(urth) tolkien's successors

Nathan Spears spearofsolomon at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 1 19:13:34 PST 2004

I think what he was getting at was that Tolkien had broken some fundamentally new
fantastic ground, in a unique way.  He created a world from scratch; even though it
was informed and influenced from many sources, it's still infused with its own life.
 I think the question was more along the lines of, "Who is being earth-shatteringly
and uncompromisingly original?"

One of the things I love about Tolkien is that he doesn't have an agenda; I don't
think he's even as interested in searching for truth in some grand sense as Wolfe
is.  You can try to read that into his work, but I think that he tries to tell a
powerful story, and that a side-effect of a powerful story is that it has to be
true, or have enough truth to resonate with us.

Let me clarify a little bit:  Tolkien deliberately includes "true" things like
linguistic evolution in LotR and the history of Middle Earth, but I don't feel the
same applies to larger themes like his beliefs about God and salvation, or the
beauty of creation, or the bittersweet nature of life for men on earth.  I feel that
these themes infuse his work because he believes them so deeply that they can't help
but surface in his writing; this differs from the tone of many modern writers of
fantasy who seem to be aiming to entertain and teach us, rather than to tell us a
story that happens to resonate with what they believe.

I don't know if anyone is trying to do that anymore.  I get a sense of that from
LeGuin, but she definitely picks her topics deliberately.  I don't mind it because
she is so intelligent and such a wonderful storyteller.

--- James Wynn <thewynns at earthlink.net> wrote:

> >I'd like people's ideas about who they think is
> >working in the same vein as Tolkien.
> Isn't this a bit like asking of the mystery genre, "who is working in the
> same vein as Arthur Conan Doyle?"
> It seems to me that the only current fantasy writers not furthering the
> school of Tolkien are placed in the Horror genre.
> Surely all fantasy writers today must say -with apologies to Nixon- "We're
> all Tolkienites now".
> ~ Crush
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