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New Tolkien Book Released 'The Children of Hurin'

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the hoom-hoom dept.

260

Zoolander writes "Christopher Tolkien has completed the last book of J.R.R. Tolkien from notes left from his father." The ultimate question is how much of a quality difference will there be; for instance the difference between Dune and Dune: House Atriedes is a pretty big gap. But in my experience, Christopher Tolkien has always taken a good, cautious approach when it comes to his father's work so here's to hoping.

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260 comments

Excellent!~ (2, Insightful)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487111)

I have always thought Chris has done a good job compiling his father's stuff. I can't wait to pick this up!

Re:Excellent!~ (4, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487199)

I "read" silmarilion when I was in high school, didn't like it at all and failed to spend the time slowly going through it to take everything in. Going through it again in my mid-twenties and having an exponentially greater appreciation of it, even more so than Lord of the Rings.

Like a wine fine, you have to let it age a bit.

TÚRIN TURAMBAR DAGNIR GLAURUNGA

Re:Excellent!~ (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487269)

"Like a wine fine, you have to let it age a bit."

Or aging is lowering/fucking up your standards.

By your sixties you may actually like to listen to Barbra Streisand albums...

Re:Excellent!~ (2, Funny)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487843)

"Like a wine fine, you have to let it age a bit."

Same is true for adjective noun order.

Re:Excellent!~ (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487795)

Congratulations. I couldn't get past the first chapter when I was in high school; it was just too boring.

I did eventually read it a couple of years ago. It had a lot of great information in it. But it was still incredibly boring (not all of it, of course). It read like a history book. I guess that's what it was, but I think JRR had the ability to refine his works into something a lot less boring than Christopher, who might be too scared to leave something out.

I don't hold it against him, look at the standard he has to live up to.

Re:Excellent!~ (1)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488177)

Yeah, the first time I tried to read it, I couldn't get into the story at all. But I picked it back up a few years later, and now I actually like it better than LotR. Lots of action, great setting and plot, and some awesome characters!

Beware Melkor! HE WILL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL!

Re:Excellent!~ (0, Troll)

kgp_crap (997022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487239)

Why am I not surprised ? Any great cultural classic : books or movies , somehow seem to generate more than their fair share of prequels / sequels . It then just smacks of opportunism. I guess its just me , but it seems to dilute the original masterpiece.

Re:Excellent!~ (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487519)

You are aware, I hope, that this is actually Tolkien's writing. Christopher Tolkien's role has been as an editor. In only one instant did he actually compose anything for his father's works, and that was The Fall of Doriath for the published Silmarillion, because Tolkien had actually only written one completed version, and that was way back in about 1920, when the mythos was still in a very early stage of evolution, and did not match the post-Lord of the Rings Silmarillion.

Re:Excellent!~ (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487577)

It's his notes. There is a huge difference.

Chris Tolkien annoys the crap out of me, though, admittedly, more for "original" tripe like The Treason of Isengard than for compilations like the Silmarillion...He's definitely out to make a buck on his father's work.

Re:Excellent!~ (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487631)

It's his notes. There is a huge difference.
There are lots of notes. There are also lots of completed works. The Lost Tales is largely complete. The Annals of Beleriand and the Grey Annals are largely complete.

Just how much of the History of Middle Earth series have you even read?

Re:Excellent!~ (2, Insightful)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488325)

"He's definitely out to make a buck on his father's work."

I ask you, which is worse, trying to capitalize on your parent's fortune or just sitting back and inheriting it and acting like a spoiled brat? At least he's tryiing to actually work, even if it's not all original. Some people wouldn't even bother working and just collect royalties. It's not like the work has disappeared or somehow been forgotten. I'd bet it's selling more copies today than ever before.

That said, I hated the Silmarillion, bored me to tears. And I haven't read any of Chirstopher's original works.

Re:Excellent!~ (4, Insightful)

ggKimmieGal (982958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487753)

I hope you are aware that The Lord of the Rings IS the sequel. Tolkien didn't write LOTR first. It came much later after he wrote almost all of the Silmarillion. He had been working his way up to that novel for years before he ever sat down to write it. His wife also added quite a lot to all of his work, though her name is often forgotten. LOTR was edited and edited until it was something people could try to read in under a month. But the fact is, Tolkien is not that type of writer. If you look at any of his other novels, he meant for the world to take LOTR slow. He wanted you to get lost in the world that he and his wife created. His books should take you years to read, and after you've read them, he wanted you to go back and read them again. At least, that is the impression I got when reading through the histories of Middle Earth. This isn't about opportunism. It's about Tolkien's world. If you don't have the patience for his novels, I don't recommend them.

Re:Excellent!~ (3, Interesting)

redshirt1111 (990928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487629)

Over the past three years I've really gotten into Tolkien's writing (The Silmarillion being my fave), but I've never been a big fan of Turin's story. It's certainly tragic, and nothing ends well, which normally I like. It's just that Turin is fairly unsympathetic. He's headstrong, foolish, and something of a prick. Hard to root for, despite his occasional heroic deeds. Now Hurin -- I'd love to see more of Hurin. Anyone who can tell Morgoth off to his face is the very definition of tragically heroic.

Re:Excellent!~ (3, Interesting)

mpiktas (740253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487957)

I for one am a huge fan of Turin's story. It always gives me the shivers, when I read it anew. And actually Children of Hurin is a story about Hurin also, if I remember correctly, after Turin's death the story talks about the final fate of Hurin and Morwen. I hope that Christopher Tolkien will include it. The last stand of Hurin in Nirnaeth Arnoediad is one of my favorite episodes, along with the Fingolfin's fight with Morgoth. Now then I think about it, without Turin, the Silmarillion would lose some charm, because with this story Tolkien shows the horror of Morgoth.

Re:Excellent!~ (2, Interesting)

redshirt1111 (990928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488063)

Great points. And you made me remember that indeed, this is Hurin's story (as the book's title suggests), but with the focus on his son. But his son is a jerk, as his wife/mother. The poor daughter never had a chance. Perhaps the wrong venue for this, but I've always wondered if Turin is gay, and hence the anger/confusion with him. He has a lovely elf-maiden throwing herself at him, and he spurns her. And he seems far more comfortable in the presence of his elf friend Beleg. Those two seemed to have "a thing". I don't think the topic of homosexuality was a matter to be discussed in JRR's day, but I wonder...

Re:Excellent!~ (2, Funny)

mux2000 (832684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488273)

A matter to be discussed? I thought that's what LOTR was about!?

Aaa...Narn Hin Hurin (4, Informative)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487145)

I always liked the Hurin's Children story, the one in Silmarillion, and also the version with more details in the collection "Unfinished tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth".

Anyway, the story has quite a lot of similarities with the Finnish folklore Kalevala [wikipedia.org] , spefically Kullervo's story. Knowing how much Tolkien liked Finnish, some of the stuff might be intentionally taken :)

From the wiki article:

Cantos 31-36: The Kullervo cycle: Untamo kills his brother Kalervo's people except for the wife who begets Kullervo; Untamo gives Kullervo several tasks but he sabotages them all; Kullervo is sold as a slave to Ilmarinen; after being tormented by Ilmarinen's wife, he exacts revenge and the wife gets killed; Kullervo runs away and finds his family unharmed near Lapland; Kullervo seduces a maiden and later finds out she is his sister; Kullervo destroys Untamola (the realm of Untamo) and upon returning home finds everyone killed; Kullervo kills himself.

Well... parallels to Túrin are there.

Written to Spec (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487149)

Heard about this on the radio. According to 'the experts' it features several large battle scenes, and "would make a good movie".

Go figure.

Re:Written to Spec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487251)

Did they listen to Samwise's advice? [solarflaredigital.com]

Re:Written to Spec (3, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487361)

According to 'the experts' it features several large battle scenes, and "would make a good movie".

The tale of Turin Turambar certainly would. Nargothrond ruined, dragonfire and orcs all around, our hero living in the wild as a bandit hunting monsters, reclaims birthright, slays dragon, discovers appalling truth, kills self... that would rule.

Re:Written to Spec (3, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487435)

Nargothrond ruined, dragonfire and orcs all around, our hero living in the wild as a bandit hunting monsters, reclaims birthright, slays dragon, gets the girl, lives happily ever after... that (unfortunately) is Hollywood.

Re:Written to Spec (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487581)

I don't think any producer would finance a large scale, fantasy epic with such an overtly bitter ending. We have more of a chance with Silmarilion (ending with the War of Wrath).

Re:Written to Spec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487383)

Heard about this on the radio. According to 'the experts' it features several large battle scenes, and "would make a good movie".

Not only that, but in this version Frodo shoots first.

Re:Written to Spec (4, Interesting)

JungleBoy (7578) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487399)

I'd be very surprised if Christopher Tolkien finished 'The Children of Hurin' to "movie spec". He despised the Peter Jackson movies.

Re:Written to Spec (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487459)

He might say he hated the movies, but the real question is... did he love the money?

When I grow up I'm going to be a cynic.

Re:Written to Spec (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487743)

The money he probably got none of, you mean? Aside from possible book sale increases (if he even gets that), he probably saw no money since Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises hold the rights to film, stage, and merchandising. So, Tolkien's kid probably saw next to nothing.

Re:Written to Spec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18488071)

a) Rights the family just gave away gratis, because they love movie projects so much.

or

b) So no wonder he "hated" the movies then!

Re:Written to Spec (4, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488251)

a) Rights the family just gave away gratis, because they love movie projects so much.

Rights the old man sold decades ago for a relative pittance, back when the books were a niche nerdy thing, before the hippies caught onto them and inflicted a generation of kids called things like Pippin Galadriel Moonchild on the world...

Re:Written to Spec (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487493)

Well doh. After LotR, Harry Potter, Narnia etc. fantasy and magic is in the wind of course "the experts" are looking at making a movie out of anything partly resembling a good script. Personally, I'd like to see more of the dark magics but I guess there might be hope in the later Harry Potter movies.

Re:Written to Spec (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487543)

I have heard that they are making George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series into an HBO series sort of like Rome. HBO is the perfect spot for this type of work, with all the dark magic and adult themes of the novels.

Now I just have to sign up for cable... >:(

Re:Written to Spec (1)

Poruchik (1004331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488275)

If Martin ever finishes them...

More Source Material For Peter Jackson To Butcher (0, Troll)

RichardMarks (1011125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487151)

Who needs to read and comprehend the source material when you have a huge special effects budget...

question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (3, Interesting)

boxlight (928484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487165)

I read the three Lord Of The Rings books and The Hobbit. Can someone tell me what other Tolkien books take place in the same Middle Earth "universe", and how do they relate to the ones I read? That is, are they prequels, sequels, or parallel stories?

Do any of the hobbits, Gandalf, the Shire, or any other "Rings" characters appear in the other books?

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (2, Informative)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487217)

The Simarillion deals with the ancient history which is referred to in LOTR - the time of the elves and where they are returning to, who Sauron is, the history of Numenor etc. There are some interesting parts, but it's for hardcore Tolkien fans only.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (4, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487233)

The big Tolkein book, outside of the Lord of the Rings, is The Silmarillion. It's basically, like, the Elf-Bible. It's got some funky creation myth from before the dawn of time which occupies the front, and then proceeds to chronicle history thenceforth. It's... very dense, in some places - sort of like the regular Bible, except perhaps more so. The main Lord of the Rings characters also appear in it, because the entire Lord of the Rings saga forms the last chapter of the book. (it's covered in like, what, ten pages?)

There's also some spiffy appendixes, I believe; place-names and things like that.

There are a few other short stories floating around, which others can tell you of better than I. I think there's one or two either involving Tom Bombadil, Farmer Maggot, or both.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (3, Funny)

UberHoser (868520) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487521)

"very dense"... omg, that is an understatment. I have read the Hobbit and LOTR numerous times. The Silmarillion I have read once, and will never EVER read again. I remember reading it for English class, and wondering why my lovely english teacher had turned into a sadistic bitch ! I would rather stuff Kiki (from Sluggy) hopped up on pixie sticks down my pants than read the Silmarillion again.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (2, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487905)

Actually the Simarillion is a great book, but you have to read it in conjunction with the various fragment books released, otherwise it becomes to dense.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (5, Insightful)

mpiktas (740253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488069)

Try reading Unfinished Tales and the appendix of LOTR, then maybe you'll enjoy Silmarillion more. In my opinion only The Silmarillion reveals full glory of Tolkien's creation, LOTR with is about humans, Silmarillion is about gods. No wonder why Christopher Tolkien despises Jackson interpretation of LOTR, it just ignores Silmarillion completely, downgrading magnificent story to some anonymous D&D quest.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (3, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488227)

I wish I had mod points for you. You hit the nail right on the head there.

All my friends really like the LotR movies, and I suppose they're good movies, if you've never read Tolkien's books and/or don't care about Tolkien's world. However I happen to like Tolkien's world, and The Silmarillion, and as a result I don't care for the movies at all.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487247)

I haven't read many of them, but I'm pretty sure it's almost all back-story compiled from Tolkien's notes. Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales are probably the most prominent of these, they are basically the origin stories for Middle Earth and it's people.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (4, Informative)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487261)

Sort of.

The Silmarilion details the events of the First Age of Middle Earth, from the beginning of time to Melkor's defeat (he was Sauron's boss). It also skims over the Second Age -- the rise of fall of the kingdom of Numenor (where Aragorn's ancestors were from) and the making of the Rings of Power through the first 3000 years of the Third Age. It is written in a much different style (often compared to a history book) and was pieces together by Christopher Tolkien from his father's notes (like everything post-LOTR)

After Silmarilion is Unfinished Tales, expounding on parts of Silmarilion. Narn I Hin Hurin - "The Tale of Hurin", Tuor and his coming into the hidden city of Gondolin, and more background on the second and early third ages.

After UT is The Books of Lost Tales (1 and 2), part of The History of Middle Earth, which is 12 (!) books of research on all parts of the story hiterto. Letters, extrapolation, essays. Really deep stuff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Middle -earth [wikipedia.org] has a complete list.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (4, Informative)

grimJester (890090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487297)

To add to the previous posts, the only LOTR characters alive in the times the Silmarillion (mainly) covers are Sauron, Galadriel and Elrond. Gandalf in the form of a maia (demigod, angel, something like that) but no more than a short mention if even that.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (3, Informative)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487377)

Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, while short, does cover some of the hobbit/LOTR timeline (about 5 pages). Also, 4 volumes of HoME focus entirely on the trilogy:

The Return of the Shadow
The Treason of Isengard
The War of the Ring
Sauron Defeated
(volumes 6-9)

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487437)

You sound like an American.

Please do not read these books. They are not for you.

Perhaps you would like a 'Superman' comic, alternatively, you could go and play with a nice gun?

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487495)

You sound like a dick. GTFO my Internets.

Re:question about the "other" Tolkien books ... (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487703)

If you can read The Silmarillion in its entirity then you are a better man than I am. It's turgid stuff, in my view.

Don't Forget "Bored of the Rings" (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488355)

Bored of the Rings [wikipedia.org] is a short satirical novel by Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney, first published in 1969 by Signet for the Harvard Lampoon. This parody follows the general plot of The Lord of the Rings, including the Preface, Prologue, poetry, and songs, while making light of all that Tolkien made very serious (e.g. "He would have finished him off then and there, but pity stayed his hand. It's a pity I've run out of bullets, he thought, as he went back up the tunnel..."). Map [amethyst-angel.com]

Genius! Or goddam awful. Something starting with g anyway.

"One major twist" (5, Funny)

hanssprudel (323035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487209)


She's his sister.

(Oh come on, you weren't expecting to get through this discussion without finding that out.)

Re:"One major twist" (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487241)

and you're an ass.

Re:"One major twist" (5, Funny)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487245)

..and the big black dude with the scarey helmet is his father?

%-)

Re:"One major twist" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487263)

Ignore the parent post. It's a trap!

Re:"One major twist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487405)

And Bilbo kills Dumbledore.

Re:"One major twist" (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487633)

I read The Dark Tower and Half-blood Prince around the same time. Was hoping Rowling would have tipped her hat to Tolkien like King did to her.

Harry: (jumping madly around at the top of the tower): Curse the Snape! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it for ever!

Re:"One major twist" (1)

A.K.A_Magnet (860822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488279)

It seems people took it only as a joke :). Spoiling a movie before it's even out is great though. Well if it sucks as much as the LotR movies, I can't spoil it any further than the director. Let me add more to it:
  • During the battle of the Unnumbered Tears (Nirnaeth Arnoediad), Hurin, Turin's father, is made prisoner by Morgoth, who puts him on a chair on the top of his mountain for him to see all that Morgoth sees; and he adds a curse on his family (just for fun)
  • Turin is Hurin's son. His (first) sister Eledhwen dies of illness when she's young. He gets to live with Elves at Doriath. Kills his mentor and best friend (Beleg Cuthalion), gets in various troubles, causes the doom of the elven kingdom Nargothrond where he's known as Mormegil, gets cursed another time by Glaurung, Father of Dragons, and loses his elven love Finduilas and his memories. At the end he kills his sister's lover, marries her and when he gets his memories back after slaying Glaurung kills himself just after his sister commits suicide :P
  • Hurin is finally released by Morgoth, meets his wife, and she dies the same day. He goes one last time to Doriath to give the Nauglamir to Elu Thingol before committing suicide.
  • Then his son gets reincarnated and breaks the Enigma code.. oops. No, not Turing. Seriously though, Turin will eventually get reincarnated to slay Morgoth at the Last Battle (Dagor Dagorath).
Really Tolkien's best and most tragic tale, and best Tolkien's hero(es). I pray that they won't release a movie. A Turin turambar turun ambartanen. Turin, master of doom, by doom mastered.

The next book (0, Troll)

Azathfeld (725855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487257)

After this, Chris is forming an all-star team to create the epic The Dragonweyrs of the Dragon Reborn with the One Ring in Shannara, a Blood of the Fold novel.

I agree... Brian isn't a patch on Frank. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487271)

Herbert that is...............

I loved all the Dune series....but haven't even bothered to buy the last few that Brian has written.

He's not in the same class as his father was.

Re:I agree... Brian isn't a patch on Frank. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487559)

I have contended all along that Brian Herbert should have done what Christopher Tolkien did; that is not flesh out notes into full stories, but just publish the notes and plot lines. Brian Herbert is a second-rate writer, and I found his Dune stuff horribly amateurish, more like fan fiction than serious storytelling.

Same Difference (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487273)

the difference between Dune and Dune: House Atriedes


Good analogy. The difference between, say, The Fellowship of the Ring and any Christopher Tolkien followup (except perhaps the Silmarillion) is about as big.

JRR Tolkien and Frank Herbert were visionaries. Their books are legendary because they're so complete, so consistent, they're practically holographic. While those authors were also brilliant editors, especially Tolkien whose main gig was (as is well known) Oxford English Dictionary editor. Their (genetic, and thereby literary) heirs are undistinguished from a vast host of other second or lower tier of "visionary" authors, and have no special editing talent - nor have acquired any at their cashin publishers. While they also operate at a disadvantage while writing outside the original cultural contexts that produced those seminal works for a different audience.

Ironically, both Middle Earth and Dune are epic tales of the original forefathers of our times (Dune less obviously, sorry for the spoiler). A magical time when a unique individual arrived to set the worlds on the path that led to today's mundane, if relatively safe, existence. Both Tolkien and Herbert themselves portrayed themselves as mere humble quoters of the original stories, originally told by the great actors themselves. Their stories resonate with generations of the public partly because we understand that great storytellers are part of great stories which are part of great ages, come once in a long while, and cannot bequeath their talents and opportunities to their children.

On the bright side, both The Lord of the Rings and the Dune trilogies are so good that they can be reread often over a lifetime, delivering new rewards each time. Reading those later "extensions" is a waste of time that could better be spent rereading the original.

Re:Same Difference (5, Informative)

SolemnLord (775377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487487)

Tolkien's "main gig" was not editing the OED (hundreds of people edited OED2). It's just well-known because anyone who's dipped their toe into an English class greater than 101 is aware of what the OED is. I'm not disparaging his contributions, I'm just saying that give the man some credit: he was a professor of language and literature at Leeds and Oxford, and a writer to boot. To make things /. compatible, I doubt people would want me typing "Torvalds is that guy who did some work on the Sinclair QL, right?" (I had to check Linus's Wikipedia bio to pull something like that up, FYI)

Re:Same Difference (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487667)

Tolkien worked for the OED for a very brief period of time, just a year or two after he'd finished his own university work. He left to take a teaching position, and the vast majority of his professional career was spent as a professor of philology, mostly at Exeter College in Oxford.

Re:Same Difference (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487705)

True, OED was his first civilian gig after the War [wikipedia.org] . I should have just left it as "his well known gig". Certainly his main gig was writing LotR, especially as reflected in his final net worth (AFAIK).

Dull as dish water (1, Troll)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487497)

The Lord of the Rings reads well. The Hobbit reads well. They show that JRR Tolkien had a good ear for a tale. Everything composited from notes by Christopher Tolkien shows that this wasn't a genetic Tolkien family trait.

The Silmarillion and others read like background information, which is what they were. JRR built up a whole mythos to draw from when writing LoTR. This gave him a good base to produce a rich story. I see the continued publication of these tarted up notes as a poor distraction from the original tale.

Re:Dull as dish water (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487611)

Except that Tolkien considered LotR the distraction, and the Hobbit's drawing on his mythos something of an accident. His main concern was the Silmarillion, which he tried unsuccessfully to get published alongside LotR.

The Silmarillion is not LotR, but it is, for those that have the patience and appreciation for that sort of thing, a glorious tale. Unfortunately, the published form is in many cases ripped from the Grey Annals, which were a sort concise historical chronology, and not in and of themselves full narratives. Tolkien planned a rather enormous expansion of the work, of which the Children of Hurin was the only part that approached completion. It, and the unfinished version of "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin" that is found in Unfinished Tales are very much like LotR in storytelling quality.

Re:Dull as dish water (4, Insightful)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487685)

Parts of the Simarillion work as good novellas in themselves. I particularly enjoyed the tale of Beren and Luthien.

Re:Dull as dish water (5, Informative)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487731)

Where do people take tripe like this from?

"JRR built up a whole mythos to draw from when writing LoTR."???

He didn't build up the stories to have background for LotR. He built the mythos for his own enjoyment, as a background history for his invented languages, and in hope of giving back to the English a mythology of their own that was "lost" when the Normans invaded the Anglo-Saxons.

The Hobbit was a story he made for his children. He spiced it up a bit with details from his mythos. He published it because it seemed publishable as a good children's story. Lord of the Rings was written as a commercial follow-up to The Hobbit. Didn't really end up like that but...

I am not disputing the fact that the huge amount of previous writing and pre-existing mythos gave LotR a backstory of unparalleled proportions. It ended up being a large part of the attraction of the book, that you feel this world has a whole history behind it that is barely hinted at.

Re:Same Difference (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487723)

"Ironically, both Middle Earth and Dune are epic tales of the original forefathers of our times (Dune less obviously, sorry for the spoiler)." You motherfucker if i could reach through the internet and kill, you I would. People say it is a spoiler before they fucking ruin things you fucking asshole. There are conventions for a reason. I haven't finished Dune. Thanks for possibly ruining one of the greatest science fiction epics ever ruined you assfucker. You could have even left out everything in the fucking parenthesis and it might not have been obvious, it wasn't obvious until you told me. You've ruined the complexity of a great work. Man. This is easily the most angry I've been at some asshole over the internet. Holy Shit, you sir, are a jerk.

Re:Same Difference (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487833)

In fact, the "spoiler" I mentioned is entirely outside the plot inside the books. It's an implied theme that Dune scholars (like those who contributed to the _Dune Encyclopedia_) have inferred, and subject of much controversy, not resolved either in the trilogy or, to my knowledge, by other Frank Herbert writing.

I could have put the "spoiler" warning earlier, but I really thought I was being tongue in cheek, for the benefit of Dune fans. I wish I could edit the post, now that I realize it could piss off people like you, sort of a "spoiler false positive". Instead my apologies, and attempted reassurance that the book is not really spoiled by the idea that it happened in a fictional past.

Re:Same Difference (1)

Cerberus7 (66071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487765)

Middle Earth and Dune are epic tales of the original forefathers of our times (Dune less obviously, sorry for the spoiler)

Dude...wait, what?! In what book was Dune revealed to be a pre-history of current times, as opposed to a future-history? I read the original Dune books, but nothing else.

Re:Same Difference (SPOILER) (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488103)

OK, I got into trouble by mentioning that aspect of the story, so I'll mention a

SPOILER WARNING

before proceeding. Hopefully this is enough advance/whitespace.

The story is set 100,000 years in the future. But it's the story of a messiah who can see the future, talk with the past, of all humanity. His life's work is to adjust the path of humanity to avert an impending, otherwise inevitable disaster that would destroy us. To do so, he becomes a god-emperor, total control of all our possible courses of action. And delivers us onto a path that leads to today. Dune time is at least spiral, if not entirely cyclic.

This idea is not explicit in the trilogy. It might be explored in some of the later books, which I stopped reading towards the end of the second trilogy, because they weren't that good. It is explored in the Dune Encyclopedia, in particular by the author of one of the "Paul Muad'Dib" entries. Under whom I studied science fiction literature for my English major. His insight was clear, and apparently popular among other Dune scholars by the mid-1980s. It also provokes the question of whether Muad'Dib's life actually steered humanity onto precisely the course he saw as a terrible vision to be averted, or whether it locked us into a loop or spiral that either locked in the eventual appearance of Muad'Dib, or finally excluded it.

Man that story is a mindblower.

Re:Same Difference (SPOILER) (1)

Cerberus7 (66071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488193)

Sounds like I need to get my hands on the Dune Encyclopedia, then. Thanks for the info!

Re:Same Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18488223)

Dune was not pre-history at all. In Dune Messiah Paul Maud'dib specifically talks about Adolf Hitler and Nepoleon.

Re:Same Difference (1)

mpiktas (740253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488143)

Ironically, both Middle Earth and Dune are epic tales of the original forefathers of our times (Dune less obviously, sorry for the spoiler). A magical time when a unique individual arrived to set the worlds on the path that led to today's mundane, if relatively safe, existence. Both Tolkien and Herbert themselves portrayed themselves as mere humble quoters of the original stories, originally told by the great actors themselves. Their stories resonate with generations of the public partly because we understand that great storytellers are part of great stories which are part of great ages, come once in a long while, and cannot bequeath their talents and opportunities to their children.
Huh? Who is this unique indvidual in LOTR? And mundane and relatively safe times began after the end of LOTR, not before. No offense to Dune, but LOTR and Dune portrays totally different ideas.

Re:Same Difference (2, Interesting)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488309)

The difference between, say, The Fellowship of the Ring and any Christopher Tolkien followup (except perhaps the Silmarillion) is about as big.
Other than the Silmarillion (which saw some significant editing, not all of which was done by Christopher, a lot of which was entirely necessary due to the state of the source material, some of which Christopher himself felt was badly done and admitted so himself in HoME*), everything Christopher has published has been leftover writings by his father. What is Christopher's in those books is notes, analysis, textual history, and some commentary clearly labeled as such. In reading HoME, I often found Christopher's commentaries to be insightful, erudite, and at times more interesting than the actual source material.

Now, with that information clearly laid-out, how can you say his writing is so bad? You can't base that on the Silmarillion, because you exclude it yourself, and even if you didn't, the amount of actual "original" material in the Sil would fill at most a few pages, as could be discerned by anyone who had read Vol 4-5 & 10-11 of HoME. He did a lot of editing, taking from sources wide apart in age and style, which explais a lot of the idiosyncrasies of the Sil, but it was editorial decisions warranted by the material at hand. But to say Unfinished Tales or HoME is "bad writing" is calling JRR's unfinished, unpolished writing "bad writing".

Regarding this new book, I'm not sure what to think of it. To be quite honest, the Narn has never been my favorite story of the Tolkien legendarium (always been a fan of Beren & Luthien), but it's still enjoyable, and would be nice to be able to finally read it as a complete and homogeneous story. although I get the feeling I've almost certainly read most of the parts in that book from other sources (HoME and others) over the years, I'm not sure how much new material is in there, and how much Christopher wrote himself, and how good it will be.

*History of Middle-Earth is a 12-volume collection of the unfinished writings of JRR Tolkien edited by Christopher Tolkien. It covers most of his hitherto unpublished writings that relate to the "legendarium".

Dune House Books (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487281)

i prefer the newer Dune House books to Frank Herberts later works.

i think there was more of a drop in quality there.

Re:Dune House Books (3, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487353)

Well, I think Brian Herbert needs to learn the difference between "character" and "caricature". I admit I did read *all* of the BH Dune books nevertheless, because I'm a sucker, but Frank Herbert's most offhand scribbles are worth more than that crap.

Re:Dune House Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487423)

Yes, I agree. Frank Herbert's Dune was the best book he wrote by far. The stuff before it wasn't half as good, and the follow-ons to Dune just kept getting worse until they became worthless. Dune: House Atriedes was much better than God Emperor of Dune.

Re:Dune House Books (1)

Bluefirebird (649667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487751)

For me, my favourite Dune books are the Dune and the God Emperor of Dune. This last one is such an amazing book, rich with philosophy and politics. My least favourite ones are Heretics of Dune and Children of Dune. They are too boring. The new books are crap but they do a good job a describing the Dune universe and telling how the story continues.

Re:Dune House Books (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487759)

Dune was superb. Children/Messiah had their moments, and served as a reasonable story follow-through. I deny any other Dune books. Lalalala, there was no God Emperor. I'm not listening.

Re:Dune House Books (1)

Bozdune (68800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488061)

Totally agree. Lalalalalalalalalalalala.

Re:Dune House Books (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487555)

the first three novels in the original Dune series were very good but the latter ones simply started going downhill and then set out trying to go beyond bottom.

His son did very well, the only problem I had with his books were the sudden deaths of some characters and the few attempts he made to one up his father by introducing something that was "new" when featured in his fathers books (as in tech related)

About the only author following in their parents footsteps I really enjoy it is Anne McCaffrey's sons writings for the Dragonriders of Pern. Of course it helps that mom is alive and kicking, probably more of the kicking helps

Re:Dune House Books (1)

Gillibiabtiag (1018030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487983)

If I recall correctly from the biography by Brain Herbert, his father didn't intend for the series to go beyond the first three books, and it was only at the behest of his editor that he did.

You and your shameless plugs... (1, Offtopic)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487351)

How about some non-marketing related links... links that are more descriptive about the topic:
  - Dune (novel) [wikipedia.org]
  - Dune: House Atreides [wikipedia.org]

Re:You and your shameless plugs... (1)

gnulinuxoss (1068690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487809)

Non-marketing links? Have you tried http://www.google.com/ [google.com] ? :)

Dune prequels (3, Insightful)

voislav98 (1004117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487501)

A much better combarison would be the new Dune novel, Hunters of Dune, rather than the Dune prequels, since it's supposed to be based on the notes by Frank Herbert, while the prequels (Dune: Houses and Butlerian crap) were written completely from scratch and are often contradicting the original Frank Herbert books. I find that Chris Tolkien has really done as much as possible to preserve his fathers legacy, which cannot be said for Brian Herbert, who is trying to ruin his fathers franchise by putting out large numbers of half-baked books.

Re:Dune prequels (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488051)

voislav98 said:
>often contradicting the original Frank Herbert books ::applause::

I wasn't able to make it through the first book because of such.

It's really a shame Frank Herbert didn't put sufficient effort in the _Dune Encyclopedia_ so as to edit it and make it canonical and more in-line w/ his view of the history, perhaps that would've foreclosed on some of Brian Herbert's really bad gaffes.

William

You know they have really old out when... (5, Funny)

ayjay29 (144994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487527)

You know they have really old out when... ... the crosover books start appearing, how about 'Harry Potter and the Children of Hurin' or 'Dune: House Huffelpuff'.

And hence submitted for perusal by (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487567)

the children of slashdot.

One ring to bore them all (4, Insightful)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487747)

I just saw Clerks 2 (b/c sometimes I like to punish the Ebert within) and while it itself is a terrible flick, it has perhaps the most perfect summation of my feelings on the LOTR trilogy, albeit the film form. As far as I'm concerned Tolkien Jr. would do well to stray somewhat and make a good action/adventure story (as TFA hints at) instead of the plodding tale his father took too many pages to tell. It had a great setting/world but god what a dull pedantic road trip LOTR was. We get it, the rings is evil. Really evil. Just drop the fucking thing in the volcano already.

Does it answer the two most important questions? (4, Funny)

jregel (39009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487773)

1) Who/What was Tom Bombadil?

2) Do Balrogs have wings?

In other news, Led Zepplin reforms (2, Funny)

kannibul (534777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487805)

In other news, Led Zepplin reforms, stating that they have come across some new material.

Re:In other news, Led Zepplin reforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487887)

Ha, come on, mods. Misspellings of "Led Zeppelin" aside, parent should clearly be modded Funny.

Re:In other news, Led Zepplin reforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487889)

OK, for all you true nurds: There are three LOTR references in Led Zepplin songs. Name them.

Re:In other news, Led Zepplin reforms (1)

davebo357 (730081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488327)

Strider, darkest depths of Mordor, and ring wraith sride in black?

I read the first sentance too fast... (2, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487915)

"Christopher Walken has completed the last book of J.R.R. Tolkien from notes left from his father."
How awesome would that be?

Re:I read the first sentance too fast... (4, Funny)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488087)

"You see this ring, kid? It was your father's ring. He had to wear it up his ass during the entire war of Middle Earth. Hundreds of leagues he travelled with this ring up his ass. And now it's yours."

Re:I read the first sentance too fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18488187)


"Christopher Walken has completed the last book of J.R.R. Tolkien from notes left from his father."
How awesome would that be?


I suspect something like this...

"...The way your dad looked at it, this book was your birthright. He'd be damned if anybody gonna put their greasy hands on his boy's birthright. So, he hid it, in one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years he kept this book . . . up his ass. Then, he died of dysentery, he give me the book. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of papyrus up my ass two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the book to you."

Re:I read the first sentance too fast... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488359)

I could see the first comment he makes after reading his father's notes and story synopsis:

"It could use more cowbell." [wikipedia.org]

Quality gap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487953)

I found all of the dune prequels and Butlerian Jihad books to be well written and engaging. Of course they were not the same style but I wouldn't say there was a quality gap. They each had their own strengths. I just finished the sequel to Chapterhouse and have to admit it is a nice continuation of the story.

One thing I appreciate about Brian Herbert and his co-writer is they tend to show events rather than mention them in retrospect. This was something FH used to do that I sometimes found disturbing. This was especially true in the last few books of the original series.

As for tolkien... I think anything that his son produces would be interesting reading at the least and most likely a welcome addition to the mythos of middle earth. Especially anything dealing with Hurin... truly one of the most dramatic stories of the Silmarillion.

Book Cover (4, Funny)

Mr_Blank (172031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488153)

Judging the book by its cover [images-amazon.com] , the book will involve a guy who climbs a hill faster than some other guys who also are climbing that hill. Then, he will look at something. Maybe he will tell us about what he sees. Sounds thrilling!

Tolkien-like ? (2, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488235)

"It will be interesting to see how it stands up today alongside all the Tolkien-alike literature that we've become familiar with," said David Bradley

In my world there's nothing like what you could call "Tolkien-alike". Many have tried to ride the waves his writings have raised, still very few come even close to what he's accomplished. Maybe it's his background, maybe it's his decades' long knowledge in mythology, languages and literature, maybe it's his natural writing skill, maybe it's the timing, maybe it's all of these together that have resulted in a physical form that it's unique in so many ways. How will this new compilation be judged ? Supposing it's really good, it still will require a great effort to make it stand out from the oceans of fantasy bestseller wannabes these days.
 
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