Thursday 18 June 2009

Miéville on Tolkien: "Tolk gives good monster!"

After Richard Morgan's 'essay' on Tolkien (you know, the one that completely fails to take The Silmarillion into consideration and insinuates that anyone who likes Tolkien is intellectually-challenged) I suspected it would only be a matter of time before another author wrote some sort of response.

However, I didn't think it would be China Miéville that would do so - the same man who infamously dismissed Tolkien as "the wen on the arse of fantasy literature." Recent years have witnessed a gradual change in Miéville's opinion of Tolkien, culminating on his new article Five Reasons Tolkien Rocks.

Although he doesn't directly state that this is a response to Morgan's piece, Miéville seems to indicate that it is, by saying, "every few years, certain as tides, someone will write a splenetic screed against the Professor, explaining why he's the devil/ worst things to happen to fantasy/voice of reaction/zomg most boring writer EVER /etc. The Oedipal Resentment motivating many of these attacks may be trivially obvious, especially in those from within fantastic fiction..."

Anyway, it's a well-written article that's definitely worth a read. I particularly like the moments where Miéville's inner geek breaks loose, such as where he discusses the Watcher in the Water - "Dude. That totally was cool. I mean, say what you like about him, Tolk gives good monster. Shelob, Smaug, the their astounding names, the fearful verve of their descriptions, their various undomesticated malevolence, these creatures are utterly embedded in our world-view. No one can write giant spiders except through Shelob: all dragons are sidekicks now. And so on."


lawyerjourno said...

Nice blog.. I liked you qualification too. Perhaps that gives you perspective.

Mark Newton said...

I noticed that China made a pro-Tolkien comment on the BBC documentary on Fantasy, but I'm glad that he wrote that post. A lot of cool points there.