Thursday, July 28, 2011

Middle Earth and Mangroves.

I don't really care much for the Guardian Newspaper of Great Britain. I want to make that explicitly clear. I dislike them because of their usual insistence on being snobs (much like any newspaper) when it comes to books and films. So I was rather surprised when I found this rather glowing recommendation for The Lord of the Rings.

Generally when one reads a Guardian review of a Fantasy novel.. or especially of one written by such an unrepentant "Luddite" "Monarchist" "Religiously slanted" not to mention "Racist" author as Tolkien.. it's generally to point out how He (It's always a he) fails to live up to their glorious multicultural ideals, and thus why no one should bother reading them.. After all, they tend to inform you, there is a book about a quadruple amputee transvestite jihadist that you should read instead.

Occasionally however they do produce, or rather publish a writer who isn't quite so pretentious. This is one of them. It's a short tale, but it's interesting to see Tolkiens words framed around the herbology of Lagos. The mangrove swamps and lillies and bullfrogs.

It further illustrates just how massive a treasure trove Africa is as a setting for Fantasy. Not the old "white man interacting with savages" style.. but the type of Fantasy that Charles Saunders writes. Maybe one of these days we will get a fantasy author who takes full advantage of the abundance of magical resources at their disposal, and who is also lucky enough to get popular for doing it.


Brian Murphy said...

there is a book about a quadruple amputee transvestite jihadist that you should read instead.

You forgot to add communist.

But seriously, thanks for pointing it out. It's a good piece on The Guardian.

You've summed up the main reason why I hate most Tolkien criticism--forget actual literary critique, or calm, measured diagreement. So many critics (David Brin, Johann Hari, Michael Moorcock, Richard Morgan, etc.) seem to think reading him is corruptive and dangerous, and/or may actually cause the downfall of 21st century western european socialism.

Lagomorph Rex said...

Indeed, the way some treat Tolkien you would think he was Wyndham Lewis..