Posts Tagged ‘J. R. R. Tolkien’

Tolkien and the Spirit of Amateurism

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Last Saturday, I had the rare opportunity of being interviewed about a topic people more often are attempting to shut me up about: that is, J. R. R. Tolkien and his influence on the modern world. (Requirement for someone’s college course paper, I believe.) No one reading this blog will be surprised to know that I had a lot to say, even in cases where I didn’t necessarily know a lot. But then, isn’t that’s what interviews are all about?


Classic SF&F You Should Have Read

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The idea started, as so many do, with good intentions. Life, the Universe and Everything, Utah’s annual symposium on science fiction and fantasy (previously held at BYU, though not for the last couple of years because BYU’s administration includes poopheads), is being chaired this year by my son. And it’s been a lot of years since I’ve gone. And my daughter wants to go too. And so I thought, why not? I can attend, catch up with friends, trade a Utah February for a Wisconsin February (not any real bargain there), heckle my son, get revved up on my sf&f writing — all that good stuff.

Well. That was before I looked at our bank balance and checked the price on airline tickets. Also before my creative writing juices ran out of steam last year, leaving me unsure that I can justify the expenditure on writerly grounds. And yet the idea, once entertained, was hard to dismiss. And so I am going next month (Feb. 14-16), with my daughter, and will be appearing on a panel on Tolkien with my old thesis advisor. And I’ll be doing a presentation on classic sf&f you should be reading, though honestly, I’m not exactly certain how I got into that one, except that I’m sure it involved incautious volunteering around people who were paying far too much attention.


The Writing Rookie #12: Realism and Artistic Convention

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Here’s a somewhat belated addition to my series based on insights from writing my first novel, No Going Back. For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.

Cross-posted from A Motley Vision website.

If art is, in part at least, the imitation of reality, it’s an imitation that’s largely bounded by and grounded in artistic convention. That’s something I’ve long been aware of from a literary/critical perspective, but writing a novel myself — and then seeing the reaction of different readers to the specific choices I made about where and how to be “realistic” — has borne that truth in on me in a particularly vivid fashion.