I2: Ivory and Ivy: An Overview
of Notable Academic and Reference Works About SF and Fantasy- March 2004
by Edward Carmien
(Copyright 2004 Edward Carmien)
Several Tolkien-related texts are available for the first time this March. I won’t be writing about them.
My editor won't let me. He says all I ever talk about is Tolkien.
Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien. Enough with the Hobbits he says. Fine. He's
the editor and I guess that means he gets the last word.
Last month he sent thugs to give me his message, and I don't
want to go through that again. No way.
Or perhaps (and closer to my mandate) The Utopian Fantastic : Selected Essays From The Twentieth International ($65.00) Conference On The Fantastic In The Arts, Edited by Martha Bartter, is another expensive text also too specialized for most courses but which could serve as a good reference for scholars not only of utopian fiction but also those who study science fiction’s potential for use as a tool of speculation in the social sciences. “Fantastic literature (including science fiction and fantasy) is the only form of literature that takes utopia/dystopia seriously. Therefore, analysis of these works provides a basis for serious experimentation in social science,” says the preview text for this volume. More information about the book’s contents was not available as of this writing.
With so much being asked for these texts, it is nice to see something a bit more moderately priced. The talented Brian M. Thomsen has struck again, this time as editor of
Cyberfilms: The Stories That Became The Films
($13.00). This text looks very interesting, and as an
anthology of stories by people like Gibson, George R. R. Martin, and
Clive Barker has potential to serve as a text for a general science
fiction/fantasy literature class. If I can get a copy, I’ll consider
using it myself in the classroom this fall. Cyberfilms appears to be of great interest because in my experience students today commonly lust after visual expression of idea and story. This anthology has the potential to serve as an effective bridge between cinema and literature for such students.
Hopefully the aforementioned collection of noirish and cyber-sciffy tomes will keep my editor at bay for another month. Should you want something with a little more Tolkien in it until then, you might take a look at The World of the Rings : Language, Religion, and Adventure in Tolkien by Jared C. Lobdell ($20.00) for a discussion of "philology, Roman Catholic theology, and...Edwardian adventure" in the tales of Middle Earth. If you don't tell the editor I suggested it, he probably won't hurt me.
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