Tokien withdrawal

I’m approaching the end of my second reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and am worried. What next? I read some of the Silmarillon before, but its much too dry.

When I was smitten with Lovecraft, I couldn’t begin to cover all the following writers of the Cthulhu mythos. Some of these, like Robert Bloch for instance, were quite good. Are there similar Tolkien followers?

I recently finished all of The Silmarillion. It took me… two tries between about 15 years to accomplish this. I believe this is longer than it took for Harry & Sally to get together. If you want to fill in the details, you could always try the other Middle-earth stories like Book of Lost Tales. You get 2 parts!

unfinished tales is very good…as well as both of the books of lost tales.
UfT goes age by age and has short stories to fill in about some characters (like how the hunt for the ring was conducted, or why gandalf chose bilbo)…BoLT both deal with early versions of stuff in the Sil.

some people also recommend CS Lewis to follow up on Tolkien because they were good friends, but Narnia never did it for me.

Stephen R. Donaldson has his moments.

I recommend his first Thomas Covenant trilogy (Lord Foul’s Bane, The Illearth War, The Power That Preserves) but not his second.

I also liked his Mordant duology (The Mirror of Her Dreams, A Man Rides Through).

Donaldson’s a bit different from Tolkien. Both these series have protagonists who get transported from our world into a sword-and-sorcery world. Thomas Covenant refuses to believe the other world exists; he believes it’s a very complex dream. Terisa Morgan, the Mordant protagonist, has a hard time believing in her own existence. Give 'em a try.

Re: Simarillion; I am about 20 chapters in and have found the chapters describing battles, and the like (beren, feanor, etc etc) to be excellent, really enjoyable, and tantermount to some of the best parts of LoTR. BUt i found the solely geographical chapters such as the one on ‘Belerind(SP?)’ to be incredible dull, and found it impossible not to keep reading and re-reading bits because i was losing my place. I don’t think its because im a simple reader who only likes fighting (far from it) its just i think Tolkein went a bit overboard with some of the details, too many names to process for the brain (especially when you get 2(sometimes 3) versions in 2 (or 3) languages (2 of which are made up!))

re Silmarillion: Don’t forget it was put together by Tolkien’s son. It might have been more readable had JRR been able to get it all ready for publication himself.

Anyway. there’s only one LOTR. After I read that it first way back in my youth I turned to other novels, but not fantasy. Recently there was a thread here on this Board that had people recommending lots and lots of interesting sounding fantasy books. I’ll try to dig out that thread for you.

Read the appendices in RotK, it you haven’t already. Also you can go to the “If LoTR was written by someone else” thread here. Do it on a day when the servers are slow, and you’ll find it easy to kill LOTS of time.

Get The Silmarillion on CD. Its very soothing to listen to. Then get Fonstad’s Atlas of Middle Earth and look at the nice maps and paragraphs that help clarify just what’s going on.

Then move on to UT, and all 12 volumes of History of Middle Earth Series (hereafter called HOMES).

Or pick up some of the works of Guy Gavriel Kay (who helped edit The Silmarillion with CJRT) for some truly derivative works.

Thanks for all the info.

I’ll add to this that I have read Tolkien’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and loved it. It is an alliterative form, meaning that each line has at least three words beginning with the same consonant. Try reading it out loud if you get a chance.

I’ve tried reading Tolkien’s other works, and haven’t been impressed, (TGWATY – you liked his translation of Sir Gawaine? I hated it! Read the Penguin edition). LOTR seems to be about the only thing he wrote in that “popular” style, midway between the “listen to uncle, children” style of The Hobbit and the dry scholarship of The Silmarillion. Some of the stuff in The Book of Lost Tales comes close to the style I like, but precious little of it.

Stuff by Tolkien:

**Smith of Wooten Major and Farmer Giles of Ham

The Tolkien Reader

Leaf by Niggle

Sire Gawaine and the Green Knight, Sir Orfeo, and Pearl**

I found all of these heavy going. There’s the History of Middle Earth series, too, but I couldn’t get into that. If you’re really into it, you can dig up his scholarly work (“Beowulf and the Critics”), but “The Homecoming of Beortnoth Beorthelm’s Son” in The Tolkien Reader put me off that.
There’s a lot of adult fantasy out there, but it’s generally not in Tolkien’s style. Try T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, his take on King Arthur. Excellent reading, and far superior to the stuff nominally based on it

I wrote an excellent post for this thread yesterday, but once again it was eaten by the hungry internet message board gods. In it I suggested that The Silmarillion be approached as a historical text instead of a novel, how reading it can enhance the richness of one’s experience of Middle-Earth in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and a lot of other really excellent and great things. In fact, it was one of the finest posts I had written in awhile. I would venture to say that it ranked right up there with some of my posts that were eaten in the winter of aught-two.

Alas, the post is gone, and I am left with only the memories :frowning:

I too recommend The Silmarillion on tape/CD. I got a copy from a friend and found it very enjoyable. One thing that a reader misses out on when going over the text is how the words sound, and the audio version allows one to hear the richness of the language.

If you’d like to read some of Tolkein’s influences, may I suggest Beowulf or Macbeth. Should you be able to finish all of Macbeth, you will detect a couple of familiar plot points regarding Ents and Eowyn.

Both of these books are terrific reads all on their own, without any reference to JRRT.

Of what do you consider “The Sarantine Mosaic” and Tigana to be derivative? You’re slagging a very good fantasy writer’s entire career in a very off-hand way here, and I wonder if you mean it.

Thanks! I’ll do that.

Dude, you misspelt The Professors name in the title of the thread! You should get 30 days in the hole for this, but I’ll let it slide this time. :wink:

But seriously, you have two assignments:

1)Finish The Silmarillion!

2)Read Unfinished Tales.
The Hobbit
The Silmarillion
Unfinished Tales

Everyone needs to read these four books, in the order listed. If you then move on the HOMES series, great, you rock!

One important thing about the Silmarillion that most people don’t realize, upon first attempting it: The published volume contains several separate works. While I greatly enjoyed the Valaquenta and the Ainulindule, they are not necessary to enjoy the tales in the Silmarillion proper. If, like many readers, you find the opening pieces too dry, just skip over them.

The same is true to a lesser extent of the stories within the Silmarillion. It helps, for instance, to know and understand Luthien’s lineage when reading “The Tale of Beren and Luthien”, but all you really need to know is that she’s the most beautiful maiden ever to walk the Earth, which is made quite clear in that tale.

I would not recommend Lost Tales if you just want a good story; they’re more of interest to folks who are approaching Tolkien and his works as a subject of study. Unfinished Tales, by contrast, is excellent, but because the tales are unfinished, you’ll miss a lot of important context if you haven’t already read The Silmarillion.

Well, having read his Fionavar Trilogy stuff: Dwarves, elves who sail into the West, a high kingdom with its heir in exile, an evil power gaining ascendancy after many years, traitorous mages, a nation of horse riders! (to quote a fansite) There’s no way I can’t think of his writing as derivative. Sorry, but that was my first (and last) experience with him. Better than Terry Brooks by far, but it was far, far too reminiscent of JRRT for my tastes.

Scores of authors have written books set in the Cthulhu Mythos of Lovecraft. This is done as an homage, not because they’re too lazy. Derivative is not always bad.

Aren’t there writers who explicitly set their stories in the Middle Earth of Tolkien? I would be surprised to learn there none.

Well, there was a volume put out called “After the King” about stories inspired by JRRT. But they certainly weren’t in the JRRT universe. Doubtless the lawyers would have something to say about that if they had been. Certainly there is fanfiction in JRRT’s universe, but that’s outside of the realm which the estate of JRRT can control.

And the Fionavar trilogy certainly wasn’t set in JRRT’s universe either. It was just that on every other page I was amazed at new similarities to Tolkien’s creation. When I learned that Kay had helped edit The Silmarillion I was taken aback that an actual JRRT scholar would model a world so very closely on Middle-Earth.

Other than that, I admit Fionavar trilogy was a compelling story, far better than anything Brooks wrote. But the wholesale borrowing got to me, and I didn’t read his other stuff. Perhaps I should, but there you have it.

I am not much into fantasy and science fiction the reason is that it’s very hard to find that kind of books in my country. Anyway:

  1. As many already mentioned Tolike has many good shorts stories. In fact I consider Leaf of Niggle to be the work of a genious. Just great

  2. Almost at the same level that LOTR are, IMHO, “Amber’s Chronicles” by Roger Zelazny and “Songs of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin. They are magnificent.

  3. You can always read another genre. I can gice you great recomendations in latin american authors. As an example, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is perhaps the greatest author in a genre called “magical realism”, check his books.