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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Tolkien's influence on later writers
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Omnigeek
Lorien


Jun 29, 2:34am

Post #51 of 53 (822 views)
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Terry Brooks' Shannara [In reply to] Can't Post


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Terry Brooksó Shannara seriesó. The first was so obviously a Tolkien ripoff that I stopped. The tv series gave me a hint that maybe he eventually made his own story but I never went back to see. Anyone have an opinion on Shannara?


The first book was obviously heavily influenced. i would say the series deviated significantly and became its own thing starting with Brooks' second novel. I wonder a little if perhaps the similarity was influenced by Judy Del Rey -- she certainly requested artwork for the first publication that was heavily influenced by work the Hildebrandts did for LOTR. I found the annotated version (okay, the audiobook of it) very enlightening.

I have got a little past midway through the Shannara series. The world really has nothing to do with Tolkien or Middle-earth -- to the point that I question why he calls the races Elves, Dwarves, and Trolls.

It seems very much like different trilogies in the Shannara series have nothing to do with each other but later it becomes clearer that Brooks is trying to generate a millenia-spanning conflict between 2 fundamental forces.

The rules of magic don't seem to have any continuity but it doesn't seem like the magic fart conjuring that you see in Harry Potter, more akin to the enhancing of natural properties or subtle influencing that Tolkien and Scandanavian myths used (leaving aside the magical singing from skalds).

BTW, Brooks' Magic Kingdom series is quite different and has no evidence of borrowing from Tolkien.

Obviously, Tolkien had a huge influence. Before his works, there really hadn't been any serious adult-oriented fantasy. Having said that, a lot of classic SF/F authors don't exhibit any Tolkien influence. Even among contemporary writers, Larry Correia's Monster Hunter and Grimnoir Chronicles series (which are both kind of a blend of science fiction and fantasy) and David Drake's Books of the Elements and The Isles series are distinct.


Omnigeek
Lorien


Jun 29, 2:44am

Post #52 of 53 (820 views)
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Lewis and Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post


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Sometimes when I look at Narnia and Middle Earth tales.... I think they seem the result of two guys handed a list and told go write a story that includes x, y and z and don't forget q and t.

Similar elements -- vastly different treatments --- but a lot of the underlying themes are similar --- though that could be the q and t above.


They both influenced each other quite heavily and they were both influenced heavily by William Morris. IIRC, Lewis convinced Tolkien to finish LOTR.

I don't think it should be any surprise that 2 guys who shared drafts and socialized with each other for decades and who were both heavily influenced by the same literary elements would have similar elements and themes in their own writings.


CMackintosh
The Shire

Jul 6, 12:19pm

Post #53 of 53 (683 views)
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Brooks and others [In reply to] Can't Post


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In Reply To
Terry Brooksó Shannara seriesó. The first was so obviously a Tolkien ripoff that I stopped. The tv series gave me a hint that maybe he eventually made his own story but I never went back to see. Anyone have an opinion on Shannara?


The first book was obviously heavily influenced. i would say the series deviated significantly and became its own thing starting with Brooks' second novel. I wonder a little if perhaps the similarity was influenced by Judy Del Rey -- she certainly requested artwork for the first publication that was heavily influenced by work the Hildebrandts did for LOTR. I found the annotated version (okay, the audiobook of it) very enlightening.

I have got a little past midway through the Shannara series. The world really has nothing to do with Tolkien or Middle-earth -- to the point that I question why he calls the races Elves, Dwarves, and Trolls.

It seems very much like different trilogies in the Shannara series have nothing to do with each other but later it becomes clearer that Brooks is trying to generate a millenia-spanning conflict between 2 fundamental forces.

The rules of magic don't seem to have any continuity but it doesn't seem like the magic fart conjuring that you see in Harry Potter, more akin to the enhancing of natural properties or subtle influencing that Tolkien and Scandanavian myths used (leaving aside the magical singing from skalds).

BTW, Brooks' Magic Kingdom series is quite different and has no evidence of borrowing from Tolkien.

Obviously, Tolkien had a huge influence. Before his works, there really hadn't been any serious adult-oriented fantasy. Having said that, a lot of classic SF/F authors don't exhibit any Tolkien influence. Even among contemporary writers, Larry Correia's Monster Hunter and Grimnoir Chronicles series (which are both kind of a blend of science fiction and fantasy) and David Drake's Books of the Elements and The Isles series are distinct.


Points:
1. Brooks' Sword of Shannara was very heavily based on Tolkien - the sleepy countryside and township, etc. The (almost) prehistoric war. The "races" ... you are correct in stating that the later ones grew steadily away from that starting point. And as I said, at times his legal training took over and you get an unexpected laugh out of reading what sounds like a pompous legal secretary explaining things to a hung-over lawyer.His editor could have been more rigorous, but we wouldn't have those pratfalls to laugh about.

2. Very few Fantasy authors manage eldritch beings very well, and for all intents and purposes none manage Elves at all - though Tad Williams and Elizabeth Moon do manage to portray other-world people in their Fantasy stories. Terry Brooks is only a little better than the Dungeons-and-Dragons assembly line in that regard.

3. I like Terry Brooks' Magic Kingdom novels. They are authentically his.

4. Before Tolkien there was E R Eddison with The Worm Ouroboros and the Zimiamvia Trilogy, James Branch Cabell with Jurgen, Figures of Clay, The Silver Stallion and others, Arthur Machen with The Great God Pan, The Inmost Light and others, and David Lindsay with Voyage to Arcturus, The Haunted Woman, and others.

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