Episode 64
July 1, 2024

I’m Not Even in Japan, I’m in a Different Country Entirely!

Hosted by Jared Pechaček, Ned Raggett, and Oriana Schwindt

Jared, Oriana and Ned discuss Ned’s choice of topic: resisting Tolkien. With Jared’s long-awaited and happily long-hyped-by-us debut novel The West Passage due later in the month, we wanted to celebrate that by picking an appropriate theme that tied that together with our general focus. There’s long been a stereotype that fantasy was so forever changed and codified by Tolkien that seemingly everything that followed in its wake was essentially marked by it, sometimes in outrageously obvious fashion. But the truth has always been that as much as Tolkien left an impact, there have been authorial voices in the field from his time to now that have advanced critiques or demonstrated by example that there’s a much wider range of possibilities, something that the 21st century has shown in particular even as Tolkien’s profile exploded to new heights in the wake of the live action movie adaptations. With Jared answering questions about how he considered his own work and creativity as a longtime reader not trying to simply reinvent the wheel, we look more closely at our own thoughts as readers and writers about where Tolkien functions for us as an example to not specifically emulate, or to maybe even push back upon at points, if in a sublimated fashion. Also there was a LOT of news of Tolkien adaptations in general that’s come out and we had things to say, sometimes in a very pained voice.

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Show Notes.

Jared’s doodle. And if you’re wondering who these figures are it’s because…

The West Passage is here! (Or about here but definitely here this month!) Order locally or through Bookshop or the like, please. And as Jared says at the end of the episode, Seattle-area folks, please attend the release event on July 17th at Third Place Books Ravenna!

Jared’s The Sewers of Paris appearance. (Look for future appearances on Turn The Page and Dragonmount.) 

Oriana’s short film Kickstarter! Check it out! Support it if you can, or at least spread the word!

The new paperback version of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is out in August.

TheOneRing.net with reports from Annecy on The War of the Rohirrim panel as well as a separate interview with Philippa Boyens.

The Rings of Power season two teaser trailer. Yup. Sure is.

Vanity Fair’s piece showing Tom Bombadil is going to be in The Rings of Power. What?

Variety’s piece on The Hunt For Gollum. 

Edmund Wilson! Influential? Sure. Pleasant? The jury is out.

Oo, Those Awful Orcs!” was rather high profile. (W. H. Auden’s much different piece was as well.)

Guy Gavriel Kay and his work is well worth checking out.

Epic Pooh,” Michael Moorcock’s 1978 essay out on a tear against Tolkien and others.

China Miéville has had some thoughts on Tolkien, indeed.

Definitely pick up the republished Ursula K. le Guin collection The Language of the Night, where “From Elfland from Poughkeepsie” can be found.

George R. R. Martin’s comment on Aragorn’s tax policy, originally from a 2014 interview from Rolling Stone, can be found here.

If Tolkien Were Black,” a Salon piece from 2011 featuring David Anthony Durham and N. K. Jemisin.

Marlon James’s 2019 Tolkien lecture “Our Myths, Our Selves.”

The full Terry Pratchett quote on Tolkien with the Mt. Fuji comparison.

Gormenghast forever! (If you will.)

David Lynch and evil, there’s a lot out there. (This essay looks at his famed Hiroshima-and-after episode from Twin Peaks: The Return.)

The Poppy War is the first in a series by R. F. Kuang, while Tasha Suri was the British fantasy author with a South Asian background Ned was thinking of.

The Once and Future King by T. H. White, his famed Arthurian retelling. 

Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, Lord Dunsany, all worth checking out. But Lloyd Alexander and Prydain, DEFINITELY check that out.

Stephen King, you might have heard of him, who can say? (This piece delves a bit into his own admitted Tolkien fandom and The Dark Tower.) Also Ned got it wrong a bit, The Stand is clearly a post-disaster story but not post-nuclear!

John Crowley is well, well worth your time.

And yes, if you want more info on the book event Ned is ‘in conversation with’ in August in San Francisco, here ya go!

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