• lord of the rings logo

    Lord of the Rings FAQ: Answers for Simpletons (Like Me)

    Every time I read a The Lord of the Rings FAQ, I’m more confused than when I started. The reason is Tolkien left a lot of notes and drafts and letters, all compiled into posthumous publications. And there’s no production company keeping tabs on what’s “canon” like Star Wars or Star Trek. So I tried to make a comprehensive but “simple” FAQ compilation of the questions I still have or keep seeing. It’s for the everyman who’s not terribly interested in how many spines are on Morgoth’s crown. But first, some term definitions. Eru Ilúvatar = Ultimate God of Middle-earth, creator of all the Valar (other gods) and Maiar (demi-gods)Valar…

  • angry orc

    Orcs Be Racist?

    This was a recent hot take on the interwebs, and I love the low hanging fruit so… I actually have a little expertise in this (as much as one can about a swords & sorcery race that doesn’t exist). I have read the D&D Player’s Guide & Dungeon Master’s Guide cover-to-cover, and written a novella about orcs. So I’ve done my research. I mean, I’m not savvy on the history of orcs in fiction, but I’ve got some stakes as a fiction writer. So the big debate is whether orcs are a stand-in for Black people, either in the tribal African “Shaka Zulu” sense or the “genetic predisposition” sense. There…

  • question marks

    Random Thoughts

    Are the “It” from “It Follows” and “It” from “It” related? Asking for a friend. OMG, I think The Rescuers and the Rescue Rangers are somehow related. Maybe they’re like rival companies? The Rescue Aid Society is the big business and Rescue Rangers is the offshoot startup. I think I’ve got my next Disney crossover. What would happen if you ate the One Ring? Would it just pass through your system or could you digest it? I know stomach acid isn’t lava, but still, I don’t know what’s special about Mount Doom’s lava. Or would it just stay there? And would it make you invisible? You’re not wearing the ring…

  • physics blackboard

    In Defense of Physics

    Every once in a while, when discussing the phenomena of movie nitpicking, someone brings up the argument that “how can you believe in the giant spiders, talking lions, and semi-magic telekinesis but not that who’s-his-face survived that explosion?” John Scalzi has written about this topic before (“The Flying Snowman” Part 1 and Part 2) landing on the side of “if you can accept these implausible things from the science fiction, why can’t you accept this implausible thing?” (even though he contradicts statements made here) But I was mostly instigated by this trending GIF from Conan’s Comic-Con interview with the cast of Game of Thrones. Also, Maisie Williams’s expressions are priceless…

  • book to movie

    Books Where The Movie Is Better

    The post was inspired by someone commenting on my Amazon review of “How to Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell. The person replied (paraphrased from the badly spelled typography) “You recommended to kids that they choose the movie over the book? For shame.” Damn right, for shame. I’ll take my shame all the way to the bank. Do you know how many terrible products are out there for kids? Movies, especially. Because parents will do anything to get their kids to shut up for ninety minutes and kids can’t work the DVD player. Plus they’ve had so little life experience they don’t know how to tell the good from the…

  • unfinished painting meadow sky paintbrushes

    Books I Never Finished But Wish I Did

    In case you can’t tell my attention span is very squirrel. The only times I’ve not finished a book is if I strongly believe I’m not going to get anything out of it: books that are terribly written or outdated non-fiction. It’s not them, it’s me. There are books I simply cannot get through. I cannot find a way to get them to work for me. So this is my apology to those books. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy I know, I know. Me, a fantasy author. Never read all the books in the trilogy. I saw the movies, and I love them, but the books I just can’t…