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View Diary: Sci-Fi Fantasy Club: Which Ugly SF/Fantasy Ducklings became Literary Swans? (140 comments)

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  •  I won't mount a sustained defense of the strengths (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, RiveroftheWest, CorinaR

    of Tolkein's work - it's too long since I read it.

    I'm not sure your repetitive three and a half page argument is a major flaw. Atlas Shrugged has a seventy page speech of turgid, tendentious propaganda, which knocks the reader into a coma. I happen to think the book just sucks, but I've seen it on several Best 100 Book lists.

    I'd have to reread that 3+1/2 page argument, to see what it added to the book. As I said, I think LOTR succeeds both in its very ambitious grand design, and in sucking readers into the experience of another world.

    I just figured Tom Bombadil came from a prelapsarian nature, and the ring couldn't touch him. I saw Jackson's first Hobbit movie, and thought he's losing Tolkein's vision, stuffing in too much of his own. But, as I said, I don't have a clear enough grasp of Tolkein's text to be certain of my arguments.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 11:14:28 PM PDT

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    •  OMG Brecht! (7+ / 0-)
      Atlas Shrugged has a seventy page speech of turgid, tendentious propaganda, which knocks the reader into a coma. I happen to think the book just sucks
      IIRC, it was ninety pages in the mm pb version I read in high school.

      That was the didactic 90 pages that convinced me that ALL writers need good editors (b/c clearly she wouldn't stand for having her precious prose touched by someone so merely prosaic as an editor who knows something about prose style, not to mention good writing) and that The Fountainhead -- a much better book -- must have had a devil of an editor to wrestle her prose into something better than she was capable of writing.

      And I was still in high school when I had that epiphany.

      Needless to say, I never read another word of hers. Clearly she was incapable of putting them together in a readable manner.

      In other news, yeah, I'm with you: I loved LOTR and read it a whole bunch of times...in high school. Maybe college too, although I think by then I was reading too much for classes to read much else. So...haven't been close to the text in decades.

      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

      by Youffraita on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 11:33:04 PM PDT

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      •  Yes. 'The Fountainhead' was a far better book - it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ender, RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

        was kind of fun, mostly.

        As with Dan Brown, Ayn Rand's great success at selling poorly written books makes me wonder just what they have that does work. Maybe libertarians just like to identify with superheroes, and pretend that they're just like them, except for their tiny lives and minds.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 01:44:14 AM PDT

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    •  Check Your Weapons At the Door (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ender, RiveroftheWest, CorinaR, Brecht

      I suspect that the reason why Tolkien devoted space to the irrelevant argument over Aragorn's sword in the Hall of Theoden is because it's the kind of thing that would occur in a Medieval tale, and because it is a point of knightly ettiquite that a Medieval audience would find important.  And Tolkien was a big-time Medievalist.

      And I think it does serve a purpose, albeit perhaps a minor one.  In the scene as written, (I'm going from memory here), Gandalf mediates in the clash between Aragorn and Hama, acting as the Voice of Reason and telling Aragorn not to be a butthead.  Having done so, when it comes his turn to relinquish his staff, Gandalf is able to say, in effect, "Hey, we're willing to comply with reasonable demands but this is stupid."  Hama feels like now he's being the butthead, and so he lets the wizard keep his funny stick.

      Contrast that with the way the scene plays out in the movie.  Hama requests that everyone relinquish their weapons.  Aragorn complies.  Gandalf refuses.  Now Gandalf is one looking like a butthead.

      Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

      by quarkstomper on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 05:56:21 AM PDT

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      •  My memory is the worst of anybody's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, CorinaR, Brecht

        But I thought that Gandalf got to keep his staff because he was really old and needed to lean on something.

        Nobody is going to take an old man's stick away under those circumstances.

        •  Yes, But... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ender, RiveroftheWest, CorinaR, Brecht

          This is true in both versions.  But in the one take, Gandalf is being a cranky old man; and in the other he's a cranky old man who can say "Look, I've been reasonable, but this goes too far!"

          Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

          by quarkstomper on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 06:21:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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