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MEFA Awards for Saturday, November 1, 2008

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  • annmarwalk
    Title: The Otters of Imladris · Author: chaotic_binky · Genres: Humor: Elven Lands · ID: 491 Reviewer: Oshun · 2008-11-01 02:58:42 Binky s stories are
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2008
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      Title: The Otters of Imladris · Author: chaotic_binky · Genres: Humor:
      Elven Lands · ID: 491
      Reviewer: Oshun · 2008-11-01 02:58:42
      Binky's stories are usually layered and subversive and this is no
      exception. What you expect to see is not always what you will get.
      There is a lot more going on there than is immediately evident. In
      this case, the title, and the categorization of humor, might lead one
      to believe that this is short, fluffy throw-away piece that will bring
      a smile and perhaps a laugh. But actually it has a great deal to say
      about the characters involved, their individual and often conflicting
      ways of considering and approaching a problem. It is very much a story
      of a relationship, as well as a story about respect and lack of
      respect for nature and the necessity of merging of practicality and
      sentiment to arrive at the best result for how to care for a
      vulnerable creature. And it has a happy ending.

      Title: Another Prometheus · Author: Gandalfs apprentice · Races:
      Cross-Cultural: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 85
      Reviewer: Robinka · 2008-11-01 08:14:15
      A very interesting interpretation of one of the most fascinating and
      complicated characters in the Tolkien universe -- Feanor, cleverly
      associated with Greek mythology. Well crafted!

      Title: Of Cake and Crumbs and Distant Dreams · Author: Lindelea ·
      Races: Hobbits: Hurt/Comfort · ID: 688
      Reviewer: Larner · 2008-11-01 09:29:52
      Spoilers!
      For those who have been forced to grow up too quickly as happened with
      Peregrin Took, sometimes they just need the reassurance that they are
      indeed young and deserve to enjoy innocence. So it is with Pippin this
      day as he sits in a tower in the Citadel of Minas Tirith and wishes he
      was at home

      Here Frodo is at his best as he seeks to recall the feeling of
      stability and comfort Pippin needs at the moment, and I think the
      story told is excellent therapy for both him and Pippin. For a moment
      they aren't heroes in the King's City who've somehow managed to do
      things too large to understand, but just the Hobbits of the Shire they
      were born to be.

      Oh, Lindelea, how I love this story, one I appear to have missed when
      it was posted--but then I was rather young in the craft myself. It is
      the kind of tale within a tale that we all have told our children--or
      nieces and nephews or younger cousins--at one time or another. It's a
      tale of home and the simple desires of children with just enough
      prosaic stuff to be comfortable and fantasy to be interesting. I feel
      I'm sitting on the stair with the two Hobbits considering the
      appetites of Hobbits of various sizes myself!

      Thank you indeed for this one, one I'll possibly read to small
      children one day.

      Title: BRIDGE: Pá Valaraucar ar Námier · Author: Fiondil · Races:
      Other Beings · ID: 415
      Reviewer: Larner · 2008-11-01 09:38:20
      Spoilers!
      In Fiondil's-verse, it was the suggestion of Olorin that those sent to
      Middle Earth be invested in Hroa similar to that of Men, able to know
      pain, injury, exhaustion, even death. Or maybe that last experience
      was more than Olorin truly wanted, for after throwing down the Balrog,
      therefore, Gandalf found himself within the Halls of Mandos as would
      any slain Elf. And as happens with many slain Elves and Men who enters
      Namo's halls, he is convinced he HAS to return--that somehow only if
      he is present can all things work out properly for those, particularly
      within the Fellowship, who struggle to see Sauron properly opposed and
      the Ring destroyed.

      ["What part of being dead do you not understand?"] has to be one of
      the funniest yet most profound lines in the whole story. And when
      Gandalf finds he WILL be sent back after all....

      Very thought-provoking and poignant as well as humorous. It appears
      that Olorin, as happens with most folks, had lost the ability to
      accept that death could happen to him as easily as to any other. That
      the Creator as well as the Valar in this case agree he's needed back
      in Middle Earth comes almost as a surprise to him; and he does help
      the various members of the Fellowship to do what is necessary, after
      all, and does manage to find and rescue Frodo and Sam.

      A good, satisfying read.

      Title: The Farmer's Son · Author: Lindelea · Races: Hobbits:
      Incomplete · ID: 509
      Reviewer: Larner · 2008-11-01 09:45:49
      Spoilers!
      This is a marked divergence from Lindelea's usual story arc; Paladin
      Took is not critical of his son, but instead is calm and aware. Plus
      even though he is Thain, Paladin and his family continue to live in
      the Farm at Whitwell rather than within the Great Smials. And Pippin,
      as he prepares to leave to help Frodo move to Crickhollow--and for the
      journey out into the wilds he knows will follow--hesitates to leave
      his home and his family.

      In it we see the Time of Troubles beginning, as well as the awareness
      hit the Thain's family that their youngest has disappeared with Frodo
      and Merry and Sam out into the unknown outer world. Why is Lotho after
      particular property within the Tooklands, and is he doing similarly
      elsewhere within the Shire? Where have their four gone and why, and
      who are the black riders reported by the Bounders? And what is the
      meaning of the recent influx of Big Men into the Shire? Why are they
      congregating about Bag End in Hobbiton?

      This look at the Time of Troubles as seen through the eyes of the
      Thain's family promises to be fascinating, and I hope it is added to
      soon. It is wonderful to see Lindelea breaking with her usual story
      arc to experiment with quite a different Paladin Took, one she has
      often regretted she hadn't written. I say, Go, girl!

      Title: An Autumn Fair in Halabor · Author: Soledad · Times: Mid Third
      Age · ID: 165
      Reviewer: Larner · 2008-11-01 09:52:36
      Spoilers!
      Many stories are told of the kings and queens of the lands of Middle
      Earth--stories of royalty amongst Men, Elves, and Dwarves; but not
      enough stories are told of simple villagers and those who visit them.
      This about the visit of Elves to the Gondorian town of Halabor is
      fascinating particularly because it's not about Denethor or Aragorn as
      Lord of Gondor, but primarily about the traders and craftsmen among
      Halabor's citizens and their counterparts who visit from the Elven lands.

      Wonderful look at day-to-day life for Men and Elves. Highly recommended!

      Title: Answers · Author: Armariel · Genres: Poetry: Drama · ID: 458
      Reviewer: Larner · 2008-11-01 10:01:24
      Spoilers!
      Frodo heals, and as he heals he seeks to reassure Sam as to how much
      he loves him, and how much what Sam was able to do has contributed to
      the healing he knows.

      As is always true of Armariel\\\'s poetry, this is poignant and speaks
      as much to us as it does Tolkien\\\'s characters. How much we depend
      on one another as we find our wounds healed and our lives fulfilled!

      Beautiful and filled with an aching brilliance.

      Title: Utúlie'n Aurë · Author: Nieriel Raina · Genres: Drama: General
      Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 163
      Reviewer: crowdaughter · 2008-11-01 14:54:41
      Spoilers!
      A great, poignant view at the impact the final downfall of Sauron and
      of evil in the Third Age must have had on one who was there to see the
      bitter defeats of the First Age. Also, I like the unobtrusive way you
      bring those things that matter fighting for, and for which evil needed
      to be defeated, into this. Friendship and caring, raising toddlers,
      all those things life matters for - effectively brought in here with a
      few, small strokes. Elegant and lovely. I like!

      Title: The Stranger · Author: Nieriel Raina · Genres: Drama: Featuring
      the Noldor · ID: 560
      Reviewer: crowdaughter · 2008-11-01 15:36:24
      Spoilers!
      What a powerful short story, hinting at so much more. There are very
      different ideas about Macalaure's final fate, and this one is a good
      take. I lI feel sad for your choice of the only way for him to find
      home, in this tale, especially since there is still that oath looming
      in the background. However, the way you bring his fate to our
      attention, and confront it with the friendly curiosity of the boy,
      here, is very effective. Very well done. Love it.

      Oh, and now I really want to read the poem the intro lines are taken from!



      Title: Fulfilling Oaths · Author: Nieriel Raina · Times: Multi-Age ·
      ID: 332
      Reviewer: crowdaughter · 2008-11-01 16:09:52
      Spoilers!
      This is a powerful and compelling tale about the history and the
      meaning of the Ring of Barahir, and what inmpact it may have had to be
      passed along. The short vignettes along the stations of the ring are
      very poignant, and work very well. I loved the end, too. Full circle,
      indeed! And the title of the story is fitting, too.

      Very well done! Thank you for writing and sharing.

      Title: Silver Blossoms Blown · Author: Ignoble Bard · Races:
      Cross-Cultural · ID: 646
      Reviewer: crowdaughter · 2008-11-01 16:25:29
      Spoilers!
      This is a beautiful short piece bringing across the perception of one
      of the Valar of the new Children of Illuvatar, and their coming into
      their maturity. I love the poetic language, and also the very distant
      and different perspective. There are few tales giving us the possible
      look of events out of the perspective of the Valar, and even less
      which take into accountv that this perspective is bound to be very
      different from that of mere incarnates. This one brings across this
      fact, in spades.

      Very well done, and well worth reading. Thank you for writing and sharing!

      Title: The Making of Werewolves · Author: Ignoble Bard · Races:
      Villains · ID: 42
      Reviewer: crowdaughter · 2008-11-01 16:31:11
      As I have said elsewhere, already, I love the powerful language of
      this short vignette, and also the deeper view it gives us at a part of
      the backstory of the Silmarillion that is mentioned there with only a
      few words. The style is very much like the Sil itself, more history
      recounting than direct tale, but the tale is still very compelling.
      Enhancing indeed! I like, and very much so!

      Thank you for writing and sharing. :)

      Title: On Canon and Fanfic · Author: Marta · Genres: Non-Fiction · ID: 123
      Reviewer: crowdaughter · 2008-11-01 16:54:34
      Very good essay on what constitutes an AU and what is canon, and why
      even a complete AU should at least make sense and be related to the
      canon in the original universe. I like the author's stance, although I
      do not agree with every part of it. Still, kudos for writing such a
      good and clearly stated defense to that most beloved of my reading and
      writings genres: the alternative universe. :)

      Very well done!

      Title: They Also Serve · Author: Marta · Times: Late Third Age · ID: 365
      Reviewer: crowdaughter · 2008-11-01 17:03:50
      Spoilers!
      An usual approach, giving a small insight in to what had to go on in
      Rivendell behind the scenes to keep the whole valley going. The view
      into Arwen's longing and worries about her betrothed work also. Nice idea!

      Title: Creation Myths · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Drama: General
      Drabbles · ID: 300
      Reviewer: crowdaughter · 2008-11-01 17:28:10
      A powerful comparison of two very different ways to handle one's own
      creations, and poignantly showing the difference between the
      generosity given by love, and the jealousy and pettiness generated by
      pride. Gripping despite its shortness!

      Title: A Taste of Home · Author: Pearl Took · Races: Hobbits:
      Friendship · ID: 138
      Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-01 18:02:56
      Moving story, told with a light and humorous touch. Pearl Took shows
      Merry and Pippin convincingly as old, but still retaining their
      personalities.

      The dialogue was especially engaging and lively. And the climax of the
      story was hilarious - and thanks for that yummy recipe!

      Title: Rude Awakening · Author: Lindelea · Races: Hobbits:
      Hurt/Comfort · ID: 692
      Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-01 18:06:42
      Strangely unsettling; I didn't quite know whether to be creeped out or
      to laugh at the odd situation Pippin found himself in - which goes to
      show how well-written the story is to be so ambiguous and effective.

      Title: Dark Dreams · Author: SlightlyTookish · Races: Hobbits:
      Hurt/Comfort · ID: 550
      Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-01 18:11:13
      Very evocative and atmospheric descriptions. I could feel Pippin's
      panic building and building. Merry's sleepwalking and -talking was
      eerie, and I can very well imagine that he suffered from such and
      similar nightmares after his experiences - and that Pippin can
      sympathise because he suffered those or similar ones, too.

      Well-paced; the tension keeps mounting up and then slowly eases out at
      the end.

      Title: O Merry Mine · Author: Larner · Races: Hobbits: Hurt/Comfort ·
      ID: 636
      Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-01 18:27:13
      Touching insights into the relationship between Frodo and Merry
      throughout their lives. I liked how the basic premise of each vignette
      changed and adapted itself to the various circumstances, sometimes
      showing some random event, sometimes pivotal events in LotR.

      Title: Denial · Author: Oshun · Races: Elves: House of Finwe · ID: 80
      Reviewer: Angelica · 2008-11-01 18:50:51
      This ficlet is another great character study by Oshun where nothing
      very dramatic seems to be happening and yet by the end of the story
      much has been said about the characters.
      Here the contrast is between bohemian Makalaure and [picture perfect]
      Maitimo. Makalaure's shrewd -and sarcastic- observations and Maitimo's
      vulnerability despite his apparent strength tell a lot about these
      characters beyond the quick scene that we are given to witness. The
      author also makes the depth of affection between the two of them
      unmistakably clear (how else could they have reached the end of the
      First Age together?).

      Title: King Stag · Author: Jael · Races: Elves: Mirkwood Elves · ID: 86
      Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-01 21:58:07
      Spoilers!
      In [King Stag], Jael takes the reader deep into the wild and perilous
      realm of Faerie through the eyes of Thranduil as he strives to prove
      his worth to his new wife's parents and their tribe. Although solidly
      set in Tolkien's Middle-earth, Jael's Avorren truly echo the ancient
      forest-spirits of Northern Europe, the deep mythology from which
      Tolkien derived his legendarium. This gifted writer, with her solid
      knowledge of literature and history, takes shamanism (the ritual of
      fly agaric - delightful to this reader/reviewer who had entertained
      the notion of becoming an ethnobotanist at one time) and primeval
      symbolism (running with the stags) and interweaves them seamlessly
      into Tolkien's world, thereby enriching it.

      Jael bolsters the different elven cultures by the use of Primitive
      Elvish sprinkled throughout the story. The use of Primitive Elvish and
      Sindarin phrases is not ever gratuitous, but adds a level of detail
      that further enhances the story. The culture of the Avari is
      beautifully realized in [King Stag] and delves into Tolkien's brief
      writings of the Sindar who moved into the Greenwood, wishing to return
      to a simpler life.

      Then there is the characterization. Jael's Thranduil is such a
      well-crafted protagonist that he practically leaps off the page.
      Lalaithiel, his wife, is a very satisfying character, again one of
      Tolkien's sub-textual women we know had to have existed and who Jael
      brings to full and passionate life here and most fortunately for this
      reader, in other works of the Jael-verse, too. Likewise, Tûron, her
      father and Thranduil's guide in the ceremony, is nicely realized: the
      "noble savage."

      The story is bracketed by bittersweet bookends in the form of the
      prologue and the epilogue, especially the epilogue. Heartwrenching
      without stooping to the maudlin, this is a sad coda for the King of
      the Greenwood, but there is hope and endurance, too, for the son of
      the tall beech.

      Thanks to this story, whenever I walk in the local woods (which harbor
      black squirrels - really!) and see the tall beeches or scare up a
      deer, I think of [King Stag] and let my imagination conjure up Avorren
      among the trees.

      Title: Early Winter at Himring Hill · Author: Oshun · Genres: Romance:
      Elven Lands · ID: 79
      Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-01 22:33:57
      [Early Winter at Himring Hill] is welcome ray of light amidst the
      sturm und drang of The Silmarillion. Here Oshun uses my favorite
      descriptor of her version of Fingon: irrepressible. Throughout her
      story arc of Maedhros and Fingon, that is how I see Fingon, who often
      seizes the day and seeks joy in his life, even in the face of
      darkness. In this vignette, Fingon's devil-may-care exuberance shines
      through Oshun's description of his approach to the fortress on Himring
      Hill: banners flying and hooves thundering. The setting is cold --
      even grim -- but Fingon's joie-de-vivre (as Raksha so aptly put it)
      and Maedhros' warmth melt the frost of this chilly scene of winter.
      One would like to think these two fellows returned to the keep of the
      fortress and drank wine by a roaring fire in the hearth.

      I find Oshun's style to be fresh and therefore immensely appealing,
      and I'm in awe of her knack for dialog. Through Maedhros and Fingon's
      expressions and conversation, their personalities are distinctive and
      fully reflect their natures in her larger works. I also greatly
      appreciate the humanity that she imbues in her Firstborn, and this
      also shows in [Early Winter] with the fierce embrace and ear-to-ear grins.

      This story, set in the grey cold of winter, always warms my heart.
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