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Default Stardock's Elemental Revealed @ Edge Online

November 7th, 2008, 12:41
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
One may dispute Tolkiens literary ability (with some justice, as mentioned above) but there is no sensible deniying of his enormous importance for the development of western (pop) culture since. So "taking serious" may have different connotations and depends on context. In that sense Doyle is actually an excellent comparison. Not high literature either, but hugely influential and genre defining as well.
Of course, that Tolkien is influential is beyond doubt. But sometimes I think the genre would have been better off without--imagine how much more interesting fantasy today might be if, to pick a random example, Zelazny's Lord of Light had been as popular as LOTR. Then again, Lord of Light is probably too weird for some people, as it goes way outside of the average westerner's familiar grounds, does interesting things with culture and roots itself as much in Buddhism/Hinduism as in western ideals. Tolkien, on the other hand, hits the spot for a lot of people because he offers the comfortable--good and evil and moral absolutes, fighting to restore the status quo, affirming the longing for a romanticized medieval Europe that never actually existed, steeping itself in tried western mythology. In fact, there's absolutely nothing challenging about LOTR. You read it for feel-good escapism, you read it for the same reason you'd go watch Disney titles. Which is fine, but let's not pretend it's anything else.

Mind you, Tolkien was an excellent scholar, there is no denying; far better a scholar than he was a writer, in fact. I like reading his essays much more than his fiction.
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