Tag Archives: tolkien

Oz

After thinking it over for a while I decided to tackle the Oz books. Like a lot of people I grew up being familiar with The Wizard of Oz, only when I read it a few days ago I realized that the version I had read as a child was an adaptation (apparently someone had decided that the book had to be dumbed down even further, and as a child I was unaware of that fact). In addition to that my memories of the book had somehow managed to get tangled with those of the movie, and the end result was that all of a sudden I found myself being confronted with a book that was not like I had been expecting it to be. No, it’s not great, but it is still an interesting read, and I realize that complaining that a children’s book comes across as being a little childish for my liking is more than a little silly.

Anyway, once I was done with The Wizard of Oz I moved on to the rest of the series. So far I have only read a few titles (most of them can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg), and while at times I find myself itching for something that is at least a little more challenging, coming in the aftermath of my rereading the whole Discworld series, these books make for an interesting precedent. Sure, there are a number of significant differences, and I can already hear the howls from the Discworld fans at the mere thought of this comparison, but in a way it is not that much of a stretch to see the Oz books as the grandparents of both the Discworld and even the Middle-earth (and yes, like all grandparents, this one too can come across as a little embarrassing at times). The imagination is there, and I can see a lot of potential, but in a way that is what makes these books so frustrating: yes, the pieces are there, now if only the author would do something with them.

Well, like I said, grandparents can and do come across as rather old-fashioned at times, so I guess that is to be expected… and the bottom line is that, as embarrassing as the can be, there is no denying that knowing our grandparents can help us understand who we are and where we come from. No, I’m not sure these books would be appealing to children who are old enough to read them nowadays, and for adults they are mostly a curiosity, but if you are into the history of fantasy and children’s lit, these books are definitely worth it (and from what I have seen so far I suspect that The Wizard of Oz is not the best one of the lot).

The Sins of a Fan of Fantasy Lit

Okay, I’ve had this one written for a while, but up until now I hadn’t dared to post it. You see, I am about to confess to what amounts to a sin for a fan of fantasy literature, are you ready: I am not a big fan of The Lord of the Rings (and by that I mean the books, not the movies). Oh, I’m not denying their importance as one of the foundational works of the whole genre. In fact I freely acknowledge that it is probably the most influential work of the twentieth century. I know that without it I probably wouldn’t be here, or rather that I would not be writing the things I write, and I realize that it is very well crafted, but even though I have read it a couple of times hoping to develop a taste for it, I just can’t seem to get in the spirit of things. I enjoyed The Hobbit, but when it comes to its big brother I have a number of problems: Continue reading The Sins of a Fan of Fantasy Lit