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Mieville essay

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  • Stolzi@aol.com
    Lewis sneers, Tolkien is a leaden moralist: China Mieville is at it again. (I was just reading in May s BUTTERBUR S WOODSHED David Bratman s animadversions
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 6 9:11 AM
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      Lewis sneers, Tolkien is a leaden moralist: China Mieville is at it again.
      (I was just reading in May's BUTTERBUR'S WOODSHED David Bratman's
      animadversions upon Mieville's ideas as expressed in the March LOCUS)

      <A HREF="http://www.bordersstores.com/features/feature.jsp?file=mieville2">http://www.bordersstores.com/features/feature.jsp?file=mieville2</A>

      http://www.bordersstores.com/features/feature.jsp?file=mieville2

      I know you'll love this, David.

      Diamond Proudbrook






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    • Bill
      I tend to look upon Mieville and his fellows in the current British clique of fantasy writers who criticize Lewis and Tolkien as the literary equivalent of
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 6 10:44 AM
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        I tend to look upon Mieville and his fellows in the current
        British
        clique of fantasy writers who criticize Lewis and Tolkien as
        the
        literary equivalent of children who have talented parents or
        sibs and are frustrated that they don't get the attention they

        feel they deserve.
        Gah. Don't have time to expound , because I have to get to
        work
        at the very chain that let Mieville bleat this
        ...er...stuff...





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      • michael_martinez2
        ... it again. ... LOCUS) Interesting article. I can agree with some of the things he says. Tolkien and Lewis are, indeed, heavy-handed. But though he
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 8 8:33 AM
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          --- In mythsoc@y..., Stolzi@a... wrote:
          >
          > Lewis sneers, Tolkien is a leaden moralist: China Mieville is at
          it again.
          > (I was just reading in May's BUTTERBUR'S WOODSHED David Bratman's
          > animadversions upon Mieville's ideas as expressed in the March
          LOCUS)

          Interesting article. I can agree with some of the things he says.
          Tolkien and Lewis are, indeed, heavy-handed. But though he presents
          that as a negative property of their work, I don't see it that way.

          Tolkien's heavy-handedness is necessary because he has to establish
          the entire mythic tradition from which his stories emerge. His
          (intended) audience has not grown up with the various Middle-earthian
          bogeymen that a true mythology would have impressed upon its culture.

          Tolkien assumes that his readers will only know about his Orcs,
          Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits from his own literature. Of course, he
          could not have foreseen what would chew up the bookstore shelves in
          his wake. But I think some of the criticism levelled at modern
          fantasy is justified.

          I don't necessarily LIKE non-Tolkienesque fantasy, mind you. I had
          my fill of Kafka, for example, in college. Don't ever want to go
          down THAT road again.

          But the fantasy genre is probably awaiting the next trendsetter.
          Harry Potter may be that trendsetter. I finally read the Harry
          Potter books last week. J.K. Rowling is a pretty good writer, and I
          understand that there are now Potteresque books sitting on the
          shelves (or, at least, there HAVE been in recent years).

          Rowling is not a great writer. Some of her characterizations are
          pretty wooden, and some of her plot elements are telegraphed chapters
          in advance. Tolkien had some window dressing, too, but his
          characterizations were generally acceptable and most people really
          don't know where his stories will take them before they arrive at the
          end.

          But Rowling puts genuine humor into her stories. She had me laughing
          at various places. I don't laugh in a Tolkien book. And most of the
          fantasy I've read which has attempted to use humor has failed
          miserably. One particularly bad example was a Marion Zimmer Bradley
          Darkover novel (I don't recall which, as I had nearly all of them at
          one point) where one of the minor characters tried to tell a joke
          about people's words freezing up in winter. Just wasn't funny.

          Instead of telling jokes, Rowling lets the humor roll freely. She
          doesn't rely upon the zany madness of puns and inside digs that
          Terry "Discworld" Pratchett does (he hates the word "zany" -- too bad
          for him). Rowling's humor is quite different from Pratchett's. She
          is not poking fun at anything.

          If we can get a few more good authors following in her footsteps,
          modern fantasy will open some new doors.

          And whatever people make think of the Potter books, Rowling IS
          developing a whole new mythology, with her hidden world of wizards.
          She is recycling a lot of traditional stuff -- with considerably less
          sophistication than Tolkien did -- but she is achieving her goal.

          Anyway, like I said. I can agree with some of the criticism in that
          article. People shouldn't have apoplexy over the fact that someone
          doesn't like Tolkien. :)

          He was certainly much kinder than some of the reviews *I* have
          received. All those of you who read my essays are apparently 8th
          graders with no sense of true literary comprehension. I think it's a
          poor reviewer who must attack a reading audience (and how often are
          Tolkien's readers called "fanboys", for example?) in order to say
          something negative. At least this review doesn't attack the reader.
          Even the remark about Lewis implicating the reader leaves us the
          dignity of not having mud slung at us.
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