Forum Settings
       
Reply To Thread

Debate: Would Fantasy as we know it exist...Follow

#1 Aug 27 2007 at 7:07 AM Rating: Decent
Scholar
**
755 posts
...without J.R.R. Tolkein?

My opinion is absolutely not.

It might exist in some fashion, and thus would also exist - in some fashion - the multitude of life stealing things we call MMO's. But would it exist as it does today?

I don't think so.

In fact, I don't think Fantasy, as a sub-genre of fiction, would even exist. Gary Gygax, for example, was inspired by Tolkein (half of the original Chain Mail, basis for all RPG's and thus MMORPG's, was based loosely on Tolken). R.A. Salvator was inspired by Tolkein. Half or more of the Fantasy writers today were, to some degree, inspired by him.

So, in short - without Tolkein, there'd be no fantasy. No MMORPG's. Twice as many people with college degrees and a vastly lowered divorce rate! :D
____________________________
Leveling Help

chipstack wrote:
show us on the doll where the mean rogues touched you.
#2 Aug 27 2007 at 8:12 AM Rating: Decent
***
2,919 posts
I don't agree, there was a healthy dose of fantasy before and during Tolkien's publications.

I've actually read a theory that Tolkien even almost ruined fantasy by fixating so many people's ideas and imagination on his world and blocking out all other variations.

There is no denying that Tolkien has shaped the fantasy world, but the likes of Vance, Leiber, Sprague deCamp, Howard, LeGuin,... have proven that there is more than just Tolkien.
____________________________


#3 Aug 27 2007 at 8:12 AM Rating: Excellent
Liberal Conspiracy
*******
TILT
Gary Gygax always denied being overtly inspired by Tolkien, often even to the point of perhaps "protesting too much". He cited classic mythology, folklore, religion, midieval works (Arthur, St. George, Robin Hood, etc) and works by authors such as Leiber (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser), Howard (Conan), Burroughs (Tarzan & 'Lost World' style novels) and others as his primary inspiration. How much of that is directly true and how much is trumped up backlash against the annoyance of having his game compared to Tolkien is anyone's guess but the early AD&D DM's Guide & Player's Handbook talk a bit about the above authors in places and remain silent regarding the Professor.

Without Tolkien, I think the standard dwarf/elf/human paradigm as the anchor of high fantasy might be changed but that someone else would have been the catalyst for modern fantasy.
____________________________
Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#4 Aug 27 2007 at 8:19 AM Rating: Decent
***
1,982 posts
I had heard somewhere that Tolkien was the one who created the "multi-race world", i.e. Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, etc. Is there any truth to this claim?
____________________________
Nothing to see here...
#5 Aug 27 2007 at 8:31 AM Rating: Decent
Scholar
**
755 posts
Given Tolkein's work was the inspiration for several things - most notably the Hobbit, aka Halfling (as they were referred to) or 'little people' - in addition to Man playing a primary factor in the role/future of a fantasy kingdom - I have to wonder would we be better off without Tolkein?
____________________________
Leveling Help

chipstack wrote:
show us on the doll where the mean rogues touched you.
#6 Aug 27 2007 at 9:02 AM Rating: Excellent
Liberal Conspiracy
*******
TILT
Was the idea of mankind as the movers & shakers of the multi-racial (or multi-special) fantasy world a Tolkien invention? Pretty much every modern fantasy milieu makes up for human deficiences (don't live as long, worse eyesight, can't create magic axes in an hour) with some "Their short lives drive the destiny of the world" song and dance.
____________________________
Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#7 Aug 27 2007 at 12:09 PM Rating: Decent
***
2,919 posts
Quote:
I had heard somewhere that Tolkien was the one who created the "multi-race world", i.e. Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, etc. Is there any truth to this claim?


Mythology has plenty of stories like that. Especially the celtic ones I believe. (well, perhaps not plenty, but enough at least)

Jophiel does put it well as to how humans are now mostly portrayed in fantasy, that however was also somewhere in mythology. (I'll have to dig as to where I read stories with similar ideas though)
____________________________


#8 Aug 27 2007 at 12:23 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
**
755 posts
I guess my real question is where would fantasy be without Tolkein? Blackmoor's writer can say all he wants that he wasn't inspired at all by Tolkein, and Gygax can say the same thing - but how much truth is their in the statement?

Secretely I'm just trying to inspire life in =5.

Edited, Aug 27th 2007 2:24pm by vyodar
____________________________
Leveling Help

chipstack wrote:
show us on the doll where the mean rogues touched you.
#9 Aug 27 2007 at 12:43 PM Rating: Decent
***
2,919 posts
http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.html?id=953

This is an article by Michael Moorcock, there are some elements regarding Tolkien in it.

I tracked it down from this site actually: http://www.fantasybookspot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=342
____________________________


#10 Aug 27 2007 at 2:03 PM Rating: Excellent
****
7,466 posts
As we know it? Probably not exactly, but I imagine it would be close. While many people credit Tolkein with almost the birth of the fantasy genre, others would have come along if he didn't. Besides that, it's not that large of a jump from mythology to fantasy to back. I mean what is Narsil but a modified Excalibur? The sword of the king ring any bells? Only able to be wielded (at full power) by one person. Basically unbeatable in battle, though some could argue that when it broke it was beaten, but it still stayed sharp and did strike the "fatal" blow vs Sauroun... of course, then Isildur fell to the power of the ring... but that wasn't the sword's fault.
____________________________
In a distant land, sink into the darkness...
#11 Aug 27 2007 at 6:45 PM Rating: Good
*****
11,742 posts
God you're a dork Tomec. Yes fantasy would exist, and probably along the same lines that it is now. There would still be people like Gygax, Salvatore, Card, etc. But I do think that Tolkien spawned many knock off authors along the lines of Dennis McKiernan. Some people have great imaginations while others don't. Even if Tolkien never existed people would still write the stories that many of us love to read. I was kidding by the way Tomec Smiley: thumbsup
#12 Aug 27 2007 at 6:47 PM Rating: Excellent
Liberal Conspiracy
*******
TILT
Brill wrote:
But I do think that Tolkien spawned many knock off authors along the lines of Dennis McKiernan.
There's no "think" about it. McKiernan admits straight up in his Forward that he was attempting to write a story in the Tolkien tradition.
____________________________
Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#13 Aug 27 2007 at 6:49 PM Rating: Good
*****
11,742 posts
Quote:
There's no "think" about it. McKiernan admits straight up in his Forward that he was attempting to write a story in the Tolkien tradition.

"Tradition?" His Iron Tower trilogy is practically plagiarism with how many things he has stolen from Tolkien.
#14 Aug 27 2007 at 8:16 PM Rating: Excellent
Liberal Conspiracy
*******
TILT
I suppose. It didn't bother me since, as I said, he was straight-forward about it and I found the trilogy (and the Silver Call duology) to be enjoyable reads nonetheless.

If I had to choose between those and hack work like the Drizzt novels, there's no contest.
____________________________
Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#15 Aug 28 2007 at 7:39 AM Rating: Decent
Scholar
**
755 posts
Its hard to see the Drizzt books as 'good'. Regardless of how taleneted Salvatore is - and he is talented, see The Crimson Shadow series - the books in the Drizzt series as well as all published by TSR are written by comittee. Or at least the entire characterization and plot outline is thought up by a group of bored executives, then assigned to a write who basically fleshes it out.

Or used to be anyway, I haven't read their writing guidelines in the last few years.
____________________________
Leveling Help

chipstack wrote:
show us on the doll where the mean rogues touched you.
#16 Aug 28 2007 at 8:28 AM Rating: Excellent
Liberal Conspiracy
*******
TILT
The first six Dragonlance novels were sent through "committee" (to hear Weis & Hickman describe the process) and yet Weis & Hickman managed to make them not suck. I won't pretend that they're worthy of being studied College Lit. in 300 years but they were 'good' books for paperback fiction.

Azure Bonds was my favorite Forgotten Realms novel (the next two sucked) although that's damning it with faint praise. The absolute worst was the novelization of Pool of Radiance. If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, he deserves to have his corpse dug up and punched in the head for one day bringing Pool of Radiance upon us.

Drizzt is... okay, sort of, but hardly deserving of its fanboy legions. It's obvious that it's a bunch of dorks who said "Wow! He's like, an evil elf turned vigilante for good and has two scimitars and is like all ninja and **** and that was enough to overlook the lousy writing and horribly cliched characters. I wrote a rant about it once -- I'll have to dig it back up.
____________________________
Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#17 Aug 28 2007 at 8:32 AM Rating: Excellent
Liberal Conspiracy
*******
TILT
I once wrote:
Ok. Major **** about the whole Drizzt thing.

#1: Every character, aside from perhaps Drizzt, is a foil. The large, mighty warrior who is naive in the ways of love. The feisty, beautiful warrior maiden. The trouble making halfling who draws the party into adventure. The gruff dwarf who proves to have a tender heart*. Hell, that was half the party from the Dragonlance saga... and I'm not claiming Weis & Hickman were in any way innovative when they did it either. It's an ensemble cast but the only character whose life story can't be summed up in seven words or less is Drizzt.

#2: You don't care about anyone. This is probably related to #1. Do I care if Bruenor finds his ancient homeland? No, I do not. Why not? Because I don't give a rat's **** about the dwarf. Do I care if Wulfgar and Tika-- I mean Cattie Brie hook up? No, I do not. Why? Because of course they're going to hook up. This leads to some boring **** plotlines when none of the characters are fleshed out and their motives fall flat. Face it, you just read to the end of the Halfling's Gem to see Drizzt and Entriti (or whoever) fight and see if it was going to be a win for Drizzt or if they would tie since Drizzt obviously wasn't going to lose.

#3: Flat villians. 90% of the villians you barely remember are there, such as the evil wizard guy, the evil wizard chick and.. umm.. whoever. Then you have anti-Drizzt Enteiri (again, however its spelled) who is almost a parody of himself as he oh-so-dangerously-and-smoothly kills every minor character in the second two books.

#4: Whatever plot twists there were were quickly mitigated. Bruenor is dead! No he isn't! Cattie Brie is dead! No she isn't! Regis is dead! No he isn't! How many deus ex machina plot resolutions can you fit into a trilogy? I've heard that in the later books, Wulfgar finally bites it. Good for him.

#5: By the time you reach the prequel, even the one character with any depth is about done. He's a dark elf. But he's not evil. He's haunted by how mean his people are. He's the Mack Daddy with the scimitars. Ok, we get it.

#6: This is about the prequel trilogy but... what the **** was with some of those plots? Drizzt fighting Evil Zaknaf-whatnot on a bridge over a lake of acid with "Drizzt.. I am your father!!"?? WTF? Drizzt being trained as the bumbling apprentice to the aged but experienced blind ranger who can still hit a gnat with a thrown dagger at 500 feet? Was this written after viewing a bad kung fu movie? Why did the editor never stop and call Salvatore and say "Umm... R.A... about this scene you lifted from Star Wars..."?

Don't get me wrong. The books are better than most TSR Press pulp fantasy. If you read them as fantasy fluff, they're okay. But the amount of adoration they recieve is bewildering.

*Has there ever been a fantasy novel where the gruff dwarf turns out to just be an asshole instead of revealing his tender heart of gold? I don't think so
I followed up with wrote:
Well, I'm not saying Salvatore "sucks" so much as that the whole Drizzt thing is over-rated. My opinion, of course, all literature being subjective.

I don't totally agree that literature based on a serial world has to be horrible. Granted, Drizzt & Co. couldn't have very well killed Elminster or something within the confines of the Forgotten Realms milieu but we had no idea prior to Crystal shard who any of these folks were. If Cattie Brie was eaten by a yeti, it wouldn't have exactly shattered the foundations of Toril. Same as the Dragonlance Chronicles, really. Granted there they were also building Krynn from the ground up but Weis & Hickman were free to actually kill off major characters because the character were only major within the confines of the Chronicles.

I keep referring to Dragonlance, by the way, because I think the first six books were one of the best examples of good pulp fantasy. They weren't Tolkien (I'm not even sure if Tolkien was Tolkien, if you know what I mean) but they were well written for a TSR branded paperback and I assume most people familiar with the Icewind Dale trilogy are familiar with Chronicles. Anyway, Weis & Hickman did a much better job of filling out their characters, for example Caramon was still a big strong guy but he had motivation with his brother and Tika. Flint was more interesting (to me) than Bruenor and plays against Tasslehoff better than Regis. Some were still pretty two-dimensional -- I could have done without Riverwind and Goldmoon completely. I know Goldmoon's importance to the story, but she really has no personality and about all Riverwind does is stand by Goldmoon and glower a lot. Likewise, Tika is what she is: naive pretty girl who is thrown into being a wannabe warrior. On the other hand, Weis & Hickman were juggling a lot of characters. There's a quote in Art of Dragonlance collection where one of them is talking about how they had to keep reviewing chapters to make sure everyone had some face time because they kept forgetting the "lesser" main characters.

Dragonlance had better villians as well. I'd take Raistlin, Kitiara and Lord Soth over the maroons from the Salvatore books any day. Even seemingly indestructable Soth wasn't overplayed like Enteri seemed to be. Plus he had a cooler history Smiley: wink

Anyway, I'll say that the Icewind Dale trilogy is a lot better than TSR **** piles like Spellfire and Pool of Radiance. My favorite Forgotten Realms set novel remains Azure Bonds which is kinda cheesy, but good fun. The other two "Wyvernspur Trilogy" books were written as obvious afterthoughts when Azure Bonds sold well and simply capitalize on the AB name.


Edited, Aug 28th 2007 11:34am by Jophiel
____________________________
Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#18 Aug 28 2007 at 12:51 PM Rating: Good
*****
11,742 posts
I never was a huge fan of the Drizzt series. It was ok. I did like the series about Wulfgar though. I thought it was heads above all the other Forgotten Realms books Salvatore had written. Spine of the World I particularly enjoyed. I still love the Legend of Huma by Richard Knaak though. It's not that it was particularly fantastic book or anything. It was just enjoyable to read about the person who "shaped" the knighthood into what it became.
#19 Aug 29 2007 at 3:17 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
**
755 posts
Just to keep things alive...

...would Tolkein approve of what has been done in his name? The movies, the games, etc?
____________________________
Leveling Help

chipstack wrote:
show us on the doll where the mean rogues touched you.
Reply To Thread

Colors Smileys Quote OriginalQuote Checked Help

 

Recent Visitors: 12 All times are in CDT
Aethien, Anonymous Guests (11)