmarillion are fine in their own right though. If you like, it's a collection of short stories that take place in a shared world. This sort of thing has been done elsewhere by other authors and nobody complains about them afaik. Tolkien gets a lot of flak imo because he's the 900lb gorilla in the corner, but I readily accept that not everyone finds Tolkien to their tastes.
                              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X