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21921Re: [mythsoc] Murkierwood

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  • Michael Cunningham
    Feb 22, 2011
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      I was happy to review this title with an objective frame of mind, however the author included several caveats:
      'Mirkwood was never intended to be read in a 'Tolkien purist' light...' (fair enough, it's doesn't appear to be a forensic literary analysis of another person's work).
      'An honest critique of a few sentences (or more) is great. If, on the other hand, you simply dislike the book (i.e.can give it only one or two [Amazon] stars), I might suggest not posting a review''
      So what's the point of sending out review copies? If you can't say anything..?
      The title on the cover, though, 'Mirkwood: A novel about JRR Tolkien' sounds biographical and may be deliberately misleading, until one opens the book and sees the full title.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 6:16 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Murkierwood


      I had to chuckle at your list of points, David, because some of these
      details are easily researchered - like the Idlewild to JFK transformation.
      And the reason I'm chuckling is that last Saturday I was on a panel with
      Harry Turtledove and Barbara Hambly about doing just THAT KIND of research
      for writing! One point we were highlighting was that in the readership for
      any book there is going to be SOMEONE who is an expert on whatever you're
      talking about. Why tick them off when you don't have to.

      It's one thing when someone is warping reality for the sake of the story,
      shifting historical details (such as James Owen does in his books - where
      it is always in service to the story and he is well aware where he is
      "stepping off the path" as it were). It's something else when details are
      gotten wrong simply because the writer couldn't be bothered to verify
      something (I once read a story where the writer had a character, who was a
      radio reporter, win a Pulitzer for investigative reporting! How hard is it
      to check an almanac and find out that the broadcast awards are the

      Okay... sorry, it's a hobbyhorse for me this week.

      > Has anyone else read the brief opening chapter available on the website?
      > There are some strange and apparently unnecessary historical bloopers in
      > it.
      > I'm leaving out the stuff that might actually be necessary for the plot.
      >>These creatures live to me as I am creating them. ...
      > As Doug Kane observed, this supposed quote from Tolkien's Letters doesn't
      > even sound remotely like him.
      >>As he deplaned at what was then Idlewild Airport
      > This is set in 1970, by which time the airport had been JFK for several
      > years.
      >>the old manwas scarcely recognizable as the chipper
      >>Merton Professor of Anglo-Saxon Literature
      > A hopeless amalgam of Tolkien's two separate professorial titles, the
      > second
      > one of which he'd been retired from for over a decade by 1970.
      >>For a man about whose life it would be observed, "after
      >>1925, nothing much happened,"
      > The actual quote, from Carpenter, is the more measured, "And after this,
      > you
      > might say, nothing else really happened."
      >>this lion of letters trudged in fear for the first time
      >>since he was eighteen at the Battle of the Somme.
      > Tolkien was 18 in 1910. The Battle of the Somme, in which Tolkien did
      > fight, took place in 1916.

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