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Re: [mythsoc] Murkierwood

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 of 14 , Feb 22, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                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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