Archives for December 2006

The Terminal Orc

This essai is included in the collection Writing Down the Dragon.


If the powers of Morgoth and the nature of the Elves gave Tolkien endless trouble in preparing The Silmarillion for publication, the problem of the Orcs nearly frightened him into giving up the attempt. How this happened sheds light on some interesting facets of Tolkien’s creative process, the mentality of his critics, and the ethics of fantasy in general. [Read more…]

The blue haze of distance

There is a common belief among superstitious people (and nearly all modern people are superstitious, for they persist in believing in newspapers and advertisements) that we are continuously watched by spy satellites that can make out the numbers on the licence plate of our cars. No point of this claim is quite false, but it adds up to a gigantic untruth. [Read more…]