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LotR Rewritten From a Mordor Perspective

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the up-is-down dept.

Books 583

Hugh Pickens writes writes "It's been said that history is written by the winners but Laura Miller writes in Salon about a counterexample as she reviews a new version of Lord of the Rings. The Last Ring-bearer was published to acclaim in Russia by Kirill Yeskov, a paleontologist whose job is reconstructing long-extinct organisms and their way of life. Yeskov performs essentially the same feat in his book. The Last Ring-bearer is set during and after the end of the War of the Ring and told from the perspective of the losers. In Yeskov's retelling, available in translation as a free download, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science 'destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men' and Aragorn is depicted by Yeskov as a ruthless Machiavellian schemer who is ultimately the puppet of his wife, the elf Arwen. Sauron's citadel Barad-dur is, by contrast, described as 'that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic.'"

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583 comments

flusten prlost (0, Offtopic)

Noog (934684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35266920)

what what on topci disuccsions

Hooray for political statements (-1, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35266926)

Some people condense them into a single phrase, or slogan. Some people need an entire pamphlet. Some people require a full book to express what should be a fairly simple thing. And SOME people have to dress that book up in armor or they're not happy.

Content above, rant below

It's been 1 minute since you last successfully posted a comment

Chances are, you're behind a firewall or proxy, or clicked the Back button to accidentally reuse a form. Please try again. If the problem persists, and all other options have been tried, contact the site administrator.

No, chances are I'm just not a fucking idiot who can't string two thoughts together within one minute. Assholes.

Great book (5, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35266950)

It's a great book, I've read it ten years ago, in the Polish translation.

Quoting Wikipedia: "fear of the vigilant and litigious Tolkien estate has heretofore prevented its publication in English". Tell me again, how exactly copyright encourages creation of new works?

Re:Great book (1, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267008)

Okay... I'll tell you again. If there was no copyright, then everyone could simply copy the works of authors and they may not end up being paid for their work. If authors might not be paid for their work, there would be fewer authors. Copyright and patent law are all about making sure the people who did the work are compensated for their work and not ripped off. This helps ensure they will do the work.

Re:Great book (5, Insightful)

snaggen (36005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267044)

exactly! Without copyright nothing of any quality would ever be written. It would all just be the cheap amateurish crap like shakespear and mozart. Thank god for copyright so we can enjoy good culture like die hard 4 and Britney Spears.

Re:Great book (2, Informative)

mike2R (721965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267138)

Shakespear was published under a regime of perpetual copyright.

Re:Great book (2, Funny)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267304)

I don't think that total illiteracy can be considered as "perpetual copyright".

PS: And author's attribution right, is nothing a sensible thing. While copy right is rather stifling....

Re:Great book (5, Informative)

Guido von Guido (548827) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267430)

Shakespear was published under a regime of perpetual copyright.

Which is why Hamlet and King Lear, among other plays, are thought to be reworkings of older plays.

At the time England didn't have copyright laws. They did have the Stationer's Company, which was the printers' guild. In theory once a printer entered a work into the Stationer's Company Register, other printers weren't able to print a copy of that work. In practice, this wasn't well enforced, and publishers often printed works registered to other printers. The first actual copyright law didn't come until the 18th century.

Re:Great book (5, Informative)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267600)

>Shakespear was published under a regime of perpetual copyright.

Well, I'm no expert, but this guy from Duke says Shakespeare was written before the "Statute of Anne [wikipedia.org] " or any other copyright law:

http://library.duke.edu/blogs/scholcomm/2011/02/18/shakespeare-and-copyright/ [duke.edu]

Re:Great book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267180)

If anything you've proven how much *more* copyright is needed today. pre-copyright fellows had the advantage of people not just making copies as they seen fit. We simply do not have that dynamic in play anymore.

Re:Great book (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267560)

If somebody came along and recorded a bunch of Britney Spears songs, as bad as they are, that's still not fair to the original artist (I use the term loosely). Copyright doesn't ensure quality, it ensures due compensation.

Re:Great book (5, Interesting)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267048)

Copyright is needed, but it's currently far too long.

Tolkien has been dead and buried for 38 years now. His estate is preventing the translation from being published for what reason exactly? Where's the benefit to society from that?

Re:Great book (5, Funny)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267096)

Oh, I know the answers: 'greed' and 'none'. I shall now claim this free PDF as my prize...

Re:Great book (3, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267104)

I would have to agree that the copyright and patent systems could be better. But abolishing them altogether could be disastrous. They do serve a purpose.

Perhaps the car analogy is that thousands are killed by cars every year, but abolishing cars could be a disaster. Just because you can think of a disadvantage of something doesn't mean it's all bad and should be abolished. Too many times what I say is reduced to "X is all good" or "X is all bad". There are tradeoffs. Life isn't black and white.

Re:Great book (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267204)

I wouldn't want to abolish it, but I'd like to make it much shorter.

My idea is that copyright is supposed to serve society's interests. For that it should aim to maximize the incentive to produce works. And that means it can't be too long. It can't be too short either, as there must be time to make some money. Copyright must allow authors to make money from their work, but avoid providing a perpetual money supply.

I think that the very maximum length of copyright should be 30 years. The number is based on the idea of that an author should have an incentive to publish at least a second work, after their copyright expires. So assuming one published a book at 20, copyright would expire at 50, providing some motivation to write another.

There was research that suggested the optimal length would be around 14 years. That sounds good to me.

Re:Great book (0)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267300)

>>>My idea is that copyright is supposed to serve society's interests.

Copyright isn't even a "right". In nature there's no right to keep your idea to yourself, and in fact the idea spreads freely from person-to-person without loss of usefulness. However society has decided to grant the *privilege* to the author of a temporary monopoly.

But like all monopolies it needs to be regulated, restrained, and eventually broken-up to restore freedom to the market. Comcast does not have a right to have a perpetual monopoly, and neither does Tolkien.

Re:Great book (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267334)

In nature there's also no right to not get eaten by bears, or murdered by you neighbor....

Re:Great book (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267444)

In nature there's no right to keep your idea to yourself

Of course there's nothing forcing you to give your ideas to other people either, so rights or not, many people are keeping their ideas to themself. I think you mean that in nature, nothing can stop someone copying your idea if they find out about it.

Re:Great book (2)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267402)

Well, why make time the only parameter? If you're interested in new works related to something existing, how about you just say "when you've made 5M bucks off your book, it's off copyright"? That way hot topics can be written about in soon after they break, and many different authors might benefit in a short period of time. At the same time, people who've written niche stuff can continue to collect royalties for many years.

Re:Great book (2)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267606)

It seems to me that it's easier to figure out a good time limit than a monetary one.

Say, the $5M. Why precisely that number? How do you adapt to the economy? $5M in 10 years might be $1M today. Also some works are expensive. That would make big movies go out of copyright right in the first week.

Re:Great book (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267496)

Personally, I would like to see copyright of somewhere around 30 years with purchasable extensions of 5-10 (actually, I would go with a base copyright of 10-15 years, with the initial extension being for a very nominal amount). Each time you pruchase an extension to copyright the cost of that extension goes up. There are aguments aginst it, but I think it is something you could make very difficult for corporations to mount a public relations campaign against. This would allow a company like Walt Disney to keep control of business critical IP. On the other hand, if the price was set right, they wouldn't be able to afford to sit on the products and only release them every 20 years or so.

Re:Great book (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267586)

The original owner of a work may be dead, but the franchise lives on. Shouldn't the franchise holders be protected from losing their investment to copy-cats?

If George Lucas died today, should Star Wars immediately become public domain, even when there's a huge MMO and lots of movie memorabilia with full licensing and lots of money still to be made by the people who paid for the right to do so?

Re:Great book (3, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267426)

Whenever someone says that without copyright, nothing of value would be created anymore, I just have to think back to Pablo Picasso and all the riches he amassed through his art. After all, without copyright, everyone could have copied him and thus taken away his well deserved reward without which he would never have painted in the first place.

Oh wait...

Re:Great book (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267592)

How do you copy original works of art? Besides, I never said nothing of value would be created any more. I said there would be fewer things of value produced if works could be copied freely without the people who did the work getting paid. Perhaps some works would be commissioned by people who wouldn't need to make their money back, but I don't think any Hollywood type movies would be made if any theater could legally make a copy and show the film without paying the film company.

Re:Great book (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267126)

> Where's the benefit to society from that?
And where is benefit for Tolkien from that too.

Re:Great book (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267324)

Where's the benefit to society from that?

Benefit : you get this new work for free.

Another way to fight against copyright : let greed go to increased and increased madness, let them copyright ideas, let them copyright words. Then new works will be impossible to copyright, they will have to be released anonymous and for free. Let the world without copyright come from the greed of right holders (or grand-grand-children of copyright holders)

Re:Great book (1, Troll)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267622)

Benefit : you get this new work for free.

I'm not sure how more free-loaders benefits society.

Re:Great book (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267394)

I agree. Lord of the Rings was first published in 1954 and 1955. According to current copyright law (assuming no extensions are passed, which is a huge assumption), the copyright will end in 2049/2050. It's been under copyright for about 56 years already and still has about 39 to go. I know the Tolkien estate profits off of Lord of the Rings, but I don't see how that encourages new works. Yes, we got the LoTR movies, but those could have been made if LoTR passed into the public domain. The only people who would lose out would be the children/grandchildren of JRR Tolkien.

Of course, even worse is Gone With The Wind. It was published in 1936 and is still considered to be under copyright protection 75 years later. We need to wait until 2031 until it enters the Public Domain. Meanwhile, the author, Margaret Mitchell, has been dead for 62 years. Her children (if she had any, I can't find any reference to kids) would be grown up by now with grandkids of their own. Copyright was not intended to be a paycheck for your great-grandkids.

A fair copyright term would be 20 years plus a one time 20 year renewal. (And I'm being generous as I think the ideal would be 14/14.) Under this, Lord of the Rings would have passed into the public domain in 1994/1995. In fact, under this copyright term length, anything published before 1971 would be in the public domain. How many works published prior to 1971 create substantial income for their authors (or their estates)? How many languish in obscurity because no publishing house wants to re-release them and small presses can't secure the rights to print them? How many derivative works could be made from stories that are over 40 years old (thus bringing the originals back into the public light)?

Re:Great book (1)

paziek (1329929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267080)

Sure, but didn't they go a "bit" overboard with it? I mean years after death of the author its still copyrighted? How much does author at that point care or earn money from it? Sure publisher could pay more if he knows he will have copyrights for it for long time and hence profit for longer... but this way we could as well make copyright don't expire at all - even more profit for the "author"! There needs to be drawn a line between ridiculous and artwork users interests. I would rather have copyright expire in no more than 5 years and get spin-offs soon - or at least make "fair use" more broad, so that you can make sequels or alternative versions to existing works without infringing on copyright. I also read that book in Polish and was very surprised its news here on slashdot that it exists. We all are loosing here on some possibly good stuff if copyright won't go back to how it was originally - "Initially copyright law only applied to the copying of books. Over time other uses such as translations and derivative works were made subject to copyright and copyright now covers a wide range of works" - give THAT back.

Re:Great book (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267120)

If there was no copyright, then everyone could simply copy the works of authors and they may not end up being paid for their work. If authors might not be paid for their work, there would be fewer authors.

That's a hell of a lot of hypotheticals in such a short passage. Are you SURE you have evidence to back up your claims? I vaguely recall something about a few millenia of Aristotles, Homers, Shakespeares and Mozarts that seemed to do just fine...

Copyright and patent law are all about making sure the people who did the work are compensated for their work and not ripped off. This helps ensure they will do the work.

Gee, I didn't know it was the government's job to ensure people are getting paid for their work, at least not in any economic regime other than socialism. In a real free market, the authors themselves are responsible for finding ways to get paid, and the internet is now providing them with ample such opportunities to try new business models.

As for patent law, competition and first-mover advantage are more than enough to compensate innovators, which is precisely why those things are held much higher in the capitalist doctrine than any fake monopoly rights anyone can devise.

Re:Great book (3, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267196)

Shakespeare had copy rights for his work!

From the The Oxford companion to Shakespeare [google.com.br]

:

The acting companies for which Shakespeare wrote held the legal copy rights to his manuscripts. Theater historians have traditionally maintained that players were reluctant to allow their plays to be printed, either because they feared losing exclusive acting rights to another company or because they believed that the sale of printed texts might reduce the demand for performances.

I don't know about Mozart.

Re:Great book (2)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267258)

"Modern" copyright came over a hundred years after Shakespeare's death with the Statute of Anne. The "copy rights" you see there were most likely the "queen's licensing rights" that functioned as a form of censorship of what could be printed by the publishers.

Re:Great book (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267634)

Mozart's works were generally commissioned by the wealthy. Without copyright, we'd likely go back to a patronage [wikipedia.org] system, and as a result we'd have significantly fewer books and movies. We'd have theater and music, because actors and musicians could charge audiences to see shows. We'd likely have television because broadcasters could keep shows from being copied until they were shown with ads. Books and movies, however, could be copied and distributed without money going back to the people who produced them.

Re:Great book (2)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267646)

I didn't know it was the government's job to ensure people are getting paid for their work,

You aren't paying attention then:

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA)
Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act (OSHA)
Unemployment Compensation
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

That's just a few for starters.

Re:Great book (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267662)

Gee, I didn't know it was the government's job to ensure people are getting paid for their work, at least not in any economic regime other than socialism.

Here's more from the actual Department of Labor. Sorry, but just because you don't think it's the government's job to ensure people are being compensated fairly doesn't make it so:

http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/main.htm [dol.gov]

And I think you are confusing statism with socialism.

And sorry to double-reply, but your comment truly irks me.

Re:Great book (1)

Nominei (1998390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267174)

Okay... I'll tell you again. If there was no copyright, then everyone could simply copy the works of authors and they may not end up being paid for their work. If authors might not be paid for their work, there would be fewer authors. Copyright and patent law are all about making sure the people who did the work are compensated for their work and not ripped off. This helps ensure they will do the work.

Sure, everyone "could" copy. But would they? Being technically minded as I am, I "could" illegally download just about any ebook I want. However, I buy my ebooks, because I have a real reason to buy - the distribution system is convenient, the price is not exorbitant, and I want to support the author so that he can afford to keep writing (and thus later I get to buy a sequel). I tell you what DOESN'T make me buy books - copyright. Copyright has become a sham law that is only observed by those who are already willing to pay for content, and is blatantly ignored by those who wouldn't pay anyway. Tell me this - why is a book written 61 years ago now a legal bogeyman that stifles the distribution of the creative works of a modern author? Copyright was intended to give a modest protection (originally, 14 years) to an author in a time when there was no means to verify authenticity of creative works. Copyright proponents have turned this into lifetime plus 70 years, so that the children and grandchildren of successful authors can be protected from, what, new authors creating derivative works?

Re:Great book (3, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267248)

>>>If there was no copyright, then everyone could simply copy the works of authors and they may not end up being paid for their work.

They aren't paid now.
Numerous authors have to sue RIAA or MPAA-affiliated companies, just to get paid. Example: The corporation that made Lord of the Rings claimed "we made no profit" and paid the director, scriptwriter, actors, and Tolkien's family nothing. Ditto Titanic and Avatar and Forrest Gump and.....

So explain again how copyright is "good"? These authors would be better off sticking a Paypal button in their books & asking for donations - they'd make more money than the lying asshat corporations pay them.

Re:Great book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267308)

Copyright is necessary to prevent unauthorized copying and selling (well I don't currently really believe that since piracy still exists but let's assume that's so). The problem is that copyright is no longer about doing that. It's about content creators treating works like brands and not letting anyone else play in their sandbox without paying them. I'm all for copyright that stops unauthorized copies but I am against any mechanism that stops others from writing by treating basic concepts and phrases like a trademark. That is especially true for works where the creator has been dead for four decades.

Re:Great book (3, Insightful)

giuseppemag (1100721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267028)

It is published in English for free, and so far no litigations have happened. In this copyright is simply stopping this guy from taking *commercial* advantage of the huge amount of work done in creating the setting for his story.

This said, if they decide to go after this book after all then they should be hanged by their testicles...

Re:Great book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267216)

Hung.

Re:Great book (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267260)

Actually, hanged.

Re:Great book (2)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267356)

I'm "hung" by my testicles, but if you strung me up by my balls, then I'd be "hanged". He was right.

Re:Great book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267274)

That's probably because this is not about copyright at all, but rather about trademarks or some other kind of intellectual property. Intellectual property is not the same as copyright. There are much more to it, but most people seem to be unaware of that and blame it all on copyright... Look up trademarks at Wikipedia, for example. My guess is that it's the biggest problem here (unless he has actually copied parts of Tolkien's texts when writing his own).

Re:Great book (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267036)

Tell me again, how exactly copyright encourages creation of new works?

Guns don't kill people, people do! Leave copyright alone! What has it ever done to you? Look at this wookie! This fluffy, huggable wookie!

Re:Great book (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267276)

No! Video games kill people!

Re:Great book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267182)

Copyright has nothing to do with this because it "does not protect ideas, only their expression" (quote from Wikipedia). Intellectual property is much much more than just copyright... This is most probably an issue with trademarks or similar, rather than copyright. The text seems to be independently written (i.e. not by copying Tolkien's texts), even though it contains ideas, names and themes from Tolkien's famous books. That's completely ok as far as copyright is concerned (no copying, no problem).

Re:Great book (3, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267270)

Quoting Wikipedia: "fear of the vigilant and litigious Tolkien estate has heretofore prevented its publication in English". Tell me again, how exactly copyright encourages creation of new works?

It enables authors to profit, by actually having a market, which encourages publishers to pay authors and authors to write books, without banning any technology -- especially now; without copyright, there'd be not enough profit in publishing books.

After limited times, meaning a short amount of time, the duration of the copyright expires, and new works can be made based on the old work. This is how copyright avoids stifling new works -- old works' copyright expires. This promotes progress in the arts and sciences because there is now not much (if any) profit in rehashing old works.

Promoting progress means encouraging new works, and since copyright protections only apply to new works (that is: works that are so new, that they are still subject to copyright), new works are encouraged.

You basically have 3 choices... (A) Have copyright, (B) Ban sale/possession of electronic/mechanic devices capable of copying or rendering books except by 'licensed publishers' (essentially -- personal computers would be banned), or (C) Have few/no books, because there's no profit un publishing to be made making and selling large books. The few books that could exist would be advertising supported.

Re:Great book (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267354)

After limited times, meaning a short amount of time, the duration of the copyright expires, and new works can be made based on the old work. This is how copyright avoids stifling new works -- old works' copyright expires. This promotes progress in the arts and sciences because there is now not much (if any) profit in rehashing old works.

Is that fantasy or sci-fi?

Re:Great book (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267438)

Is that fantasy or sci-fi?

Eh? It's the supreme law of the land, in the US, it is written into the constitution

Re:Great book (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267502)

Ah, the magnum opus of the great comedic minds of Franklin, Washington, Jefferson et al. Spoiler alert: The words "limited time" were of course added for ironic effect, as they were a reference to "forever minus a day".

Re:Great book (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267314)

. Tell me again, how exactly copyright encourages creation of new works?

What new work? This is just LoTR again.

Sounds about right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35266966)

In 1000s of years of history there has been pretty much no technological progress in Middle Earth. Several 1000s years of civilisation and they are still in the Dark Ages.

Re:Sounds about right (4, Insightful)

varcher (156670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267160)

That's the classical fantasy/SF duality.

Quick-n-dirty how-to distinguish fantasy from science-fiction: It's not about elves vs spaceships. It's about conservatism vs progressivism.

A fantasy book is about preserving/restoring/keeping the old order. Calamity befalls, and it's up to the heroes to repair the world. The tyrant has obtained absolute power, and your task is to topple it and restore the rightful ruler(s). The gods are angry because the people have strayed from the "path" and things go suddendly to hell.

The sci-fi book is transformative. Change happens, and the world progresses. The old ways are discarded, the new ways begins (with their usual lot of gut-wrenching change) and life is transformed.

(and then, you have modern hi-tech thrillers, in which big change happens, except it has no lasting consequences whatsoever. But that's a different topic)

So, intrinsically, the Ring War in which Frodo and his merry band wins is fantasy. The Ring War in which Mordor wins would have been sci-fi.

Re:Sounds about right (2)

Okonomiyaki (662220) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267390)

And the Star War in which a desert planet dirt farmer saves the galaxy is also fantasy.

Re:Sounds about right (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267422)

Quick-n-dirty how-to distinguish fantasy from science-fiction: It's not about elves vs spaceships. It's about conservatism vs progressivism.

A fantasy book is about preserving/restoring/keeping the old order.

I'd think that's a bit of generalisation about fantasy and sci fi both. The literature is a lot more complex than that, I mean look at one of the founding pillars of modern fantasy, Michael Moorcock's Elric series, a hero sets forth specifically to change and modernise the old order. Set against that on the sci-fi side, Star Wars fits perfectly into your description of fantasy. Its much too simple to take broad general view of a vastly wide and varied body of works.

Re:Sounds about right (5, Insightful)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267576)

Set against that on the sci-fi side, Star Wars fits perfectly into your description of fantasy.

A lot of people think (me included) that Star Wars is fantasy.

Re:Sounds about right (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267638)

So, intrinsically, the Ring War in which Frodo and his merry band wins is fantasy. The Ring War in which Mordor wins would have been sci-fi.

I think that's a little too simplistic. LOTR has been tremendously influential and inspired a slew of imitators but there's plenty of fantasy that stabs out in other directions.

The question with this adaptation is whether or not we're supposed to accept the account written in LOTR as in any way truthful. It feels like an exercise in rehabilitating Stalin. I like the idea of presenting a typical fantasy dark lord in a more positive light but I remain skeptical that this could be accomplished with Suaron. that having been said, time to download the text and see how it's done.

totally phuked viewed from a survival scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35266994)

it's already happening. many of our 'illusions' are fading fast. see you on the other side of it? after all of the distressed babies have been accounted/cared for.

Banewreaker (4, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267006)

If y'all are interested in this kind of fiction, Jacqueline Carey did a really good duology on it in her Banewreaker series.

She's mostly known for steamy fantasy/romance novels (the Kushiel series), but she does a very good take on a LOTR-analogue world in which the Sauron equivalent is shown as the good guys. Or not good guys, precisely, but as more or less a guy wanting to be left alone, with the Gandalf-equivalent instigating the "good" races to destroy him in his Mordorish fortress. You really end up hating the good guys by the end of the series. =)

I highly recommend it.

http://www.amazon.com/Banewreaker-Sundering-Book-Jacqueline-Carey/dp/0765305216 [amazon.com]

Re:Banewreaker (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267200)

[quote]If y'all are interested in this kind of fiction, Jacqueline Carey did a really good duology on it in her Banewreaker series.

She's mostly known for steamy fantasy/romance novels (the Kushiel series), but she does a very good take on a LOTR-analogue world in which the Sauron equivalent is shown as the good guys. Or not good guys, precisely, but as more or less a guy wanting to be left alone, with the Gandalf-equivalent instigating the "good" races to destroy him in his Mordorish fortress. You really end up hating the good guys by the end of the series. =)[/quote]

Sounds great, thanks for the tip! :) All too often everything is depicted really black-and-white, with the "good" guys being stainless, righteous, wonderful and adorable beings and the "bad" guys as loathsome bastards with no morals or regard for anyone but themselves. That is actually part of the reason I liked the Watchmen movie too: the "good" guys themselves are quite loathsome and easy to dislike and thus sets quite a different tone for the whole movie. I actually really hope for more movies and books like that.

Re:Banewreaker (-1, Troll)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267366)

>>>the "good" guys being stainless, righteous, wonderful and adorable beings and the "bad" guys as loathsome bastards with no morals or regard for anyone but themselves

This happens in history too.
The WW2 allies were hardly virtuous, what with fire-bombing of innocent civilians, blowing-up of dams that destroyed villagers, imprisonment of those who were anti-war (in violation of free speech rights), and throwing minority Americans into death camps for the crime of having german/japanese grandparents. In fact a lot of the Nazi propaganda was simply copied from the Allies' example during WW1.

Oh no.
I'm about to be modded 'troll' for speaking the truth to power, and people don't want to hear the truth. (shrug)

Re:Banewreaker (5, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267418)

>>The WW2 allies were hardly virtuous, what with fire-bombing of innocent civilians

It's not that simple.

Hamburg, for example, was partly in retaliation for Coventry earlier in the war. But Hitler only took the gloves off and started targeting civilians after the RAF started dropping bombs on German civilians. Why did the RAF target civilians, when the (evil) Nazis were refraining? Because the Luftwaffe had radar navigation, but the RAF thought they had the skill to astronavigate accurately enough to put bombs onto military targets. They didn't.

Then you could get into the whole Battle of the Beams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Beams), and whether it was ethical to redirect German bombers onto English farmhouses...

>>throwing minority Americans into death camps for the crime of having german/japanese grandparents

I don't think you know what the words "death camps" actually mean.

Re:Banewreaker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267556)

>>throwing minority Americans into death camps for the crime of having german/japanese grandparents<<

I don't think you know what the words "death camps" actually mean.


indeed, he clearly does not...

Re:Banewreaker (5, Informative)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267554)

You're about to be modded troll for this bit:

throwing minority Americans into death camps for the crime of having german/japanese grandparents.

It's untrue as it is offensive. My grandfather, an off the boat German immigrant from the early 30's, joined the US Marines and fought during the war. His family was not rounded up into camps.

And death camps? Seriously? While the Japanese internment camps were indeed an atrocious violation of basic civil rights, they were limited to the West coast, and had living conditions a fair sight better than some other contemporary 'death' camps.

I get your point, soldiers on both sides did some pretty horrible things. But implying that we were not better than governments engaged in active genocide is inflammatory. And as an American, incredibly offensive.

Re:Banewreaker (1, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267566)

Ooo...good troll. Totally off-topic and guaranteed to get a number of furious responses. *golf clap*

Re:Banewreaker (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267462)

Sounds great, thanks for the tip! :) All too often everything is depicted really black-and-white, with the "good" guys being stainless, righteous, wonderful and adorable beings and the "bad" guys as loathsome bastards with no morals or regard for anyone but themselves. That is actually part of the reason I liked the Watchmen movie too: the "good" guys themselves are quite loathsome and easy to dislike and thus sets quite a different tone for the whole movie. I actually really hope for more movies and books like that.

Yeah. The Comedian was especially repulsive, yet oddly compelling in his own way.

In the Banewreaker series, the "bad guys" are sympathetic, but they're hardly perfect, or ethical paragons. Actually, the only people on Team Evil that are relatively blameless are the orc- or troll-analogues, who are sort of a tribal people that have a tradition of art, etc., but have been driven out by the "good races" around the world, with only the Sauron-analogue sympathizing with them and giving them a place to live.

Anyhow, send me a message some time and tell me what you think of it. Even among my friends that read a lot of fantasy novels, not many people have heard of it, but I think it is exceptionally well done.

Re:Banewreaker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267580)

I second this.
The books of the Sundering: Banewreaker and Godslayer are really, really good.
Sort of LotR in reverse, but without putting an overly strong emphasis on that.
The books stand on their own, you don't have to be a LotR fan to appreciate them.
If you are it just adds another, very neat, dimension to the books.

Re:Banewreaker (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267602)

That is actually part of the reason I liked the Watchmen movie too: the "good" guys themselves are quite loathsome and easy to dislike and thus sets quite a different tone for the whole movie. I actually really hope for more movies and books like that.

Well, now I know why Watchmen did not do very well. Most people want to go to movies for escapism. They want to like the protagonists and dislike the antagonists. I agree with that. When I read or watch fiction, I want to like the protagonist. He/she does not have to be "stainless, righteous, wonderful and adorable", but they do need to be likable and overall a better person than the antagonist.

Glen Cook is another (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267432)

where good and evil can sometimes swap places in the minds of the reader if not the populace in the story. Many of his books were recently reprinted in large paper back format making the stories accessible to many. His The Black Company series is a great story where the mercenaries start working for the bad guys but eventually end up for working for the good guys and even team up again with the bad guys. A nice back and forth. The one good point throughout is that being the good guys doesn't mean your not just as rotten as the bad guys, they can even be worse at times as justification comes from not being the other side.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Company [wikipedia.org]

http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Black-Company-Glen-Cook/dp/0765319233/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1298297648&sr=1-2 [amazon.com]

Interesting usenet:rec.arts.sf.written analysis (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267092)

Available here:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written/msg/697476f4e92d2483?dmode=source&output=gplain [google.com]

>Seriously though, I have read Yeskov's novel some ten years ago, when it was
>officially published in Poland. It caused a great turmoil among die-hard
>Tolkien's fans, who considered it "blasphemous" - not because of the
>copyright issue, but because the good and the evil were so thoroughly
>reverted there. Those who remember Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples" should
>understand what I mean. Personally, I liked the book, but this reversal of
>well-established stereotypes is its main merit. Without any references to
>Middle-Earth it would have been just a second-rate spy story/political
>thriller, like the many clones of Frederick Forsyth.

For my part, I'd rather read a first-rate spy story / political thriller, irregardless of the trappings or lack thereof.

irregardless is slang (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267468)

The correct usage is regardless. I'm not doing it to correct you, just to reach the millions of kids who might be harmed by reading your post.

It might be a good book... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267112)

I was a little unsure whether the author of the article had read the books due to the "Sauron is a giant eye-lighthouse". She goes on to talk about how the book is more a book in its own right than fan fiction but if the author bases their knowledge on the subject by the Peter Jackson films then the validity of her opinion is in question.

Life imitates art (4, Funny)

NoZart (961808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267116)

If that is not the best practical "in soviet russia..." joke, i don't know what is.

Re:Life imitates art (3, Funny)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267242)

In Soviet Mordor, the ring disappears you.

From-the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267154)

"Eye-of-the-beholder"-dept?

=)

I've always thought... (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267168)

... that there should be more of these stories taken from the point-of-view of different characters. Wicked was incredibly clever, as was Ender's Shadow. I'd also like to see it done with movies. Perhaps an action film from the 'villain's' POV, or maybe it could follow a civilian who gets screwed over by every car chase and explosion.

Re:I've always thought... (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267256)

Grendel by John Gardner is a brilliant re-telling of Beowulf from Grendel's point of view. Very deep. Nihilism, Solipsism. I highly recommend it if you're looking for a "from the villain's POV" with some philosophical, uhh, "isms."

Re:I've always thought... (1)

EMCEngineer (1155139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267486)

I would like to see more literature like this, but it is so often terribly done. Wicked was really bad. It's like he wrote a novel, then in the last 50 pages had to ignore the entire book up to that point just to fit it with the previous work. The Broadway show was much more enjoyable.

Re:I've always thought... (1)

stjobe (78285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267598)

Wicked was, indeed, wickedly clever. I also very much enjoyed Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman. While not retelling a well-known story from the PoV of the antagonist, it is a role-reversal where the classical antagonist is the books protagonist (the book is written from the perspective of a super-villain).

Please (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267176)

Will someone please do this for Twilight from the view of Victoria? My *ahem* daughter needs more reading material....

Re:Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267232)

(off-topic) I saw "Loading..." at the bottom corner of my eye and in my mind I was thinking that it was loading more comments. Well played good sir, well played...

Re:Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267264)

Yeah, it's my testament to the new and, in my view, slower design.

Re:Please (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267290)

Woops, logged me out.

Re:Please (1)

snookiex (1814614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267322)

That would be something like: "Most prominent gay community members joined in a R&D crusade to make human's skin shinny and healthy while group of troglodytes can't stand their beauty and begin to hunt them down". OK, Victoria is not involved but I couldn't resist.

Re:Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267410)

Will someone please do this for Twilight from the view of Victoria? My *ahem* daughter needs more reading material....

The only victims in twilight are its readers.

Do you like this kind of fiction? (0)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267236)

[i]The Iron Dream is a metafictional 1972 alternate history novel by Norman Spinrad.

The book has a nested narrative that tells a story within a story. On the surface, the novel presents an unexceptional pulp, post-apocalypse science fiction action tale entitled Lord of the Swastika. However, this is a pro-fascist narrative written by an alternate-history Adolf Hitler, who in this timeline emigrated from Germany to America in 1919 after the Great War, and used his modest artistic skills to become first a pulp-science fiction illustrator and later a successful science fiction writer, telling lurid, purple-prosed adventure stories under a thin SF-veneer.[/i]
[Wikipedia]

Motorcycles, leather clothes, genetically pure heroes against the mutant scum. Rise to power and noble leadership! ...yep, the story inside the story is utter crap, the kind of utter crap Hitler could have written. And then the "critique" foreword and afterword really put this in perspective...

Don't get it wrong. This is not a pro-Nazi book. This is a work of satire, the high-quality kind of satire that is hard to distinguish from the real thing, unless you really dig under the surface.

80% of the length? Volume or book? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267272)

The Lord of The Rings is 6 books, often published as 3 volumes. The Fellowship of the Ring is the name of both Book 2 and Volume 1.

Sidequels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267282)

It's called a sidequel, there's fan sites for Star Wars that deal with these a lot. Here's one that uses the toys to tell stories about auxiliary characters with the backdrop of the actual films:

http://www.photonovelalliance.com

Stories about like imperial officers, jedi during the clone wars, conscripted storm troopers, etc.

Sounds like a great idea (1)

Chucky_M (1708842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267326)

I had wondered why that scheming little hobbit was allowed to run around with stolen property and why nobody locked them all up and threw away the key. About time the truth came out and we start treating hobbits and wizards with the scorn they deserve promoting of course the sheer kindness of the Ork.

Oblig. Scooby Doo references (1)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267348)

"Cripes. Sauron is really Old Man Withers!"

"And I would have got away with it, if it wasn't for you pesky meddling kids. Oh, wait, you're hobbits, not kids."

This is art imitating life! (0)

Are You Kidding (1734126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267368)

If you want this kind of fiction on a daily basis, just watch Fox "News"

Meme collision (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267406)

In Soviet Russia, Mordor does not simply walk into you.

The Black Book of Arda (2)

alendit (1454311) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267412)

A rewrite of the Silmarillion (LotR background story) from Melkor's perspective http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Arda [wikipedia.org] .

Bonus: it preserves the spirit of the original a little bit better than the Last Ring-bearer, IMHO.

No idea, if there is an actual English translation, though.

Moral relativism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267470)

I haven't read the book, which is probably excellent. But I get annoyed that people do think everything is a matter of perspective. The Lord of the Rings was about Hitler and he was a bad guy. Sure in the US we had our internment camps and that was wrong. Sure we dropped the atomic bomb and that was wrong. But at the same time Hitler had the holocaust and he had to be stopped.

It's like on CNN when they're just listening to lies and nodding. No. Just because someone believes in a cause (genocide) doesn't make it OK.

Re:Moral relativism (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267640)

Tolkien said it's not about Hitler, nor about Stalin.

"However, in 1961, Tolkien sharply criticized a Swedish commentator who suggested that The Lord of the Rings was an anti-communist parable and identified the Dark Lord with Stalin. Tolkien retorted,
"I utterly repudiate any such 'reading', which angers me. The situation was conceived long before the Russian revolution. Such allegory is entirely foreign to my thought."[92]"

Wikipedia

Another Download Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267530)

It would seem, at least from my perspective, that the download link, from sendspace, given in the original blog does not work correctly.
So I searched around and found another copy on mediafire. http://www.mediafire.com/?82xn3qkue3iu12a

What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267536)

But the movie showed that when Sauron was defeated, everyone of his side got devoured. (Not the book, I know) Besides, where was the philosophy or progress in Mordor? They relied on magic just as much as the "good" guys. You had the grunt warriors, diseased trolls as captains and then the evil wizard helping Sauron.
The story should have been told from the view of Tom Bombadill. (sp) Now that would be interesting.

Re:What?? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267594)

The story should have been told from the view of Tom Bombadill. (sp) Now that would be interesting.

A year long 60s era hippie LSD trip in the forest?

Meh (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35267574)

It's not much different that current attempts to re-write history. But I digress. I find a Russian re-write interesting. As if to say, "You've all misunderstood the former Soviet Republic!?" Could be something subliminal.

Livejournal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35267648)

Is the free pdf download actually hosted by livejournal? If not, why do all the links point there, and could someone please post a direct link to it without the pesky social networking site in the way?

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