The Lord of the Rings

Improbable Interviews – Adam Roberts

I have recently edited a new anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories about fantastical flora. The book, Improbable Botany, features authors who between them have won the Arthur C Clarke, British Science Fiction Association, John W. Campbell Memorial, Philip K. Dick, Nebula and Prometheus Awards, and been nominated for many more. The writers are: […]

Fantasy Cartography for Writers (part 1)

Fantasy cartography isn’t new, of course, from Lord of the Rings to Throne of the Crescent Moon, maps help readers to connect with the universe, to make unfamiliar locales a little more familiar. It’s always fun when there’s a heroic journey involved, be it a quest to dump a shiny bracelet in fiery nastiness or running from doom.

What’s Your Type?

Does fantasy fiction feed racism? An important distinction between literature and film is often elided. Arthur Conan Doyle on the classification of peoples and my thoughts on the Boston Marathon bombing.

Ora Pro Nobis. The Zombies Are Coming

Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world on February 11th by announcing his abdication. In related news on your Amazing Stories channel, the zombie apocalypse is coming. Even Snooki agrees! “One day, I know that the world is going to end with zombies.”

Stephen King – A Beginner’s Guide

For a long time I paid no attention to the writing of Joyce Carol Oates. But I kept seeing her mentioned in the context of modern American Gothic, being recommended by writers whose work I loved, particularly Stephen King. The admiration was mutual. In 1997 Oates introduced King when he gave his first reading at […]

Satan’s Imagination Stations

I was 8 years old, and I had gotten my greedy little hands on a copy of The Hobbit. I read it by nightlight early in the morning before my family awoke. The Lord of the Rings followed shortly after, and I even wrote my grade five book report on the plot structure of the […]

The Unsavory Racism of Middle Earth

The concept of race in Middle Earth bears a strong resemblance to racist concepts that were popular during Tolkien’s youth. Readers need to be aware of these concepts and guard against taking them literally.