Comparatively Fantastic! Our favourite authors

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Postby Tiffany » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:31 pm

You do have to check them before you buy :D I find brand new unopened ones sometimes as well. Got the whole series of Gerald Harpers Adam Adamant for £4 unopened a few months ago. He reminds me so much of an old fiancé :lol:
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:34 pm

Blimey, I remember that series. Now I feel really old. :shock:
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Postby chris.ph » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:44 pm

i dont is it in b&w :lol:
measuring intelligence by exam results is like measuring digestion by turd length
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:57 pm

It was on the BBC in 1966. Real shades of Austin Powers in that it was a man frozen in a block of ice and revived. Only Adam had been frozen at the turn of the century and was brough back to life in the 60s.

Adam Adamant Lives.

:oops: I think it was me that started this digression - sorry. :oops:
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Postby chris.ph » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:23 pm

showing your age tony cant remember it mind you i was -3 in 66 :lol:
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Postby Tiffany » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:04 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Blimey, I remember that series. Now I feel really old. :shock:


I adored that series, Tony :D
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Postby chris.ph » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:32 pm

if you read the pax brittania books or the nightside books by simon r green they both have victorian adventurers as a hero even if the nightside victorian is a side character
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:21 pm

I didn't see Adam Adamant as the parental local control wanted to watch something else I think - or it was on after I was sent to bed.... :P

Sorry I've been quiet in here - have had some tough stuff to get through this week and didn't have the time (or more importantly the inclination) to come into this thread at all - and elsewhere I was only up for short(ish) posts.

Victorian/Edwardian adventurers were pretty cool all in all and some like Richard Hannay (John Buchan: 39 steps; Prisoner of Zenda etc) and Allan Quatermain (Rider Haggard; King Solomon's Mines; She etc) are still 'rattling good' yarns today. I've read KSM and She and found them rather stodgy in style, but the imagination of the historic and mythic elements in both those books is interesting from the embryonic modern fantasy-writing perspective - Quatermain certainly is a template for Indiana Jones for instance, although not an academic by any stretch of the imagination! :lol: Surprsingly too Haggard was something of a liberal and had Quatermain fairly well disposed towards tribal Africans and their political autonomy, and certainly for it's time the books aren't particularly colonialist in the 'me white hunter, you shut up and carry the tents' manner.

See - still no JRRT! Aren't I good! :twisted:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:07 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:See - still no JRRT! Aren't I good! :twisted:

But it's much more fun to be bad and this thread needs bumping anyway :twisted:

I think I'd have to toss a coin between Pterry and Tolks as to who was my favourite author and actually I'd then have to do a knockout toss between the winner and Jane Austen who was, had the typewriter been invented, possibly the greatest (consistent) writer this country's ever produced... But it wasn't, so sorry Janey - I really wish you'd been born in WW2, lived in LA (or possibly in San Francisco 1st wearing a flower in your hair) because you'd have been a truly kickass screenwriter/director - maybe that's an idea for another thread actually: What if XXX author had been born in the 20th Cent (or whenever).

And already I digress! :P OK we know Pterry's a huge fave of mine, but JRRT Tolkien is as well to the point of and way beyond obsession. And now I'm going to contradict myself kind of because I freely admit I haven't read all his books or even half of them, and what's more I don't intend to either, because TBH they're a pain in the bum to read. I'm still convinced that The Silmarillion - as a book to curl up in bed with - is in fact the sovereign cure for insomnia (actually it isn't but that's just me :evil: ). And the Sil's Gone with the Wind compared with such potboilers as The History of Arda - Morgoth's Ring :roll: or - gods forbid - The Children of Hurin (I want to shake Turin to death for being the most boringly annoying gung ho prat ever and drown soppy Nienor a lot earlier because she's so erm... wet :evil:) I actually own a deluxe HB edition of TCOH - but that was for the illustrations (Alan Lee is a brilliant artist).

However, this doesn't matter because The Sil etc aren't supposed to be for reading for pleasure - they're lore... In fact it's not even lore for the die-hard Tolkien geeks - it's 'canon' as in 'canon law' (yes that's law not lore) - because what the Prof (or the Master as some people prefer :roll: ) wrote is in fact gospel truth and woe-betide you if you dare to question such mysteries as -

'did Balrog's have wings' (answer no - or if they did they didn't use them to fly much since they always got killed by falling off tall buildings or places with predictable regularity) or

'was it really Meriadoc Took who killed the Witchking of Angmar on the Pelennor Fields' (and not Eowyn who simply chopped his block off...' (answer - who cares, the legend is 'no man' could kill the nasssty Nazgul so probably it was a team effort) or

'what happened to the Entwives' (answer - who cares, period)

The officers of the lore will angonise and argue the toss over a period of days, if not weeks or months, over burning issues such as these on the plethora of fan forums out there, and that is why LotR and the Sil, with Unfinished Tales and the History of Arda are like the four bastion tenets of Middle Earth fandom and all within them are reverently analysed minutely and generally treated like the Holy Grail of fantasy literature. That and the languages (Sindarin (very Welsh with a smattering of other Gaelic mutations) Quenya (god knows – some germanic influences as it has a lot of umlauts) for the Elves; Saxon the Rohirrim: and for the baddies Black Speech - actually a derivative of barbarian Goth and Varangian... :roll: ) make JRRT's literary oeuvre completely compelling for people from all walks of life, for a variety of reasons.

Part of the allure is that all this canon lore isn't in fact set in stone, because the guy who wrote and developed it all was constantly changing his mind - like originally there was no Frodo or indeed Legolas characters in LotR (possibly a killer for box office options) - or recycling bits and pieces like the Balrog killings (Gandalf's duel on the Bridge was in fact a re-gurgitation of not 1 but 2 earlier fights during the Fall of Gondolin where Glorfindel did for one on a mountainside and Ecthelion killed 3 of the buggers on top of a tower... and none of these fire demons could glide or flap those wings if they had them, see! :wink: )

Me, I just like a good story and that is mostly what LotR is - on a grand scale. When you sit down and analyse this though, it's full of holes and if you haven't read the Hobbit (I read that afterwards) it’s really frustrating and you keep having to look at the prologue or appendix to find out who the hell Gil-galad or Elendil were and still get confused when they're yelling Elbereth Gilthoniel all the time, thinking they're two heroes when in fact you find out it's actually just more names for an angel-like deity (female) called Varda who 'made' the stars - it's enough to drive you nuts but it all seems to coalesce into this gorgeous mythic miasma that really is a kind of fascinating magic. I fell in love in other words on that first reading, even though there was tons I didn't understand - and when I finished it I went straight back to the beginning and read it all again - five times in a row in the summer of 1969. The Hobbit to be frank was a disappointment when I got around to it, not because it is for kids (although like Terry's 'young adult' work it's fine for grown ups too) but because the characters in common (except Bilbo who's great in both books) like Gandalf and Elrond are completely different to how they are in LotR - Elrond's an ‘Elf friend’ for instance, instead of the Half-Elf Lord (with a bit of Maia in there) in the later book.

See - it's completely mesmeric the more you go into it and this is why it has achieved and continues to attract a huge cult fanbase. It really is another world with its own creation myth, geography (The Atlas of Tolkien's Middle Earth is currently my favourite reference book), history spanning 10,000 years or more, cultures and languages. Tolkien was an uber-geek in fact. Call that geek an academic and you have the key to JRRT's obsession with his own creation and you're already halfway to realising why you've fallen in love...

Terry has said that the Discworld (aside from being a disc not a globe) is Middle Earth 500 years on and at the start of an Industrial Revolution. He's right I think - well he would be wouldn't he? :lol: If you add 'with a sense of humour' onto that theory then it certainly holds water :)
Tolkien's work isn't original (it has many derivations and sources including Nordic myth and Arthurian and Atlantean legend), so much as deeply developmental, and so his books on Middle Earth deservedly became much-loved classics. Very different to Pterry's work, but they both achieve a inner life of their own inside the reader’s mind with a very keen sense of integral reality once you're hooked into them.

The places and people become solid and attractive or repellent and take on a life of their own. I would love to be able to live in Middle Earth as my main Tolkien RP character (Janowyn the elf) - but I'd take my holidays on the Discworld I think! (maybe not as an elf though…) :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:59 pm

Nice summary Jan! :D (if you can call a post that big a summary :wink: )

I have to admit that last year was the first time I ever read LOTR, although I read The Hobbit a long time ago. My feelings while I was reading it was that I was scratching the surface of something HUGE.

When I was in school we were still (at least for one term) doing Classical studies and this is what it was like. The Greek myths all seem to be interconnected. You read one myth and you get references to many others. It's like doing a jigsaw and finding pieces of another jigsaw in the box. You might complete the one puzzle, but then you've also got bits of another one and want to see how that turns out.

The way I can see it, that can either go two ways - you can read the book and then go and find out the pieces of the other stories and see how they all interconnect - or you don't bother. :lol:

I personally found the thought of all that other stuff somewhat daunting and decided, at least for now, that I'd enjoy LOTR and leave it at that. I also felt that JRR wasn't the greatest of descriptive writers. We don't really learn a lot about what our heroes and villains actually look like - we just get a vague sketch of them. Terry does this as well and I don't altogether think it's a bad idea as it promotes us to use our imaginations. But that is one of the reasons that 'casting' threads cause so much argument with Discworld, and I imagine Middle Earth. Everyone has their own idea what these characters look like.

Did I enjoy LOTR? Well yes and no. Some of it was really good and I enjoyed it a lot, but some of it was really annoyingly superfluous (to my mind) and I thought the Prof was just rambling on. I'll probably read the books again some day and who knows whether I'll look into the rest of his writing. For a start I'd kind of like to know why he thinks "cellar door" is such a wonderful phrase. :lol:
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Postby silverstreak » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:12 pm

Haven't read LotR in many a long year.
I used to enjoy reading it with background music.The main records
used were:Tubular Bells,most albums by Yes,Emmerson,Lake and Palmer's Pictures at an Exhibition and sundrie others.

Those were the days.
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:23 pm

silverstreak wrote:I used to enjoy reading it with background music.The main records
used were:Tubular Bells,most albums by Yes,Emmerson,Lake and Palmer's Pictures at an Exhibition and sundrie others.

Those were the days.
Now you're talking! :D Although I played Tubular Bells so much I got sick to death of it and gave it away. :lol:

ELP's Pictures at an Exhibition is the album that got me into Classical Music as I loved it so much I bought the Mussorgsky version.
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Postby silverstreak » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:29 pm

Goes well with LohR to.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:48 pm

Tony - :lol: I could have written much more so you got off lightly! :twisted:

I know what you mean with the 'unnecessary' bits and in fact when I used to re-read it at first I generally skipped the Tom Bombadil bit (except for the Barrow Downs - which has a nude scene in it! :lol: - when the hobbits captured by the barrow-wight have to get changed out of their grave-robes) and even the Lothlorien section. Generally I did this when I was reading the book to my younger sisters and Tom Bombadil chapter certainly adds nothing to the story itself. I also used to leave out the poetry mostly. Some of Bilbo's stuff is quite nice but the rest are :roll: I still think that Tolkien isn't that great a poet except in the heroic/epic sense, as those pre-medieval forms are really interesting as stories.

But once I'd matured I did start to read the Lothlorien part again as that is of course very important to the story (who doesn't remember Cate Blanchett reversing out in the Mirror scene - and her speech there is virtually carbon-copied from the book visually (with her form darkening etc) as well as verbally.) Tolkien is a b*gger on descriptions, but he can do them really well no trouble - the Eye of Sauron is fully depicted in that scene and Peter Jackson had the best template possible for the CGI guys to interpret :) I have to agree with you (and be thankful) that both Pterry and Tolks more often get on with the story and let the reader be a part of internal visualising, however as a sometime illustrator, there is quite a lot of descriptive writing in there on locations more than character to be sure that is a tribute to PJ's faithfullness (mostly anyway) to the books because for the most part the scenery was spot on - the Argonath in particular, but many more, including Rivendell were so perfectly brought to life.

Once you do get into exploring the layers in LotR even the Tom Bombadil bit is actually quite important in the book because there are concepts in there relating to the Ring and it's inherent evil as Frodo 'hallucinates' about Gandalf's imprisonment in Isengard for instance - how did the Ring know about Gandalf's connection to Frodo is something that's a fascinating aspect to discuss and shows how its partially sentient... Also where Pippin and Merry get swallowed by Old Man Willow and are rescued by Tom - Fangorn wasn't the only place that had Ents and Huorns!
:wink:
See how geeky I really am now! :twisted:

Silverstreak - I used to do that too! :D Do you remember there was a LotR album as well - by Bo Hansen a Swede I think? He was a friend of Jimi Hendrix and there were some ace synthesiser stuff on the LP. Happy days indeed! :P
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:02 pm

I sort of got the feeling that Tom Bombadil, although really annoying, could have been important. It seemed almost as if JRR painted himself into a corner with Tom though. The Hobbits get into terrible trouble, Tom turns up and the trouble goes away. It was too easy. And it left the question of why didn't they give the ring to Tom - which Gandalf (IIRC) manages to explain away.

It's a bit like mobile phones in movies - in the past when someone was being chased by a serial killer there was no way they could call for help. Now that everyone has a mobile it's too easy to call the police. So they have to write into the script that the phone is broken, stolen, out of battery, out of range or whatever. It seems that after creating Tom Bombadil JRR then realised that he couldn't actually use him. :)

If that makes sense.
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