Concerning the Tumbleweeds

For those of you who are still following The Cynical Christian (in the sense of getting e-mail updates): I haven’t been posting on this beast all that much for a variety of reasons–work, fatherhood, changing life plans, etc.–but mostly because I’ve been scratching my itch to write in different ways.  My science-fiction novel, The Curse of Life, was published in June of this year.  It’s available in dead-tree and Kindle formats, and you can read the latter for free if you have Amazon Prime.  If you like my writing, here’s your chance to … er, check out how I write in a completely different genre!

I’m not going to declare this blog shut down or anything.  I may well post in it from time to time.  But, y’know, limited number of hours in a day, in a week, in a lifetime …


Tolkien’s Crusaders

When J.R.R. Tolkien published The Lord of the Rings in the mid fifties, it was broadly assumed–at least by some–that his fantasy trilogy, much of which was written during World War II, was meant as an allegory for the war itself.  Here Gondor stands for Britain, Rohan for the U.S., Mordor and company for the axis powers, etc.  It makes sense, from a certain point of view, but the speculation irritated Tolkien intensely, to the point that, in an introduction added to later editions, he explicitly debunked it, explaining, “I cordially dislike allegory in all its forms,” and noting that, if it were properly an allegory, Sauron would be enslaved, not destroyed, and Isengard would wind up creating its own ring, setting off a lengthy period of hostilities with Gondor.  Or some such.

I’m willing to take Professor Tolkien’s word that no conscious allegory was intended.  Still, there are intriguing historical parallels, which I think are worth examining.  One of the critical errors made by the “allegorizers” (for lack of a more graceful term) was to seek out links to modern history, when the author was a medievalist, and his magnum opus takes place in a world which is not just technologically, but spiritually, medieval. Continue reading