Monday, October 4, 2010
Rabbitman returns to Middle Earth
I like a lot of different styles of fiction although I'm reading less Science Fiction and Fantasy these days and more detective fiction. I think because I'm older and the main thrust of most SF/Fantasy fiction seems to be adolescent wish fulfillment for adventure, whereas detective novels are much more concerned with restoring the world to order. Or perhaps it's just the precocious heroic youths in these novels that bugs me. I rather like George R. R. Martins Fire and Ice series, but sometimes I think his child characters are too clever for the age they're supposed to be. If he'd made them all about 10 years older it might be better. Consequently, noir detective fiction like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, or the more modern Amos Walker stories by Loren D. Estleman and Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels have a stronger appeal.
Many people can't stand The Silmarillion, but they don't get it. It's not a light adventure like The Hobbit. It is Tolkien's creation myth that sets the scene for the events of Lord of the Rings. Obviously the scope of action and cast of characters is going to be a lot larger. Of course I liked to read Homer and Malory and Norse sagas in my university days, so I like the epic chronicle narrative style that he uses. The epic sweep of the tales is quite thrilling but also his sense of small events leading to great events and how the doom of the world can rotate upon an ill-concieved oath, or putting a ring into a pocket. Even though I know how it ends I still get choked up over the story of Beren and Luthien.
Middle Earth is for me a bit of a comfy blanket. I like the moral order and find reassurance in noble characters struggling against a rising darkness without hope or the promise of glory. They just do it because it's the right thing to do and keep faith that the sun will rise and victory will come unlooked for.