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17328Re: another new book with JRRT as a character

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  • auricdor
    Dec 1, 2006
      Heh. Sir, you've caught me out.

      The fact that the story is a fictionalization hasn't kept me from
      attempting to adhere to as many factual aspects of my chosen
      protagonists as I could manage - however, as you point out, my
      presentation of his abilities (at that point in his life) was clumsily

      I'd compressed certain aspects of his academic attitudes and
      performance (as I'd interpreted them), and re-presented them in my
      fictional version - but I think you're dead on with your specific
      criticism. All I can guess (at this point, nearing completion of the
      second book), is that for that moment in the story, I was serving the
      immediate dramatic purpose more than thinking of the fidelity of a
      straight presentation of real facts.

      Certainly, I'd never intended to have the book taken as academic in
      any way - my H.G. Wells is ENTIRELY fictionalized, for example, at a
      time HE was still living as well - and to that end have gently pointed
      out that my story is more about John, Jack, and Charles, than it is
      Tolkien, Lewis, and Williams (if you see my distinction). And I did
      telegraph this in the first chapter, by having them retire to 221B
      Baker Street - which does not, in fact, exist.

      Still, I regret that you didn't enjoy my book, and I hope that you'll
      give the next one a look come October, to see if it might better suit
      your taste.

      Best regards,

      James A. Owen

      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
      > Earlier this week saw that a new book I'd been on the look-out for is
      > finally on the shelves: THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF BEOWULF, CHAMPION
      > OF MIDDLE EARTH, edited by Brian Thomsen, who is probably best-known
      > to folks here as compiler of HALFLINGS, HOBBITS, WARROWS & WEEFOLK.
      > This collection reprints an old 19th century translation of BEOWULF
      > along with four new stories of B's "futher adventures"--think of
      > these as "Beowulf: The Lost Episodes", two of which are by friends of
      > mine (Wolfgang Baur and Jeff Grubb; the other two are by Ed Greenwood
      > and Lynn Abbey). However, interspersed between each story is a
      > snippet from Thomsen's framing story, about a visit by Guy Burgess to
      > Tolkien in 1936, with the notorious spy attempting to recruit JRRT
      > for his network. From the quick glance I took at it it looks as if
      > there's a pretty significant historical glitch, in that Burgess seems
      > to be representing the Nazis here while in real life he was a
      > Communist mole within the British intelligentsia and intelligence
      > service. But even that pales for me against the magnitude of the
      > blunder in Owen's HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS where JRRT at one point has
      > to admit, shamefaced, that he can't actually read Old English or even
      > Latin because he cdn't see the point of learning dead languages when
      > there was a war going on. That pretty much sunk Owen to the bottom of
      > the barrel for me, along with the recent spate of books portraying
      > Conan Doyle as Holmes-like. I assume that at some point someone's
      > going to use JRRT as a character or supporting character and more or
      > less get it right, but looks like we'll have to wade through a lake
      > of dreck to get there.
      > --JRRT
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