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Re: [mythsoc] Murkierwood

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  • David Bratman
    ... I kind of guessed that from the more than improbable events I didn t comment on because I figured they were necessary for the plot, like Tolkien flying on
    Message 1 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
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      "John Rateliff" <sacnoth@...> wrote:

      > You're not mistaken. The chapters in which JRRT appears
      > make no effort at all at accuracy; it's more like "hollywood
      > biopic" pseudo-reality.

      I kind of guessed that from the more than improbable events I didn't comment
      on because I figured they were necessary for the plot, like Tolkien flying
      on his own to New York and the Algonquin being a favorite Inklings hotel
      there. (Presumably for its literary connotations, which of course reminds
      me of the occasion that the infamous Inklings biographer Michael White
      confused Dorothy Sayers with Dorothy Parker.)

      > For example, a number of chapters are presented as
      > transcriptions of audiotapes of Inklings sessions in which
      > his friends address CSL as "Clive" (others present include
      > "Tollers", "Charles", "Owen" and "Ian").

      Ian? Ian who? Ian Ballantine? Ian Slater? Who?

      > I'm currently reading the book and am about a third of the
      > way through, but it's slow going because it's such a mess
      > structurally.

      It took me a while to figure out the structure of David Downing's book too,
      but once I did I got a handle on it. The hero and heroine go out in the
      country and have an adventure or two, then they go back to Oxford where an
      Inkling delivers an expository lump to them, then they go out for more
      adventures, and repeat.
    • scribbler@scribblerworks.us
      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
      Message 2 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
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        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
        Peabodys?).

        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.
        >
        >
      • Darrell A. Martin
        ... Mike: Well, to get the trivial out of the way, it s seven words not six, just like the classically trite, It was a dark and stormy night. I hope you have
        Message 3 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
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          On 2/22/2011 10:03 AM, Mike Foster wrote:
          >
          >
          > A good post, David. You express contempt with such eloquent restraint.
          > One shiny American penny to anyone who can find in any fiction six worse
          > consecutive worse worse than “this lion of letters trudged in fear.”
          > Cheers,
          > Mike

          Mike:

          Well, to get the trivial out of the way, it's seven words not six, just
          like the classically trite, "It was a dark and stormy night."

          I hope you have a roll of pennies, only because as bad as TLOLTIF is, I
          cannot imagine there not being many worse (although I tend not to keep
          books in which examples occur). There is a glimmer of literary light in
          the alliteration of "lion" and "letters"; and the mental picture of a
          lion trudging in fear, although awkward, has some pretense to meaning.

          In the end, to the charge that I am "damning with faint praise," I will
          plead guilty.

          Darrell
        • Michael Cunningham
          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
          Message 4 of 14 , 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.
             
            Michael
             
             
             
            ----- 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
            Peabodys?).

            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.
            >
            >

          • Mike Foster
            Besides the almanac, simply going through the New York newspapers for the time-frame of the story’s setting would have been a basic research essential. As to
            Message 5 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
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              Besides the almanac, simply going through the New York newspapers for the time-frame of the story’s setting would have been a basic research essential.
               
              As to JRRT travelling to the USA in 1970, very loud chuckles.  Anyone’s who read Tolkien’s correspondence with Marquette regarding the U’s efforts to get him to visit Milwaukee in 1958 knows that the mere premise that Tolkien would fly to Noo Yawk torpedoes willing suspension of disbelief.
               
              Six words, seven words: when it’s as bad as that sample David quoted, the counter goes off.
               
              Maybe the Stewards should consider The Drinking Fountain Of Khazad-dum, wherein participants would read the worst line they came across this year.
               
              Back to Phantastes for Far Westfarthing smial pubmoot on Friday.  Re-reading it for the first time in 40 years, I find myself more attuned to Tolkien’s view of MacDonald than CSL’s.  But as a nap-inducer on a cold Midwestern afternoon, it’s hard to top.
               
              Cheers,
              Mike
               
              Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 12:16 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
              Peabodys?).

              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.
              >
              >

            • Jason Fisher
              I noticed the same caveats in the review copy the author sent me. They struck me as presumptuous and/or defensive, right off the bat. The kinds of things a
              Message 6 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
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                I noticed the same caveats in the review copy the author sent me. They struck me as presumptuous and/or defensive, right off the bat. The kinds of things a self-published author representing himself would ask — and which traditional publishers know better than to expect.
                 
                Jason


                From: Michael Cunningham <vargeisa@...>
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tue, February 22, 2011 1:17:19 PM
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Murkierwood

                 

                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.
                 
                Michael
                 
                 
                 
                ----- 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
                Peabodys?).

                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.
                >
                >

              • Mike Foster
                Jason, I agree. Only positive reviewers need apply. ?: Weren’t you tempted to write back and say, “Don’t worry. I know it’s your first time. I’ll
                Message 7 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
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                  Jason,
                  I agree.  Only positive reviewers need apply.
                   
                  ?: Weren’t you tempted to write back and say, “Don’t worry.  I know it’s your first time. I’ll be very gentle.”
                   
                  Mike
                   
                  Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:00 PM
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Murkierwood
                   
                   

                  I noticed the same caveats in the review copy the author sent me. They struck me as presumptuous and/or defensive, right off the bat. The kinds of things a self-published author representing himself would ask — and which traditional publishers know better than to expect.
                   
                  Jason
                   

                  From: Michael Cunningham <vargeisa@...>
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tue, February 22, 2011 1:17:19 PM
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Murkierwood

                   

                  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.
                   
                  Michael
                   
                   
                   
                  ----- 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
                  Peabodys?).

                  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.
                  >
                  >

                • Darrell A. Martin
                  ... Mike: Does the Far Westfarthing smial meet regularly? Or is this Friday (if that is correct) a special event? Peoria area? Drowned in the Drinking
                  Message 8 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
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                    On 2/22/2011 1:54 PM, Mike Foster wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > Besides the almanac, simply going through the New York newspapers for
                    > the time-frame of the story’s setting would have been a basic research
                    > essential.
                    > As to JRRT travelling to the USA in 1970, very loud chuckles. Anyone’s
                    > who read Tolkien’s correspondence with Marquette regarding the U’s
                    > efforts to get him to visit Milwaukee in 1958 knows that the mere
                    > premise that Tolkien would fly to Noo Yawk torpedoes willing suspension
                    > of disbelief.
                    > Six words, seven words: when it’s as bad as that sample David quoted,
                    > the counter goes off.
                    > Maybe the Stewards should consider The Drinking Fountain Of Khazad-dum,
                    > wherein participants would read the worst line they came across this year.
                    > Back to /Phantastes/ for Far Westfarthing smial pubmoot on Friday.
                    > Re-reading it for the first time in 40 years, I find myself more attuned
                    > to Tolkien’s view of MacDonald than CSL’s. But as a nap-inducer on a
                    > cold Midwestern afternoon, it’s hard to top.
                    > Cheers,
                    > Mike

                    Mike:

                    Does the Far Westfarthing smial meet regularly? Or is this Friday (if
                    that is correct) a special event? Peoria area?

                    "Drowned in the Drinking Fountain of Khazad-dum" sounds like an
                    interesting if uncomplimentary epitaph, whether you consider it seven
                    words or eight [grin].

                    Darrell
                  • Mike Foster
                    Yes, Darrell. Mike From: Darrell A. Martin Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 6:36 PM To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: [mythsoc] Far Westfarthing smial
                    Message 9 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
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                      Yes, Darrell.
                       
                      Mike
                       
                      Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 6:36 PM
                      Subject: [mythsoc] Far Westfarthing smial pubmoot?
                       
                       

                      On 2/22/2011 1:54 PM, Mike Foster wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Besides the almanac, simply going through the New York newspapers for
                      > the time-frame of the story’s setting would have been a basic research
                      > essential.
                      > As to JRRT travelling to the USA in 1970, very loud chuckles. Anyone’s
                      > who read Tolkien’s correspondence with Marquette regarding the U’s
                      > efforts to get him to visit Milwaukee in 1958 knows that the mere
                      > premise that Tolkien would fly to Noo Yawk torpedoes willing suspension
                      > of disbelief.
                      > Six words, seven words: when it’s as bad as that sample David quoted,
                      > the counter goes off.
                      > Maybe the Stewards should consider The Drinking Fountain Of Khazad-dum,
                      > wherein participants would read the worst line they came across this year.
                      > Back to /Phantastes/ for Far Westfarthing smial pubmoot on Friday.
                      > Re-reading it for the first time in 40 years, I find myself more attuned
                      > to Tolkien’s view of MacDonald than CSL’s. But as a nap-inducer on a
                      > cold Midwestern afternoon, it’s hard to top.
                      > Cheers,
                      > Mike

                      Mike:

                      Does the Far Westfarthing smial meet regularly? Or is this Friday (if
                      that is correct) a special event? Peoria area?

                      "Drowned in the Drinking Fountain of Khazad-dum" sounds like an
                      interesting if uncomplimentary epitaph, whether you consider it seven
                      words or eight [grin].

                      Darrell

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