×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Atlas of Middle Earth

JonKatz posted more than 12 years ago | from the the-geography-of-J.R.R.-Tolkien dept.

News 307

J.R.R.Tolkien succeeded both in creating fabulous new worlds and rendering them utterly believable. Reading his trilogy has become a rite of passage for many in several generations. An updated atlas of Middle -Earth provides a definitive guide through hundreds of maps and drawings. (In advance of the movie Lord of The Rings scheduled for release in December, we'll be writing and talking about the trilogy itself as well as other works the original books have inspired.)

If you really want to know what Middle-earth is based on, it's my wonder and delight in the earth as it is," Tolkien told an interviewer, "particularly the natural earth." He also wanted to provide a new, Brit-centric mythology for the world, so he took the literal earth and changed it just enough to make it "faerie."

With the cinematic trilogy of his books under production -- three separate films are scheduled for release over the next two years -- Middle Earth is going mainstream. These films will probably be nearly as big as Star Wars, if they're half as good, touching mythological and creative nerves that revolve around what we like to call science fiction in its varied forms.

As is often the case with culture The Lord Of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion -- provided comfort, stimulation, and escape for a particular sub-set of the human species, especially young, enchanted brainiacs growing up apart from the mainstream and eager -- desperate, maybe -- for other worlds to explore.

If you want to enter Tolkien's world, the best way is to read The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the The Silmarillion. For hard-core Tolkien lovers who have already done that, I'd highly recommend -- there's plenty of time before the first movie in December -- The Atlas of Middle-Earth (Houghton Mifflin), by Karen Wynn Fonstad, a University of Wisconsin cartographer who has drafted unbelievably detailed maps of Middle Earth from the First Age through the Third, including thematic and other maps, guides, places and events (the mapping of the The Silarillion is astounding).

Tolkien created the details of Middle Earth for himself, for his own creativity and intellectual exercise. He was, Fonstad writes, envisioning his world much as our medieval cartographers viewed our own.

Fonstad's descriptions of the pain-staking process she used to create these hundreds of details maps are almost as interesting as the stories upon which they're based. The atlas is a composite of the physical surface with the imprint of the "Free Peoples." A number of basic map types are included -- the physical, including landforms, minerals, and climate; the political (spheres of influence); battles; migrations (closely tied with linguistics); the traveller's pathways and finally, situation maps -- towns and dwellings, all arranged roughly in sequence. Fonstad even includes detailed pathway tables -- the distance Frodo spent on his pony on dozens of trips, the length of marches, the treks of elves, the flights of refugees.

Fonstad concedes that an almost endless series of questions, assumptions and interpretations were necessary in creating these maps. But each line has been drawn with a reason behind it, she says. And she explains the reasoning.

Middle Earth was the creation of a world, and is deserving of its own geography. Fonstad's atlas is well and clearly written, even for the casual fan of Tolkien. And the hundreds of maps she created offers a new prism through which to look at these works. This is by no means a book for everybody, and even die-hard fans of the trilogy might ask why they need to know so much. The hard-core fanatic will know.


You can purchase this book at Fatbrain.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

307 comments

Da man strikes again (-1, Offtopic)

Haxxor Extraordinair (517309) | more than 12 years ago | (#2229974)

fp bitches

Re:Da man strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230002)

Looks like God's finally fed up [bbc.co.uk] with the sinful life on the east coast.

About time I say.

Re:Da man strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230035)

Let's see if GWBs missile defense shield can stop that one...

Re:Da man strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230295)

So how long until some "unstable" country flies some suicide types out to one of these islands with a few thousand pounds of their favorite explosive?

Do we go after the BBC for giving them the idea?

Re:Da man strikes again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230114)

I am the Great Cornholio!

Are you threatening me?!

Atlas (2, Informative)

vacamike (248725) | more than 12 years ago | (#2229994)

I bought the Atlas about three years back and loved it. The Atlas contains amazing detail and history. I especially liked how it contained topography of not only middle earth during the time that the trilogy is set in but also maps from the Silmarillion's time.
Well worth the money in my opinion.

Re:Atlas (1)

littlecherub (310670) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230021)

I am just reading the trilogy for the first time (I know and I'm sorry) and was given the atlas at the same time. It is excellent and having the maps infront of me has really helped me understand what's going on and what's the big deal. I'd say a must for first timers and die hard fans alike.

Maybe it's just me ... (1)

Microsift (223381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2229996)

but when you say "middle earth" I think Magma...

Re:Maybe it's just me ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230072)

It is just you. go away.

What cmdrtaco does in his spare time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2229999)

What cmdrtaco does in his spare time:

|
|
| MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
|
| _______
| / \
| / O |
| (___ |
|________________\ |
| |
| |
__________ | |
/ __/ |
/ | |
___/ \_______/
| / |
| / |
| / |
| | |
| | |
| | |

(sorry it's not that great, i'm kind of new at ascii art)

Re:What cmdrtaco does in his spare time (1)

manon (112081) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230054)

Well, maybe at ascii art, but it seems that you know what you're drawing about. Maybe you can make some on topic art...

I for one am going to give the book some of my time.

why am I seeing this shit ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230001)

I have jon 'ripoff artist' katz filtered out and I'm still seeing his filth ... Nice upgrade slashdot .. this is fucken stupid. Katz reviews/articles whatever you call the filth is worthless dung. And now my cache is filling up with his worthless drivel, someone please say this is just a nightmare and I'll wake up from it.

So we'll have a "Lord of the Rings" topic on /.? (4, Interesting)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230007)

Whaddya say, CmdrTaco?

MOD PARENT UP (2)

Mr. Neutron (3115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230086)

This is actually a good idea. LOTR is much more deserving of a topic icon than, say, Star Wars.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

Gatton (17748) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230197)

If for no other reason that there will be so much LOTR news over the next two years. It would make it easier for people who aren't interested in LOTR to exclude this topic in their preferences.

Re:So we'll have a "Lord of the Rings" topic on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230195)

PLease, for the love of christ, make this a topic so I can set it to not display.. I need something to help me ignore all of these fanboys.

COULD IT BE, is it possibl;e (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230013)

That this is an FP ?

Re:COULD IT BE, is it possibl;e (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230148)

No. Now go kill yourself. Oh, and have a nice day. :)

Other works... (1)

rcriii (171606) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230014)

we'll be writing and talking about the trilogy itself as well as other works the original books have inspired.

Katz is going to re-interpret Tolkein now? No doubt with particular attention to such groundbreaking authors as Merceded Lackey...

sigh...

Robert

Re:Other works... (1)

Loligo (12021) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230066)

>No doubt with particular attention to such
>groundbreaking authors as Merceded Lackey...

You give him too much credit.

I would expect him to focus more on such "authors" as Terry Brooks.

>heave

-l

Ultimate Tolkien Reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230017)

Check out 'A Tolkien Bestiary' by David Day. With an A to Z of every creature, person and thing in Middle Earth and the Undying Lands, as well as a complete history of both continents, and illustrtated histories of pre-Silmarillion events, the tale of the Silmarrillion, the Hobbit and LOTR. All beautifully illustrated by some of the best Tolkien inspired artists. Fa-han-tastic.

I have this book! (4, Informative)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230020)

I have had this book for at least five years now, and I have to agree with Katz on this one. It is really detailed (far more detailed than I could have imagined just reading Tolkien's books), and offers a lot of help when reading through Tolkien's books, especially the Silmarillion. I'm a die-hard Tolkien fan (just got The Hobbit millenium edition, and the Lord of the Rings is on the way!), so I'm very familiar with the history and imagery of Middle-Earth, but the Atlas reviewed here really does justice to the series. It might be interesting to note that Karen Wynn Fonstad has done lots of other fiction cartography work for other popular book series' out there (I think D&D and other related stuff), so she's pretty good at giving the fantastical flair to her work (at least I think so). Get this book and reread through the Silmarillion. It's a much better read with maps like this in hand (The Silmarillion maps do take up approximately 1/2 of the Atlas of Middle Earth - IIRC).

Re:I have this book! (2)

Psiren (6145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230207)

I couldn't get on with Tolkien for just this reason. Well, that and the fact that I found the whole thing very boring (I'm more of a sci-fi fan than fantasy). In my opinion if you need additional visual material in order to make sense of the story then it doesn't work as a book. I never have any problem visualizing the worlds that Clarke, Bear et al create though.

Price is $16.80 at Amazon (1)

Aapje (237149) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230024)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0618126996/ 102-7400559-9156934

How about posting a book review for _adults_? (0, Troll)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230027)

Don't you think it's time to grow up? I know you people think sci-fi-fantasy is the most engaging form of entertainment available, and real literature is kinda fruity, but I'm sick of being marginalised by your unenlightened attitudes.

The Lord of the Rings is widely considered to have been the most shallow and unimpressive work of fiction of the previous century. To the literary community, it represents mediocrity. It is a children's story, and I have no respect for any adult who reads it. Eminem has more depth.

Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230041)

How about writing a book review and submitting it?

Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230073)

you sir, are a ho

Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (1)

DnA Works (147387) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230082)

You are obviously a troll but I'll respond anyway. I am unsure as to whom you refer when you write that LoTR is "widely considered to have been the most shallow and unimpressive work of fiction of the previous century". Do you have anything to back that up, other than such *impeccable* sources as The New Yorker or your own rectum?

As for it being a "children's story" you could be correct, although I doubt it. It does take an extremely limited intellect to disparage a story based solely on its audience - for example, the Taran Wanderer series are designed for young adults but are occasionally used in university courses as examples of modern Morality stories. Refusing to respect someone who enjoys, let alone *reads*, a particular book is puerile and not very intelligent. I guess any Poli Sci student reading Mien Kampf is a Nazi, according to that logic, eh?

Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230084)

Pft...

Grow up dude... It is up to ME and not morons like YOU and the "literary community" to descide wich books are good and wicha are not...

One more thing: Learn how to think for your self dude...

Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (-1, Offtopic)

core10k (196263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230142)

Psha. You're the troll. That other guy was just a setup. You even managed to fuck up the ellipses (sp?).



Pft...



Grow up dude... It is up to ME and not morons like YOU and the "literary community" to descide wich books are good and wicha are not...

One more thing: Learn how to think for your self dude ...


Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (1)

Grahf666 (118413) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230097)

It's been voted the best book of the century by quite an number of people. And plus, the Silmarillion is way above a "childs" head (in writing style alone).

Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (1)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230120)

most shallow and unimpressive

It is a children's story

Such harsh, words from somebody with a nick like "The ultimate badass". How old are you? Have you read the books to form your own opinion? You say it is widely considered... but what do YOU consider it. And one can only gather their opinion after reading the book(s). I could spew on my soap-box for days as to why the books are great, but I dont expect people to take that for granted without reading the books themselves. I suggest you open one up and start reading. Its called imagination.

_14k4 - poorheart.com [poorheart.com]

Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (1)

Konovalev (316879) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230126)

I though, at first, that this was a troll. Then I checked the posting time (11:27 am)and realised that it must be an Olog-hai. No troll would be active in sunlight.

Yes, dammit, I am a Tolkein nerd!

Re:How about posting a book review for _adults_? (1)

dtr21 (120759) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230137)

As someone who had never read any of Tolkien's works until about 6 weeks ago, and who is an adult (22) I feel qualified to reply to this.

I took "The Lord of the Rings" on holiday with me. I read it in 7 days. It was *so* gripping that I could not put it down - and I spent until 6am on many of those nights fighting back tiredness to read "just one more chapter"

I'm not much of a person for fiction - whilst I read avidly, you're more likely to catch me reading books on physics, programming, system administration, and similar. (The year before I took "Programming Perl" on holiday with me :) So this was the first work of fiction I'd read in about 18 months.

I had almost forgotten how much fun Science Fiction was. And the skill with which he conveyed the sense of Fear when Minas Timor (if I remember the name correctly - apologies if I don't) was being attacked was very effective.

A few months ago, I might almost have agreed with you - and would have dismissed fiction altogether. I'm very glad I didn't. Re-kindling my imagination, my desire to explore, and my love of an adventure is something I'm very glad I did. I'm now egerly waiting my next break :)

And I am very loathe to allow "The Lord of the Rings" to be dismissed as "Mediocre". A book that gave me so much pleasure will surely do so to many others - and I heartily recommend it to everyone

unenlightened? (1)

insomnyuk (467714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230299)

unenlightened. You are in no position to tell people who are most likely smarter than you that they are "unenlightened"
(Inigo Montoya voice) I do not think you are using that word correctly. I do not think it means what you think it means.

How does one become enlightened? And yes, the Hobbit is a childrens story, but wouldn't that make it all the more appropriate for you?

Troll turf war claims three (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230029)

[MSNBC]--

The ongoing turf war among troll warlords has claimed three more trolls today, said Brigadier General John Big Boote, head of the UN peacekeeping forces on slashdot. "The breakdown in civil order since the introduction of slascode 2.2 has left a power vacuum, and now these trolllords are moving to fill that vacuum" Gen. Boote continued. "This is worse tha Somolia in '93 -- or the Congo in 1996" Gen. Boote said. "Hell, with the exception of Egypt and Lybia, all of Africa is a festering hellhole of AIDS, cannablism and Chineese AK-47s" Boote said.

Among the causualties in the recent chaos was "Stephen King found dead". Authorities cofirmed that this promising up and coming troll was found dead in an alley last Tuesday. "The poor bastard never saw it coming" said coroner John Thomas. "He was gang-raped by a mob of hearless annonymous cowards over in a story about the DMCA" coroner Thomas said. "At first it was the usual beating the dead horse troll, but once that mob got ahold of it, they just posted it to every damn story. That's what is so pernicious in this mimetic warfare being waged across the pages of slashdot these days. Once a troll reaches a certain degree of public recognition, it becomes public property, unlike copyright" said Thomas. Another such casualty of late was the "BSD is dying" troll.

In related news, the "I WILL KICK YOUR ASS" troll has not been seen recently, and is presumed to have been killed in the bomb blast at Patrick "Shithook" Bateman's compound. The notorious trolllord, Cmdr. CYIaBCoX SUYA, leader of the anti-Beowulf-cluster troll resistance claimed responsiblity for the blast. Speaking from his headquarters under the 57th street bridge, Cmdr. SUYA expressed regret that his mentor "I WILL KICK YOUR ASS" may have succumbed in the attempt on the Beowulf cluster stronghold. "But," contiued Cmdr. SUYA, "no price is to high to pay if we can rid slashdot of the scourage of Beowulf cluster trolls."

In political news, the Annoymous Coward ASCII art front stated that it will continued carpet bombing discussion threads until Cmdr. Taco ends ethnic cleansing against trolls and repudiates the lameness filter. Cmdr. Taco was quoted as responding to the news with a long tirade about freedom of speech, but only for people who happen to run their own website. For a full account of the sppech, see page eight.

Re:Troll turf war claims three (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230175)

_o=[STEAL,-]=vo__
?/$=LIE, CHEAT%%R$~\
.%?/' `""$$,
,/E/' /-"^\. .-=~\T,
,/C/' /\666`| |666- ,??
./S/' `\$$$p' `$$$/|,i\.
,*T? `" ""' `b'\\$$%%\.
,-A' `%:`H' "%7, .__
._. -S| . `*\H, `%13S:7|
|13?? Y|, ,--%|\ `%?b ""://'
.,o--vo\,PJ'H|, -|L ``'"69b ,-`?\ ,%%'
,C?-"" ==:=' ||b `L9, `H`%, dsd 64
|?:!|| ,P% 123 as s ds /5 6
`O?\ 9/? ??H, |L *b.,'"\ :$:% *]'
`CA\o. */\. ??*b. 9. `\\:(| .,/$6d' |N|
`INE\\ `\7b. ,To?%b. \(\:-.-S:-~=-"'',P U-'
`\?*b ?%%\. d\|[_ `\o_ `%SANG-0Y#:]\.|,%' |F:
`\SE\ ``\?\d|/`4RM|:~:$=v\. `$k[S%M`-$$?%J' |'''
`X?\. `\b/HEMP.IS.GOD;P\\ `"^-^-?b=Sd' |E|
_o~=~$EX]==v\.??\, `\d `KILL!:-':-?]:"=\ooo/=/$$~?$\ ,R/
./$?~^'"""""`"\\%%[ ?b "`~$-:c: /v==v,#::?[[%:'T| A$/
[|:. ""=CR%. ,- o%Z'`'.##| |MH\|| ,S$$'
`=:KILL\. `ACK-. .-' 69*.-v.:?/`\==$SANG*'
`^YO\. `*%*\\ ,S ?~-~' |$$$-'
`UR\ ,T/\%%\. /A |T'
\Pb .%J' `\] 'T -,
A`L /|| ?A G,
|R9 J\T N R,
E|| ||/ |- E,
|N| PJ' |L `E
-T, ||T |O |D
-S| H|| `V |
%-, A| E, 9
`L9, T| `S. |
`?*,E|| `- d
`\?(|H. `Y ?b
`*\ `%. `O. J*|M
`\o/\. `U. ,P 9/U
69%. `!\ ?? `/R.
*13\ `! .%' |D|
`|`\. `D ./' `|E
d\/qZbo. R NCE' ,|R
./MEtaLLica' `"=H$| U .OLE' J\|
,*/'' `\? `' ./G-v=="*bVI ,$P
,Td ,$$S`' ?|| ,$/
J|| ,$?/ S|| ?$/
M|| |]\. ._,~69'' E|| d'M.
9`| `GunsN'Roses"' ./X-| `^"\Z\.
||M `=Z\:"" I|!" `%x]v_
bT, .. v,?|\ S|| .:Z|%\.
||H _oZ??v~]`d9H| `FUN ?$ `#'H
9DEATH~IS~COOL$/ `@$#\ ,oZzY 6| %/'
\?$.:?PCP/*""' `%EHT_ |\-HATE!!!/'
`"""' `' `~?LIVED!:',p#/'

ascii spork

ps- barney is evil

And the 3,107,234th tree has 11,295,318 leaves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230030)

If the atlas is as over-wrought and painfully detailed as the 'The Lord of the Rings' it will have to be a tome the size of an unabridged dictionary and include accurate and detailed accounts of the number of trees per square meter and an inventory of the leaves on each. Perhaps even a soil and ground water analysis.

Cool! (4, Funny)

Stormie (708) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230045)

It's always great to discover a new author, and now that Katz has told me about this Tolkein chap, I'll be certain to check out some of his books! I'm a little surprised that this "Lord Of The Rings" book is out already, though, normally novelisations aren't released until after the film hits the cinemas..


Re:Cool! (2)

Stormie (708) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230069)

p.s. I doubt that this "Lord Of The Rings" movie will be half as good as Star Wars, I don't think that anyone can create as detailed and richly rendered a world as the "galaxy far far away". Rumour has it that George Lucas spent years working on star charts, alien races, even alien languages! before ever penning a word of the Star Wars screenplay. I'm sure Middle Earth is quite simplistic compared to such background detail..

Re:Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230121)

Tolkien sure spent a lot of time on his world, and he did work on languages too. Actually, his elven language have strucutre, words, grammar and all. i've heard of people learning it, and being able to speak it (i don't know how far they went)

Re:Cool! (2)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230183)

I agree with Captain Frisk that this appears to be a bad take-off on a bad parody of a flame-baiting troll, but it is amazing how many readers of fantasy (even high-quality fantasy) don't know (a) how much modern fantasy owes to JRRT and TLOTR (b) how incredibly detailed the world of TLORT is in terms of history, politics, economy, etc.

After I gave my 10 y.o. LOTR, his first comment was "it's a lot like Redwall". It took me a while to convince him that LOTR came first, and that without it Redwall probably wouldn't exist. (Luckily he saw the light and now counts RotK as one of his favorite books).

Similarly, while George Lucas acknowledges many sources for SW:ANH, Tolkein is not least among them.

sPh

Re:Cool! (2)

Stormie (708) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230222)

I agree with Captain Frisk that this appears to be a bad take-off on a bad parody of a flame-baiting troll

Actually, it was intended as a sarcastic rejoinder to Katz's breathless "I've just discovered this kewl new piece of 'sci-fi' which might, just might, be almost as good as Star Wars!" tone. I wasn't seriously trolling, although it does seem that I got a few bites.

but it is amazing how many readers of fantasy (even high-quality fantasy) don't know (a) how much modern fantasy owes to JRRT and TLOTR

Truly. Although I disagree with the common line of reasoning that if [some work of fantasy] would not be around without Tolkien's pioneering, it follows that [some work of fantasy] must necessarily be an inferior work.

(b) how incredibly detailed the world of TLORT is in terms of history, politics, economy, etc.

..sadly combined with incredibly weakly realized characters and horrible dialog..

It took me a while to convince him that LOTR came first, and that without it Redwall probably wouldn't exist.

What's a Redwall?

Similarly, while George Lucas acknowledges many sources for SW:ANH, Tolkein is not least among them.

Don't tell Katz that! Lucas is influenced by nothing other than his own godlike intellect and creativity! SW is 100% original! Also, don't tell him that the hobbits aren't really a metaphor for the oppressed geeks of the earth, bullied by the orcs (=jocks), Sauron (=Bill Gates) and Saruman (="The Man") !!

Re:Cool! (2)

cnkeller (181482) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230187)

I don't think that anyone can create as detailed and richly rendered a world as the "galaxy far far away".

You're kidding right? Lucas has nothing on Tolkein. I'm assuming you read LOTR right? And The Hobbit? And the Simarillion? And Lost Tales (Volumes 1- whatever they are up to now? And the Atlas's? You get my point.

Lucas actually created very little, it's all those other people that are writing books like I, Jedi etc. They are the ones populating the Star Wars universe, not Lucas. It was my understanding that Lucas intentionally left things vague so that he would retain ultimate control over what goes on in the universe. What happens to all these Bantam Publishing boots when the next movie starts contridicting what happened? I always wonder if Lucas signed off on Luke becoming a dark Jedi...

Get it at Amazon (3, Informative)

throx (42621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230053)

Go to Amazon - it's $16.80 there as opposed to $19.20 at Fatbrain.

Re:Get it at Amazon (1)

kootch (81702) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230139)

or just go to your neighborhood library and pick up the well-worn copy that probably exists there.

Not seen this one... (2)

spiralx (97066) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230056)

... but I do have the Forgotten Realms atlas at home by Fonstad, and I have to say it's lovely. The maps contain an incredible amount of detail and are amazingly easy to read considering, and it's a pleasure to have maps that haven't been drawn by the author with little triangles for mountains :)

Also the maps depicting important scenes from the books really serve to make things clearer, especially during confusing scenes which occur over wide or tangled geographical areas. I can only imagine the effort that went into making these as consistent as possible with the books, especially in this case as the author cannot be contacted...

I'm not a huge Tolkien fan, but I might get this anyway just to look through. Maps are great, and I wish there were more books like this for all my favourite worlds :)

Never read them... should I? (2)

Rackemup (160230) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230057)

I've never read the LOTR books, first time I even heard of them was when everyone started going ape-shit over the movies in development.

I browsed the summaries on Amazon but i havent really felt the urge to buy the series. I like Sci-Fi (trek, B5, etc) but some fantasy novels just try too hard and end up making me bored. Should I even try to make it through LOTR?

You lucky person, you... (2)

meckardt (113120) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230131)

You are in the wonderful position of still being able to read TLOR for the first time. Yes, some fantasy novels do try to hard... but not these. Tolkien produced the original. All the others are just trying to recreate his masterpiece.

Absolutely...and here's why: (5, Insightful)

tarsi210 (70325) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230143)

Tolkien is to fantasy what Plato was to philosophy: a pioneer, a definer, a methodologist. Although parts of LOTR are, frankly, boring (although they are few and nicely bounded by excitement), Tolkien has done an amazing job at making a fantasy world.

The word "world" here not only encompasses the environment in which the characters live and interact, but the entirety of the existence of all characters. If any one character may know about a certain place, event, or person, that object is not only mentioned but defined, elaborated, and links seamlessly into the other aspects of the world.

Good fantasy has very few inconsistencies in the history and events of the worlds, as well as personal interactions, race definitions, language definitions and modes, and cultural aspects. Tolkien, being a linguist, was primarily interested in the language aspect of his worlds and so you can find extensive studies and documents of the Elven languages, as well as Dwarven and such. There are quite a few people in the world who speak one of the Elven languages Tolkien created, just because they were done so well!

LOTR is a must-read for any sci-fi/fantasy lover, if nothing else for the simple fact that it is a definitive book in the genre. And if you're fortunate, like myself, it will become one of your favorite novels of all time. I distinctly remember crying at the end of the first read of LOTR, not so much because I was empathizing with the characters, but because I didn't want the story to ever end.

Re:Never read them... should I? (2)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230144)

Since LOTR is the archetype for the majority of today's quest based fantasy (which is not to say ALL of today's fantasy is quest based), it's hard to be sure whether to recommend it to you or not. On one hand, I've seen people who have read and decided they don't like current quest fantasy and had exactly the same reaction to LOTR; on the other hand, Tolkien did go into a LOT more detail and I never got the feeling that he was "trying too hard"--Middle Earth was just real as he described it. Silmarillion reads more like history books, but LOTR still stands above the vast majority of its imitators.

Oh my god yes (2)

Gregoyle (122532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230149)

There is so much in the speculative fiction world that borrows from Tolkien. These books are great. At least read Lord of the Rings, maybe The Hobbit (if you do, you should read it first). Read my other post to find out part of why I love these books so much (too lazy to find post url (-:).

Read them. they will change your view of the world.

Re:Never read them... should I? (1)

uriyan (176677) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230167)

You definitely should read LoTR, if you're interested in good reading.

What I personally like in LoTR is the beauty of the author's work, that is the combination of an intricate and deep plot, with masterful writing (Tolkien was a professor and a life-long scholar of the English language).

LoTR is second to none in aesthetics and style, and it is definitely the best book that I've ever read.

Re:Never read them... should I? No. (2)

banuaba (308937) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230179)

As I kiss some karma goodbye...

I started reading the LOTR series when I was 8. Couldn't get through more than a couple of chapters. I tried again when I was 12, 16 and 20, and then tried for the last time this year, at 22. I finally made it through the books, and, sadly enough, I consider it poorly spent time.

As you pointed out in your post 'some fantasy novels just try too hard... mak[e] me bored.' LOTR is one of these books. Tolkien is longwinded, almost to the point of incomprehensibility; his sentance structure is overly complex for what I consider to be recreational reading and the story, IMHO, just isn't that good.

I am a scifi man, as well, and you pointed out my biggest beef with the fantasy genre: a lot of the novels don't recognize thier place. But I digress. I found LOTR to be boring, overly complicated (both structurally and storyline-wise) and althogether a less-than-enjoyable read. If you want something fun to read, go pick up a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's _Love_in_the_Time_of_Cholera_ (/randombookreccomendation)

Start with The Hobbit (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230181)

Keep in mind that The Hobbit was written more as a children's novel. It also provides a really good introduction to Middle Earth and its inhabitants. Not only that, but there are references in LOTR to The Hobbit that are important, and Tolkien wrote LOTR with the idea that the reader would already be familiar with The Hobbit.

Also, after reading about Bilbo Baggins, you will want to know what happens to him and the ring... you will get hooked into reading LOTR.

Re:Never read them... should I? (1)

collar (34531) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230214)

In short: no.

Personally, I love Lord of the Rings, but then again, I'm a big fan of the fantasy genre. LOTR has to be read for what it is, which is a beautifully detailed description of an amazingly well imagined world with an averagely detailed story (though still a very enjoyable one). If you are bored by fantasy, then the slow pace of a lot of sections of LOTR will probably put you off. If you want to try fantasy, head for something a bit more exciting like (personal favourite) Sara Douglass.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that Tolkien is the be all and end all of fantasy, and are sadly put off the genre because of it.

Check out a site like www.sffworld.com for book reviews and try to find something that interests you.

Re:Never read them... should I? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230215)

Yes, yes yes! Ths series is what started (IMHO) the genre. Easier to read than most, quite a lot of fun. Definitly a must-read.

Re:Never read them... should I? (1)

MegaFur (79453) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230304)

I like Sci-Fi (trek, B5, etc) but some fantasy novels just try too hard and end up making me bored. Should I even try to make it through LOTR?

For you, probably the answer would be: no. If you're mostly into just sci-fi, then most any fantasy, including Tolkien, will probably fail to excite you.

I say this on the basis that it used to apply to me. (I know, I know--that's no way to make an argument, but I'm doing it anyway.) I was all sci-fi and no fantasy when I was a kid. In high school, I was forced to read _The Hobbit_ and _The Fellowship of the Ring_ and I hated them. I can't stress that enough. My favorite character, Gandalf (favorite because: he's a wizard = posessor of secret knowlege = closest thing to a techie in a fantasy world) got killed off half-way through _Fellowship_ and the reading got that much worse from then on out.

Later on--years later--I learned what kind of a role the LOTR trilogy had in the grand scheme of things and I started to gain some respect for it. Then, for a while, my friends and I were into Magic: the Gathering. After we got tired of it, we tried Middle Earth: The Wizards and I got to see decent pictures of all those characters I'd read about a million years ago.

When they announced the movies, I decided to go back and finally make the effort to read the trilogy (at some point, I had listened to it as a series of abridged audio books). It went surprisingly well. The neat part was that I was already vaguely familiar with lots of general stuff from the card game and from hearing my friends talk about stuff from the books--stuff like Palantiri (sp), Sauron, Orodruin (sp?), Galadrial, hobbits, ringwraiths, Gollum (he's not technically a hobbit exactly), etc. Then, when reading the books, I got to learn how all these general pieces of information fit together to tell the story. I mean I already knew, for example, that the quest was to destroy The One Ring (a.k.a. The Ruling Ring, Isildur's Bane, The Precious, or just The Ring), and I even had a pretty good idea about how the goal was going to be acheived (because of the audio books), but I didn't know about all the adventure's they were going to have on the way (Faramir is cool!).

But back to the original question: Should you read LOTR? Maybe not, but you may want to make an effort to become familiar with it because it's actually embeded in popular culture. e.g. If you know what to listen for, there are Middle Earth references in a couple of Led Zepplin songs: "In the darkest depths of *Mordor*...but *Gollum* and *The Evil One*...", "...*ringwraiths* are out in black." There's lots more I could say about it, but I'm tired and I have to go to class soon and I think I've "gushed" enough for one message.

P.S. oh yeah, almost forgot..

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! [jabberwocky.com]
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

--
Furry cows moo and decompress.

A related literary review book (2)

rjh3 (99390) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230064)

The book J.R.R. Tolkien by Tom Shippey is another interesting read for Tolkien fans. He reviews Tolkien from several literary perspectives: as myth, as related to Tolkien's life, as related to lingustics, and as story. Tolkien reviewers usually fall into either love or hate category with little middle ground. Shippey is in the love category.

Here will you find the mythic story relationships and linguistic relationships between Beowolf (the OE epic) and the Hobbit. There are also philological relationships between story, placenames, and character in the real british isles and their use in LOTR. This adds another dimension to the re-reading of LOTR.

This book is old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230075)

Wow, people are just now discovering the Atlas of Middle-earth? Guess it was out of print for awhile, but jeeze...get with it...this is not new.

Not just the maps... (5, Informative)

Gregoyle (122532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230083)

I have been in love with Tolkien's work since I was 11 or 12 years old, and the love hasn't ceased growing yet. Some comments:

Although the great maps Tolkien obviously created to detail the civilizations, migrations, and geography/geology of his world(s) have a huge impact on their shocking reality, I think there are many other factors that contribute as much or more. First of all is the languages. Look at the appendices of Return of the King if you want to know what I mean. These languages are in depth, realistic, and utterly amazing. Many of them closely parallel structure and syntax of North-Germanic languages (e.g. Norwegian, Danish, Old English). They parallel them enough that it isn't entirely inconceivable that the Common which is spoken in Middle Earth is in fact written as it sounds. It sounds just like English. Notice how Tolkien doesn't use very many words of Latin origin (which can often give a clinical feel to speech). This gives the books a hominess (sic?) and a feeling of old beauty.

Also, the mythology. My favorite Tolkien book of all is the Silmarillion because of the great mythology it presents for Middle Earth. Also look how closely it mirrors our own mythologies, particularly Norse, Greek, and Christian. The stories are so rich and so human (even though many of them take place before humans are invented :-)), we could almost accept them as our own natural mythos rather than one invented by a telented writer. Harry Harrison's "Warriors of the Way" trilogy has opened up some new intellectual doors for me regarding Asgardian myth (particularly the role of Loki), and I plan to re-read as much of Tolkien's work as I can to look into the topic further. This stuff never ceases to amaze me.

Once again, a perfect eight. (1)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230099)

Is it just me, or do all ./ book reviews get a rating of 8? Good enough to care about covering, not as good as we would have done it ourselves.

A short review.. (2)

pmc (40532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230101)

...but a little strange.


"If you want to enter Tolkien's world, the best way is to tLotR, the Hobbit, and The Silmarillion." People do not read the Silmarillion - they struggle through it. Recommending it as an entry level book for Middle Earth is madness.


"For hard-core Tolkien lovers who have [already read the books]..": how can you be a hard-core fan without having read the books.


"[it's] well and clearly written, even for the casual fan". I can't figure out what this means - I think he is looking for understandable, but I could be wrong.


"Offers a new prism through which to look at these works". Erm - trying to read though a prism will not be very productive.


And, finally, the subtle nuance which separates the die-hard fan from the hard core fanatic is lost on me. Are these more or less fanatical than the hard-core Tolkien lovers?


Is anybody who read this any the wiser as to whether the book is worth buying?

testing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230102)

feces goatse.cx

Middle Earth Atlas (1)

Goody (23843) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230105)

Delorme will also be offering Middle Earth Atlas 1.0 for Windows which will enable you to navigate through middle earth easily and accurately. It has a GPS option for realtime tracking, but they haven't quite figured out how to make it work underground yet. I've been using the beta and have avoided a lot of mine shafts and molten rock pockets. No word on a Linux port.

Re:Middle Earth Atlas (1)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230229)

Delorme will also be offering Middle Earth Atlas 1.0 for Windows which will enable you to navigate through middle earth easily and accurately. It has a GPS option for realtime tracking, but they haven't quite figured out how to make it work underground yet. I've been using the beta and have avoided a lot of mine shafts and molten rock pockets. No word on a Linux port.

You're probably confusing it by playing Angband [www.hut.fi] on the machine at the same time.

Something I've been wondering... (1)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230115)

I of course am one of those who will be reading at least the first book of the trilogy prior to the movie this fall, but while I know that the series goes in the order of The Hobbit, LOTR Trilogy, Silmarillion chronologically, what order should i read them in? I'm on the impression that The Hobbit is something of a children's book and if it's nicer as a "prequel after the fact" then I'd rather get into a meatier book, rather than waste my time and perhaps get discouraged by the childishness of The Hobbit. Any tips?

Schnapple

Re:Something I've been wondering... (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230189)

The Silmarillion is definitely *not* chronologically after the trilogy. It was *written and published* after the trilogy, but the events it describes are mythological foundations for the world of the Rings.

Re:Something I've been wondering... (1)

MikeM (5881) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230213)

I suggest reading them in the order they came out:
Hobbit, LOTR and then the Silmarillion. The reason is that its an onion skin. The Hobbit is a quick read and it sets some of the character development done in the latter books. The events aren't chronological but the character development is. The Hobbit introduces you to Frodo. The LOTR introduces you to his time and the time after. The Silmarillion introduces you to his worlds history and mythology.

hobbit first (1)

arbours (302317) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230224)

Read the hobbit first, to get the feel for what tolkien is doing - it's aimed more for kids, but is still fun to read for us. it will only take you a week, if that.

the hobbit gives an easy intro to the whole mythology, laying all the groundwork for the trilogies.

then you can move to the LOTR, where everything gets more "mature", darker, and eviler - though the spiders and dragons in the hobbit are pretty bad too!

then, the silmarillion and unfinished tales are excellent - i really enjoyed reading the (very far back) history of elves, men, sauron, and the Valar - very cool.

alex

Re:Something I've been wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230237)

The hobbit isn't a "children's book" and explains quite a lot of 'background' info that makes the other books more understandable. There are also references from the LOTR trilogy back to The Hobbit. Main chararcters from The Hobbit do appear in LOTR trilogy, so I'd suggest reading it first.

Re:Something I've been wondering... (1)

Jay Bratcher (565) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230245)

The Hobbit is somewhat of a children's book, but don't dismiss it. It's fairly short, so it doesn't take long to read, and the background it provides really adds to The Lord of The Rings. As for The Silmarillion, it is a separate story from the first two books. The Silmarillion can also be rather dry compared to LOTR, so I would recommend reading it last...

Re:Something I've been wondering... (1)

welkin (214744) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230257)

Over the past few months, on buses to & from work & on weekends, I have been read _The Silmarillion_, then _The Hobbit, or There And Back Again_ (an old hardback edition with Michael Hague illustrations), and a single-volume paperback edition of _The Lord Of The Rings_. I thought it would be novel to do a "chronological" read of the three books. However, the foreword of every edition I've seen of the single-volume LOTR & editions of _The Fellowship Of The Ring_ does a fairly good job of catching the reader up on details missed in _The Hobbit_, and the end of _The Silmarillion_ has a whole chapter called "Of The Rings Of Power And The Third Age" that provides a transition into LOTR so that you could skip _The Hobbit_ without much fuss.

If you skip _The Hobbit_ you will, imho, miss out on a lot of great & subtle details that spice up LOTR. I think _The Hobbit_ will be a much richer read (and might seem less "childish" to you) if you've read _The Silmarillion_ before it.

With _The Hobbit_ I think you get a better introduction to the Smeagol chracter, you get to know Dwarves in general more (so you might give more of a damn about their plight in Khazad-dum later in LOTR), you get Elrond & Imaldris. . .if you're going to take the time to read _The Silmarillion_ & LOTR you might as well read the kids' book, it won't take too much time.

Amazing book (1)

jkindoll (114886) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230117)

Like most fans of his work, I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings at a fairly young age and it changed my world. I tried the Silmarillion, but at 12, I was a bit unprepared for it. I picked up the Silmarillion again a couple of times, but anever got through it...until I got my hands on the Atlas. Using it to help guide me through the Silmarillion worked wonderfully. It's a must for any fan who wants a bit more, or who hasn't enjoyed what I've come to believe is Tolkien's finest work.

I'll have a copy, thank you (1)

voudras (105736) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230140)

I Love Maps - I always have, they dont have to be
maps necessarily, I enjoy blueprints too.

Tolkiens story hit a chord with me. I have a decent collection of his work, including special
editions of LOTR, his biography, etc. This book
will, no doubt, be added to the collection as well.

My love of maps extended nicely into RPG's, I've been gaming for (at least) 15+ years now, and if I am the running a campaign - the players know that there are detailed maps behind most everything, even if they are never privy to any originals (unless of course they have intimate knowledge
of a locale or region) until after they information can be useful (ie, end of the campaign).

I tend to take all sorts of variables into account
in creating maps too - especially natural. For instance, when creating a World map (or known world, as the case usually is in FRPG's), plate techtonics (sp?) is always my first step.

There is one difference between Europe and America that comes to mind regarding maps, the speed in which roads and towns were formed. Because of this I think, although a very _general_ statement, Americans have a less accurate mental picture of their surrounding countryside, much less the terrain they will encounter on foot from thier hometown to the next.

Geez, I got so excited about the topic i just started rambling.

Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230162)

--
| |
--
Earth

Topic Request... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230164)

To CmdrTaco, Hemos, or whomever...

Can you please create a LOTR topic? I really don't want to read about this, so I'd like to block it.

Tolkien Books (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230188)

Several local book stores have had huge piles of Tolkien books for months, crowding out other books in the SF/Fantasy section. I assume this is because of the upcoming movies. I'm not sure if anyone is actually buying the books. Maybe the book stores think that all of the people that see the movie are going to buy three different editions of LotR.

oh no! (1)

emok (162266) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230191)

"In advance of the movie Lord of The Rings scheduled for release in December, we'll be writing and talking about the trilogy itself as well as other works the original books have inspired."

The God of this World is not merciful!!! Please don't clutter the front page with this stuff!!

oh no! (1)

emok (162266) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230216)

"In advance of the movie Lord of The Rings scheduled for release in December, we'll be writing and talking about the trilogy itself as well as other works the original books have inspired."

The God of this World is not merciful!!! Please don't clutter the front page with this stuff!!

LOTR Webpage (0, Redundant)

dedair (238106) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230254)

This is by far the best webpage relating to the books. It was taken down for a few months due to some issues with the movie's page(more than likely because it blew it out of the water), but is back up now. It uses much of the information from the atlas, and is one of the best uses of flash I have seen to date. Everything is cross referenced, and interrelates well. This is a must see for any fan.

Other LotR books and calendars... (1)

Milalwi (134223) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230259)

It has been a long time since I read LotR and the Hobbit, but I remember the Brothers Hildebrandt calendars [snapsite.com] as being quite strikingly beautiful.


There also seems to be a book out about their time doing those calendars. Has anyone seen Greg and Tim Hildebrandt: The Tolkien Years? Is it any good? Does it have most of the images from the '70s calendars? It would be nice to have a coffee table book of Tolkien artwork.


Milalwi

Why LOTR is bad? (1)

oosajack (162804) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230262)

Everybody here seems to sing praises for this work. All the messages seem to be love letters. But seriously..

I have read the trilogy, sil & hobbit and I have some serious reservations about the work and what it means. All the characters in this novel are either good or bad. This is quite a bad draw back as it reinforces the kids belief that everything in this world is black or white. Also that a bad person is bad person till the end. Though the books offer very good fantasies, they reinforce the sterotypes.

Now if we could only get... (1)

Fizzlewhiff (256410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230269)

The Music of Middle Earth on CD. I've been anxiously awaiting the Songs of Tom Bombadil for years but have sadly had to settle for Zamfir.

LOTR Webpage (1)

dedair (238106) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230275)

This is by far the best webpage relating to the books. It was taken down for a few months due to some issues with the movie's page(more than likely because it blew it out of the water), but is back up now. It uses much of the information from the atlas, and is one of the best uses of flash I have seen to date. Everything is cross referenced, and interrelates well. This is a must see for any fan.

no goat sex, I promise [rareearthashland.com]

Lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2230281)

One thing i barely noticed until recently is that the Tolkien world is utterly male, esp the Simarillon which is steeped in paternal christianity, it sure does alienate a geeky little girl, but so does slashdot...

Fantasy, LOTR, and movies (2, Interesting)

boy_racer2001 (155861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2230286)

I'm a pretty big fantasy fiction fan myself. Goodkind, Jordan, Tad Williams and RR Martin being my current favorites. About a year ago I gave a shot at reading LOTR since it was hailed as the epitome of Fantasy fiction. I stalled around the Council of Elrond for about 8 months and read something else. Frankly I found it boring.



I went on to read some reviews of the trilogy and found one reviewer to say the first 'book' can be pretty hard to get through but after the Council it really picked up. And it did. I found the Two Towers volume to be quite good. 'Book Five' in Return of the King was also really good but again, in 'Book Six', I find myself struggling to finish. While I recognize the brillance of the story and it's ground breaking imagery I have a hard time getting through some of tedious dialog and story. I find myself eying the second book of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn on my desk. This won't be popular with most LOTR fans, but frankly I like some modern fantasy better. To this day nothing has gripped me like RR Martin's Song of Fire and Ice.


As to the LOTR movie it will be a huge success if the creators stick to the original image of the movie. If the water it down for children, which I'm afraid they will, I will be very disappointed. I want to see heads fly over Minas Tirith! :)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...