The SFFaudio Podcast #337 – READALONG: The Lord Of The Rings (Book 5 of 6) by J.R.R. Tolkien

Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #337 – Jesse, Julie Davis, Seth, and Maissa talk about The Lord of the Rings Book V (“The War Of The Ring”) by J.R.R. Tolkien (aka the first half of The Return Of The King).

Talked about on today’s show:
Published 60 years ago; research is Jesse’s “security blanket”; The Black Stone by Robert E. Howard; stone of Erech has parallels to the Kaaba in Mecca; Moses’s ill-fated water-rock in Old Testament; the Stone of Scone; palantíri; War? What is it good for? We aren’t fans of all the battles; Éomer’s poetic “all is lost” moment; The Last Samurai and heroic fatalism; World War I; Faramir’s dislike of war; the movies’ over-reliance on spectacle; the power of words; the Lord of the Nazgûl; Éowyn’s badassery; Houses of Lamentation vs. Houses of Healing; the strength of the weakest; parallels between Merry and Pippin; the flaws of film versions of Éowyn–and Faramir; great deeds vs. duty; Éowyn as Old Norse valkyrie archetype; the twisting of the Nazgûl; debating the corporeality of Sauron; Sauron and Denethor use others for their dirty work; Ghân-buri-Ghân and other marginalized figures; woodwoses; no authorized Lord of the Rings fan fiction; Jesse wants public domain story following Gimil and Legolas on postwar adventures; Fifty Shades of Grey as Twilight fanfiction; Tolkien’s scholarly inside jokes; we don’t know our Greek numbers; on foils, parallels, and the integrity of Tolkien’s work; Théoden and Denethor; Gandalf’s healing power, “see the light”; Denethor’s false wisdom; Denethor passages have quality of a Greek tragedy; modern society, like Denethor, can’t see the whole picture; film portrayal of Gandalf whacking Denethor is not canon; Christ parallels and the resurrection of hope; the layering of symbolism; barrow wights and Théoden’s barrow; Korean harvest festival Chuseok; the aggression of the Tolkien estate; the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings animated movies of yore; “the hands of the king are the hands of a healer”; athelas (kings foil) to the rescue!; the king’s power to call the wounded back from the dead; the title of lore master; the last big distraction and self-sacrifice at the Black Gate; on the division of Lord of the Rings into books and volumes; on the pleasures of slow reading; more discourse on Denethor; Pippin and Merry are interchangeable (!?); even Sauron is just one evil power, parallels cyclical historical events in our world (cf. resurgence of Russia under Putin); no spoilers for Maissa!; the Mouth of Sauron’s terms, and what if Gandalf had surrendered?; Hitler, appeasement, and Alexander the Great; envisioning flamethrower guitarist from Mad Max: Fury Road at the Battle of the Black Gate;

Draggy The Dragon with THE RETURN OF THE KING by J.R.R. Tolkien

Eowyn And The Lord Of The Nazgul - illustration by Jim Reid

Ballantine Books - The Return Of The King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Methuen - The Return Of The King by J.R.R. Tolkien

UNICORN - The Return Of The King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of A Hero Of The Empire By Robert Silverberg

Science Fiction Audiobooks - A Hero of the Empire by Robert SilverbergA Hero Of The Empire
By Robert Silverberg; Read by George Guidall
Audio Download [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audible
Published: November 2000 – No Longer Available
ISBN: 0375417982
Themes: Science Fiction / Alternate History / Roman Empire / Islam /

A Hero Of The Empire is one of Robert Silverberg’s “Roma Eterna” stories, set in alternate history world where the Roman Empire never fell. A homosexual Roman nobleman is sent in punishment to a remote corner of the Empire – the Arabian city we know as Mecca. The time is 600 years after the reign of the Emperor Augustus – by this time the Empire has expanded to include the entire Arabian Peninsula. Written in the style of a letter to a dear friend, this novella is a fascinating examination of both Roman and Islamic history. George Guidall’s excellent reading infuses every word of this novella with his unique vocal magic. Audible’s recording is good, and even includes appropriate music, but the sound has been degraded by heavy compression – it sounds digitized. Unfortunately, and inexplicably, Audible.com has pulled A Hero Of The Empire from its catalogue and it is no longer available by itself. This was one of the best science fiction audio downloads ever available. And its disappearance from Audible.com makes me want to download and listen to all their titles immediately, for fear that they too will disappear!

NOTE: A Hero Of The Empire is no longer available singly, but is available as a portion of “Audible Exclusive Sci-Fi, Volume 1”.