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June 15, 2004

A Houseful of Lords, pt. 2
Posted by Teresa at 10:45 AM *

Here we go again. Maybe we can have Tolkien pastiches in the style of other authors declared an Olympic indoor sport. James Murray has been so kind as to direct me to a further compendium of them, which I take as a clear indication that it’s time to play Spot the Style.

Down at the bottom you’ll find a series of links to the pastiches as they originally appeared. If you’re stumped but aren’t quite ready to give up, hover over the link number and you’ll get a hint. It’s not guaranteed to be helpful. If you’re posting guesses, you should probably stay away from the hints.

In the beginning was the ring. And the ring was with Sauron and the ring was Sauron. The same was in the beginning with Sauron. All things were made dark by the ring, and without it was not anything made dark that was made dark. In it was death, and the death was the darkness of men.
Oh, the quest is bigger It’s bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
To destroy this cursed ring!
Oh no, I’ve gone too far,
I put it on.
from III C 2, Whether Balrogs have Wings:

I assert that Balrogs do not have wings. For, it is a natural impulse to act to preserve one’s life, and in doing so, to make full use of one’s capabilities. If the Balrog did have wings, it would not allow itself to fall to its death in the mines of Moria, but save itself by the use of its wings. …

Reply to Objection ii. Dragons and Balrogs are alike in that they are both servants of evil and of flame, but they differ in their accidental traits. Because two things are alike in one way, it is not proper to argue that they are alike in other ways.
“Woolheaded man!” sniffed Arwen, folding her arms beneath her breasts, then unfolding them again so she could tug on her braid. Aragorn grimaced. If only Legolas were there. Legolas always knew how to talk to girls.
There are rings that come with diamonds that are used plight one’s troth, And there’s a ring round planet Saturn – or is it Jupiter? – or possibly both.
But whatever ring you have, there’s one type of ring that admits no tomfoolery
And that’s magic jewellery.
For as soon as you put it on, you’re sure to disappear abruptly
And whatever you were doing before, you’ll soon be doing it corruptly … to accept a ring from the likes of Sauron
You’d have to be a mauron.
The sun came up over the ridge like a fried egg on top of a burnt slice of toast. Then the trumpets sounded. Lots of them, as if Sauron had paid for a lifetime supply and wanted to get his money’s worth if the world ended today. The night shift went back to the holes they had crawled out of the night before, and the day shift started to straggle in, lugging their swords, as if they didn’t know which they hated more, Sauron or themselves. “Well, here we are!” said Sam. He liked to tell you things you already knew. I didn’t mind, most of the time, but here in front of the Black Gate of Mordor, I could think of one or two or a hundred more useful topics of conversation. He talked about his father a lot too, and his garden, and he seemed to think that if he ever got back to them, everything would be like it was. I kept quiet about that. It wasn’t my job to tell him that seeing the wide world changes your shape so that you don’t fit in the places you used to. He was a little guy, but I liked him.<
It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid-March, with the sun not shining and the usual look of hard, cold doom in the foothills. I was wearing an orc’s old suit, brown pants, brown shirt, no shoes, some mail and armor. I was tired, I was frightened, and I was desperate, and I didn’t care who knew it.
Once there was a way to get to Mordor Hope there’ll be a way to get back home
Sleep Master Frodo, do not cry
And I will watch for Uruk-hai
Frodo, the Deliverator, belongs to an elite order, a Fellowship of nine members only. He’s got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his only mission that matters. His armor is silver like the light of the full moon, jangling only slightly with its decorative gems. An arrow will bounce off its dwarvenmesh weave like a hammer off an anvil, but excess perspiration wafts through it like the winds over the charred plains of Gorgoroth. All the arrows of all the hunters in the world couldn’t cut it against this one. When they gave him the job, they gave him a sword. The Deliverator never looks for trouble, but some Orc might come after him anyway—-might want his armor, or his cargo. The sword is tiny, aero-styled, lightweight, the kind of sword a Hobbit would carry; it cuts quickly into load-bearing beams without visible effort, and when you get done using it around evil, you have to sheathe it, because it glows in the dark.
the ring being Brand -new;and you
know consequently a
little big i was
careful of it and(having

thoroughly shined the elvish
script checked my pocket felt of
its chain made sure it was around my neck O.

K.)i went right to it jammed-it-on my finger straight …
The door to Bag End deliquesced, and the derelict lurched into the hall.

He was an old man. He was a strong man. Must be Gandalf, Frodo thought. Dresses like Gandalf, grey robed, a rope holding up his torn grey pants. And his eyes. (Orcs’ eyes?).

“You , boy. Are you Frodo Baggins?”

Frodo fingered the dirt between his hairy toes. Wanting to say “no” he began a “yes”.

The codger flapped out a hand (a sack of magic-ruined knuckles) and caught a chair. “We were moving out, boy, the lights of Minas Tirith like a puddle of molten mithril on our left, the black of Mordor on our right. We’d turned off the palantir so we were flying blind. Then, centred on the dark, an Eye! It reached out, brighter than the elven-glass of Galadriel, grabbed our attention so we couldn’t look away.”

Frodo got the words ready in his mouth, excuse me, huh? I gotta go.

Gandalf coughed, spat red. “The Eye was Sauron’s. He took us this close” - his thumb brushed his forefinger (nail bitten to the quick) - “this close” - to Mount Doom. You can damn him, and damn the One Ring for that, boy, whoever you are!”
You may talk o’ ale and lembas And the nine Fellowship members
When you’re sittin’ in the Prancing Pony’s wing
But if it comes to questin’
The story that goes best in
Is of Nine-fingered Frodo and the Ring!
“There was me, that is Gollum, and my two droogs, Precious and Precioussss….”
In front of a grassy-mound, in the shire, stood a bearded man, in solomn-coloured garments and a gray steeple-crowned hat stood with his eyes intently fastened on the oaken door, for he was the wizard, Gandalf. The wooden edifice, by a strange chance, had been coloured by way of paint or some other form of dye a shade of green, long after the fall of the gigantic pines and oaks that the hue and sprung up around, whether it being of personal or cultural taste, we shall not take upon us to determine. Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than to view the object held in by the might of the former foliage. It may serve, let us hope, to symbolise the wild and evils in this world, which hath spring forth from the land from where such a colour exists in abundance; as some moral lesson that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of hobbit and human frailty and sorrow.
Gandalf: What happen? Samwise: Somebody set us up the orc.
Pippin: We get signal.
Gandalf: What!
Pippin: Main seeing stone turn on.
Gandalf: It’s you!!
Saron: How are you Fellowship!!
Ever see an elfshot? I saw a wight catch one in Mordor. We rigged his grave with a one way looking glass and charged an orc kin to watch. He never got the arrow out of his arm, they don’t if the shot is right. That’s the way they found him, barrow full of buried treasure, dawn of a new day. The look in his eye when he was hit - it was tasty.
When perfect silence was once again restored, one of the two aged elves who sat at the side of the patriarch arose, and demanded aloud, in very intelligible Westron:

“Which of my prisoners is La Longue Rapier?”

Boromir, a little at a loss in what manner to proceed, remained silent; but the ranger, who had listened attentively to all that passed, now advanced steadily to the front.

“That I did not answer to the call for La Longue Rapier, was not owing either to shame or fear,” he said, “for neither one nor the other is the gift of an honest man. But I do not admit the right of the Uruks to bestow a name on one whose friends have been mindful of his gifts, in this particular; especially as their title is a lie, ‘anduril’ being a broadsword and no rapier. I am the man, however, that got the name of Aragorn from my kin, the compliment of Estel from the Sindarin, who live on their own river; and whom the Orcs have presumed to style ‘The Long Rapier’, without any warranty from him who is most concerned in the matter.”
Isildur was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. He was shot quite full of arrows by a party of orcs and left floating in the river. Sauron willed it. And Sauron’s will was great upon Middle Earth, for anything he chose to put his mind to. Isildur was as dead as a barrow-wight. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a barrow-wight I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a barrow-wight as the deadest denzien of all the undead hordes. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or Middle-Earth’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Isildur was as dead as a barrow-wight.
[FRODO holds his smoking hands in front of him, horrified by the force he has just unwittingly unleashed. He stops at the brink of the Cracks of Doom. At his summons, a machine of unimaginable monstrosity lurches upward from the depths and aims itself at him.]

FRODO: Sooner or later, Sam, I will lose all control, and the evil that will follow staggers the imagination…yet I can see it clearly. I can’t let that happen. I have to purge this power from existence before it consumes the cosmos.

SAM (straining hopelessly to unleash his garden-hothouse-lamp eye beams against the machine): Don’t you do it, Mr. Frodo!

FRODO: I love you, Sam!

[The machine disintegrates FRODO with a bolt of raw energy, colored slightly differently from the one that hit the elven ships to aid our comprehension.]





[The remaining CIRTH-MEN, NAZGUL, ELFJAMMERS, GONDORAN and EASTERLING ARMIES, and SAURON arrive in time to see SAM cradling a pile of ash. They kneel around him, overcome with emotion, in a tableau that will later be enshrined forever in a foil-embossed poster by Byrne and Austin.]

SAM: I love you, Frodo…

[Far away,… ULMO, ruminates.]

ULMO: Humanity! I will never tire of watching them! A blighted race, it’s said…and yet, in the face of certain disaster, they exhibit sacrifice that would shame the Valar themselves! There have always been forces like the Ring, trying to tempt and corrupt them into betraying their true destiny…but in the face of love and courage, those attempts are doomed to defeat! All admirable ploys — but they’ve failed!!

[Stay tuned until next month, when the CIRTH-MEN will do a lot of crying and looking at sunsets and being attacked by GRIMA THE WENDIGO on their way home. Excelsior!]
20. The SysAdmin’s view of LOTR.

Links and hints: 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7 : 8 : 9 : 10 : 11 : 12 : 13 : 14 : 15 : 16 : 17 : 18 : 19

Comments on A Houseful of Lords, pt. 2:
#1 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:10 PM:

Yay! First guesses! I post in opportunistic glee... and the authorship is...

2: Michael Stipe of R.E.M.
4: Robert Jordan
9: Neal Stephenson
12: Rudyard Kipling
13: Anthony Burgess
16: William S. Burroughs
17: James Fenimore Cooper
18: Charles Dickens
19: Stan Lee

15 reads like a badly-translated Super Nintendo game, but I'm unsure of the specific reference.

#2 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:10 PM:

OK, I didn't even read all of them yet, but #4 caused the coffee-meets-keyboard effect with hot chocolate.

#3 ::: Tim Pratt ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:13 PM:

My (incomplete) guesses:

1. Biblical.
2. To the tune of "Losing my Religion", R.E.M.
4. A la Robert Jordan
9. A la Stephenson's Snow Crash.
10. In the style of e.e. cummings
13. A la Burgess's Clockwork Orange
15. All your base are belong to us!
17. In the style of James Fenimore Cooper.
18. A la Dickens's A Christmas Carol

#4 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:16 PM:

#15 is the "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" style, originally from "Zero Wing."

#5 has to be Ogden Nash, if only for the spelling at the end.

#19 I want to say it's the Dark Phoenix bit from X-Men--that is, Jean Grey's death. Comic, not movie.

And Scott, you got the rest of mine. *shakes fist*

#5 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:18 PM:

Yep, not that the others aren't, but #4 is really spot-on. And I only read the first two *Wheel of Time* novels.

#6 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:20 PM:

Will, you're totally right. #19 is Claremont, not Lee. Ulmo's rumination had me thinking of Galactus or Dr. Doom, and that's what threw me.

#7 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:25 PM:

1. Gospel according to St. John
3. Thomas Aquinas?
4. Robert Jordan
5. Ogden Nash
7. Stephen Brust as Vlad Taltos?
10. e.e. cummings
11. Samuel R. Delaney?
12. Kipling
13. Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
17 James Fenimore Cooper
18 Charles Dickens
19 vintage Chris Claremont X-Men, of course.

#8 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:27 PM:

8. Lennon/McCartney, "Golden Slumbers."

The Jordan one is high-larious.

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:30 PM:

Well and opportunistically played, Scott. "Badly translated Super Nintendo game" was a good guess.

Toward the end, #19's tone does veer a little in the direction of Stan Lee, but it's Chris Claremont.

Zeynep, glad to hear it. Involuntary expulsion of bodily fluids is the ultimate test of humor.

Tim, Doyle, the last time we played this, only assertions counted. Suggestions are just suggestions.

Doyle should definitely remove some of those question marks.

#10 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:35 PM:

Huh. On #19 I would have guessed either Dragonball Z (although I've never watched more than snippets of the show), or, more likely, Akira, even though I've read the Claremont run.

Funny, that.

#6 is sort of Pratchett-esque, I'd say. Could also be Hunter S. Thompson, although I'd expect Teresa to go for the much more recognizable "We were halfway to Rivendell when the drugs took hold..."
#7 sounds Hard-boiled, and Sam Spade-y, but Debra's probably got it.
#14 ...Paarfi? No...that can't be it...

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:41 PM:

Who correctly identified what first, as of two minutes ago:

1: Doyle
2: Scott Lynch
4: Scott Lynch
5: Will Frank
8: Andrew Willett
9: Scott Lynch
10: Doyle
12: Scott Lynch
13: Scott Lynch
15: Tim Pratt
18: Scott Lynch
19: Doyle

I'll give y'all one freebie. Nos. 6 and 7 are by the same author.

#12 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:44 PM:

#4 nearly had me pee my pants. It's so Jordan it's classic.

#13 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:45 PM:

Poking through the compendium, I'm fond of Hobbitsfield Park, though the title "Rings and Wraiths" is brilliant (even if its execution leaves a little to be desired).


#14 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:50 PM:

17 must be James Fenimore Cooper.
14 -- Nathaniel Hawthorne, perhaps?

#15 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 04:54 PM:

Without checking for answers or hints first!

1. Genesis - the Bible one, not the band
2. R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion"
3. lawyerese
4. BWAHAHAHA! Robert Jordan!
5. Dr. Seuss?
6. I'm gonna guess Elmore Leonard.

10. e.e. cummings, natch.

13. Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange
14. Sounds very Jane Austen to me.
15. Ha! Zero Wing.

17. Dumas?
18. Okay, it's Dickens, but I wouldn't have guessed that without the hint.
19. Clearly I don't read enough comics.

The rest, I didn't get even with the hints. Maybe I should check all the answers first, but hell, I'll just post my first swipe and look dumb.

#16 ::: wednesday ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:00 PM:

Argh! 15 should be "set up us!"

#17 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:06 PM:

Okay, duh to me on Stephenson being #9. How could I not have recognized that?

Still giggling about the Jordan one.

#18 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:07 PM:

It took me forever to come up with his name--I kept thinking, "Ooh! That guy who wrote that book that I read!"--but 6 and 7 sound like Raymond Chandler to me.

I was going to guess Dashiell Hammett, but the only Hammett I've read isn't in the first person.

#19 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:12 PM:

Ack. I made a mess of the list. I'll try it again.

Wednesday, I made some deletions, but otherwise reproduced them as originally posted.

I'm having an attack of conscience. Doyle's question marks are firmer than many people's assertions. In this case, they probably mean "I can't identify the passage."


Janet, is that or is that not Nathaniel Hawthorne?

Suzanne, do you assert that that's Raymond Chandler? Alternately, do you assert that it's Dashiell Hammett?

#20 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:18 PM:

I do assert that it's Raymond Chandler.

#21 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:19 PM:

Well, that's most of my guesses already guessed, though I'm glad to see I was right about most of the few I had, and not too terribly off on another (I don't know why I thought of Poe instead of Dickens)....

That leaves these guesses:

7 reminds me of John D "Travis McGee" MacDonald, more than anything. But I'm not even sure why.

I'm with Leigh on 17 being Dumas.

#22 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:23 PM:

Re: "Yep, not that the others aren't, but #4 is really spot-on. And I only read the first two *Wheel of Time* novels."

Let me second that. The line about Arwen unfolding her breasts is classic...

#23 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:26 PM:

Suzanne, that is in fact Raymond Chandler.

I have led you all astray on #17, because I screwed up the list and failed to credit Debra with James Fenimore Cooper. My apologies to everyone.

#24 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:31 PM:

I had been trying all afternoon to think of the name Dol Amroth. It seems now like a very simple name to recall and yet on the day in question I thought of every other town in Gondor, as well as such things as ball and chain, Dimrill Dale, toll road, Amon Amarth, Door Store, dill pickle, Mothra, dilly-dally, Denethor son of Lenwe, Ray Liotta, Dor Daedeloth, etc., without even coming close to Dol Amroth. I suppose dill pickle was the closest I ever came, although it was not very close.

#25 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:32 PM:

Geeminently christmas, I must be losing my marbles. Scott Lynch guessed Cooper. I'm going to stalk off, muttering darkly, and compile a really correct list.

#26 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:33 PM:

What, no The sky over Cirith Ungol was the color of a palantir tuned to a dead channel . . .?

#27 ::: Karen SIdeman ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:40 PM:

Isn't 11 Samuel R.Delaney?

(In Dhalgren he goes on and on about the state of people's fingernails.)

#28 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:41 PM:

Well, heck. I just went and looked at them, before opening the comments and realizing it was supposed to be a guessing game. Darn. And I'm too honest to just cheat.

Also too honest not to admit that I only had the vaguest idea about half of them. The rest...clueless.

#29 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:50 PM:

Alex, I have days like that. I once suffered a months-long inability to remember which work of fiction begins, "What's it going to be then, eh?"

That was before Google, of course.

Below, the not-quite-so-AFU list. Suggestions awaiting conversion into assertions have been ROT-13'd.

1: The Gospel according to St. John: Doyle
2: Michael Stipe, R.E.M.: Scott Lynch
3: Fg. Gubznf Ndhvanf (Doyle)
4: Robert Jordan: Scott Lynch
5: Ogden Nash: Will Frank
6: Raymond Chandler: Suzanne
7: Raymond Chandler: Suzanne
8: Lennon & McCartney: Andrew Willett
9: Neal Stephenson: Scott Lynch
10: e. e. cummings: Doyle
11: Fnzhry E. Qrynarl (Doyle)
12: Rudyard Kipling: Scott Lynch
13: Anthony Burgess: Scott Lynch
14: Angunavry Unjgubear (Janet)
15: All Your Base Are Belong To Us/Zero Wing: Tim Pratt, Will Frank
16: William S. Burroughs: Scott Lynch
17: James Fenimore Cooper: Scott Lynch
18: Charles Dickens: Scott Lynch
19: Chris Claremont: Doyle (Will Frank wanted to suggest it)

#30 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:53 PM:

"You a Hobbit?" said the Ranger. "Shucks, been a little short myself." He eyed the Host of the Prancing Pony. "My squire and I will have the Full Shiremen's Breakfast with toasted lembas on top and kingsfoil pesto on the side. Now, I want that waybread to be just barely Elvish. If it's too spoilage-retardant, I'll nail it to an Orc as a warning to others."

#31 ::: Jane ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:53 PM:

My, Chandler seems to be a popular target for Tolkienizing. I can only guess it's his affection for entertaining similes.

I can't place #6, but #7 is the opening paragraph from The Big Sleep.

#32 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:54 PM:

David, that was last time:

Frodo jacked in.

He felt huge, invincible, unstoppable. Some small part of him knew that was the hits of pipe-weed talking, skewing his sense of self, making his nerves scream like they were being raked over rusted chrome. Knew, and didn’t care.

Over his shoulder he could feel Sam hovering, a hollow nonentity. It was eerie knowing he was back there, like having an itch in a limb long amputated. All around him the middle-matrix arced off into an impossible blue infinity, gridlines benchmarking the empty nonspace.

“There it is,” came Sam’s voice. “That’s the ice. Good luck breakin’ in there, man, that was made by a military AI. Name of ephelduath. You ain’t seen nuthin’ like it. They say it’s two-way ice. Not only will it fry your brainpan tryin’ to get in, nuthin’ inside can work its way out. Leastaways, not without sarumancer’s say-so.”

You can find the original here.

#33 ::: Karen Sideman ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:54 PM:

Oh, hm, I see - you didn't credit Doyle for that one because of the question mark. Therefore I state:

#11 is Samuel R. Delany.

I'm sorry to see that the pastiche author of #9 didn't do something with "Deliverator", like "Ringbearerator." I almost didn't read past page one of Snow Crash because of that word (very glad I did.)

#34 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 05:58 PM:

Oh, and while I'm hesitant to actually name anybody, living or dead, as the source of #14, I shall assert that it is R. Lionel Fanthorpe, though he has many names.

#35 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 06:04 PM:

Mike, that's Starman Jones.

#36 ::: Rana ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 06:07 PM:

Oh, good! I'm not the only one who read #4 and went HAH! I know that one!

Of course, it is to be expected, given that the dude Keeps. Churning. Them. Out. and it is frustrating trying to re-read the previous ones each time a new one comes out. (I gave up when I realized that he was on book 5 with no sign of stopping. If he stops, at long last, then I _might_ read them again. Otherwise, expecting me to read book 1 umpty-dum times is ridiculous.)

#37 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 06:30 PM:

I name all my computers after authors. A couple of years ago, I built a computer with 1 terabyte (for non-techies, 1 metric buttload in home computer terms) of hard drive space. I named it after the author of #4.

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 06:32 PM:

Jane augusta, I think nos. 6 & 7 confused people because Chandler's voice has been adapted and re-used by so many other authors.

Karen, I'm going to split it between the two of you. It is indeed Samuel R. Delaney, grime and all -- and a good catch to spot it on that basis.

#39 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 06:42 PM:

R. Lionel Fanthorpe is Starman Jones? Okay, -now- I understand the new Mars project.

Obviously, Mars, being red and all, must be just lousy with scarlet emeralds. (They might even be naturally fauceted, since, like, things are different . . . in spaaaaaaace.)

#40 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 06:51 PM:

Doyle asserts: St. Thomas Aquinas.

I assert: Summa Theologica.

Doyle also asserts: "Teresa knows my question marks very well."

#41 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 06:56 PM:

Doyle further asserts: Samuel R. Delaney

#42 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 07:07 PM:

Noted. What's your opinion of #14?

#43 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 07:22 PM:

I assert: #14: Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

And I recall an occasion (near of sin?) of dropping you with a Scarlet Letter pun. That was some years ago; perhaps you don't remember.

#44 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 07:47 PM:

"I wonder when in the world you're going to do anything, Frodo?" said my uncle's friend.

"My dear Gandalf," I answered, laying down my egg-spoon, "why in the world should I do anything? My position is a comfortable one. I have an income nearly sufficient for my wants (no one's income is ever quite sufficient, you know), I enjoy an enviable social position: I am nephew to Bilbo Baggins and live in Bag End. Behold, it is enough!"

"You are three-and-thirty," he observed, "and you've done nothing but--"

"Knock about? It is true. Our family doesn't need to do things."


Just for y'all.

#45 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 07:48 PM:

While we're all being literate, allow me to note that Samuel R. Delany has been named five times in this thread so far--and spelled correctly exactly once (by Karen Sideman).

Even Teresa committed the dread "Delaney" misspelling, and she was once the co-publisher of one of his books!

#46 ::: Catie Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 07:48 PM:

*helpless laughter* I particularly like the *hint* for the first one.

I got 1, 4, 6 & 7, although 6 made me think at first that it might just *be* Terry Pratchett. But he doesn't usually fall into first person, so I went with Chandler after all, and I'm embarrassed that I didn't get 10. 19, however, made me terribly happy. *laugh*

#47 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 07:52 PM:

The only two I was sure of were 11 (Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren, and I would love to read that pastiche novel-length...) and 18 (Charles Dickens, the opening of A Christmas Carol, and I have no wish to read the rest). Well, and I spotted 1, but that hardly counts: St John is too easy.

I really feel I ought to have got 12. But I didn't. All the rest are writers I'm unfamiliar with anyway...

#48 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 07:57 PM:

Ahhh... I was trying for pastiche. Obviously needs work.

#49 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 08:04 PM:

(Mind you, Teresa readily admits that while she can spell anything else, she can't spell proper names.)

#50 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 08:08 PM:

Now, the ring in question was no cheap coffee-and-doughnut gee-gaw, but one of what they called the Rings of Power. Let's make it simple, and say that the Rings were manufactured for various races, doled out not quite even-steven. Three were for the Elves, who made the Rings for themselves, or at least the elven-smiths of Eregion did, who were descended from the Feanor, who'd hand-crafted the Silmarils during the elder days. The silmarils were jewels more precious than any hundred-caret ice, and caused a nasty war, but that's another story. When the rings were handed around, there were seven for the dwarfs, and nine for mortal men, doomed to die. The boss-of-bosses Sauron, who was into high-tech before it was cool, got his fingers into the ring-forging biz, and learned the inside scoop on what made them tick. Then he snuck away to his headquarters in Mordor and spent ten years hacking together a boss-of-rings, in the Chambers of Fire inside the cone of the volcano Orodruin. These rings were as good as magic for the dudes and skirts who wore them. They gave long life, and each had special powers, such as a gift of foresight, or protective power. Or like the one that the Halfling got his mitts on, invisibility.

It's always splitsville for anything that needs to keep itself together. America split into Yankee and Dixie, and the South never got over it when the North blew their troops full of daylight, and torched a few towns. Same deal in Middle-earth. Arnor, the North of the Numenorean realms-in-exile, was founded by Elendil the Tall in 3320, Second Age, but even though it was rich and dripping with prestige, it got sloppy with its politics, and fell apart into three smaller states, which led inevitably to conquest and destruction. But the South, Gondor, spent a thousand years getting fat and rich. Like Los Angeles, Vegas, Houston, New Orleans, and Miami rolled into one, but with architecture that put New York and Chicago to shame. King Elendil ran both North and South, but when it hit the fan, he handed off the keys to Gondor to his number-one son, Isildur, and Isildur's little brother, Anarion. Isildur was born in Numenor, which sank beneath the wine-dark seas like Atlantis, like Titanic, in 3319 Second Age, which is why my story is full of refugee families getting back on their feet any way they could glom onto enough lettuce, mazuma, or spondulix. Money talks; nobody walks.

It was probably Isildur who dealt the death-stroke to Sauron, in battle, after chopping off Sauron's finger that bore the one-ring-to-rule-them-all, the Ruling Ring, and the big boss bit the dirt when this Harlem sunset went down.

But he wasn't really zotzed, it turns out. Sauron was no roundheels, no pug down with a glass jaw, but picked himself up after lying dormy, like a jasper waking up groggy in a flophouse the morning after a Mickey Finn got slipped into his eel-juice.

Where that ring went next is a long story, but let's grab the twisted thread where the halfling Bilbo Baggins was about to fade. Bilbo was a songsmith and scribble-jockey of no mean talent, but was too old to hit the book tour, and ink another best-seller like his "There and Back Again," which he wrote after his epic journey to the East of (2941-2 Third Age). That red book recounted the events leading up to the Battle of the Five Armies, the restoration of the Dwarf-kingship of Erebor; and a big stash of cash, kale, oyster fruit, ice necklaces, and the like in the cave of dragon named Smaug, whose firey breath left the stink of smog in his nostrils like a traffic jam on the Miracle Mile.

[half of chapter 1; the first posting, some time ago, was preface; footnotes excised]

#51 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 08:08 PM:

Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren

I think it's Nova...

#52 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 08:24 PM:

'Tis. Opening two pages or so.

#53 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 09:21 PM:

"We were somewhere in the Emyn Muil, on the edge of the Dead Marshes when the Ring began to take hold. I remember saying something like 'I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive...' And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of Nazgul borne on the backs of fell beasts, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Mordor. And a voice was screaming: 'Elbereth! What are these goddamn animals?'

"Then it was quiet again. Sam had taken his shirt off, and was pouring beer on his chest, to facilitate the tanning process. 'What the hell are you yelling about, Master Frodo?' he muttered, staring up at the sun with he eyes closed and covered with wraparound Haradrim sunglasses."

(Because something someone else said lodged this in my head, and I needed to get it out...)

#54 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 09:24 PM:

Mr. Macdonald:

Prisoner of Zenda.

#55 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 09:31 PM:

The creator of the Stephenson pastiche was certainly entertaining, but it was the easy way out. The proper way to pastiche Tolkien-Stephenson is simply to insert the appendices to Return of the King, or the entirety of the Silmarillion, as scattered 15 page digressions.
(Including also, of course, chapter-long monolgues and set-pieces meant to explicate the economy of the shire, or comparing Dwarvish, Elvish, and Orcish metallurgy.)

#56 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 09:49 PM:

James D. Macdonald: Wodehouse.

Chad Orzel: Hunter S. Thompson.

#57 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 10:08 PM:

Let me add to my assertion above that the author of Prisoner of Zenda is Anthony Hope.

#58 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 10:18 PM:

This is probably too easy, and not very good either, but:


"Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Sauron, of Morgoth's lieutenant, murderous, Ring-forger, fated to die, sing of the rage that cost the Last Alliance so many good men and elves and sent so many vital, hearty souls to the Halls of Mandos and beyond. And while you're at it, O Muse, sing of the rage of the Valar themselves, so petulant and so passive there behind their safe walls, and of the rage of the Numenoreans, forgotten and diminished though they might be, and of the rage of those few true Eldar left, exiled and fading though they may have become. While you are singing, O Muse, sing also of the rage of those thoughtful, sentient, serious but not-so-close-to-human dwarves out there dreaming under the Lonely Mountain, dying in the halls of Khazad-dum, and being born in the Iron Hills.

"Oh, and sing of me, O Muse, poor bearer-of-burdens-too-great-for-mortals Frodo--poor Ring-Bearer Frodo Baggins, Frodo to his friends, to friends long since turned to dust in memories long since lost to the Ring. Sing of my rage, yes, of my rage, O Muse, small and insignificant though that rage may be when measured against the anger of the immortal Valar, or when compared to the wrath of the Ring-forger, Sauron."

#59 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 10:44 PM:

"I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world.

"My surname is Gamgee and my personal name is Samwise, but I am not to be confused with any eminent authors. My family is quite undistinguished, and since I am the fifth of my father's children and employed as a landscaper I am usually referred to as 'Sam, the gardener at Bag End.'"

#60 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 10:57 PM:

Chad: if there's a character in there who's a wizard with a slight flaw in his character, that's Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds.

#61 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 11:13 PM:

Okay, I'm trying again. Same author, same piece.

On the night in question, the Fellowship all went to sleep at about the same time. Boromir, as a matter of fact, had been in his sleeping roll all day with a kind of fever. He had not been delirious, but he warned us all that he might become delirious.

In the third watch, when wakefulness was on him, Boromir decided to pretend that delirium was on him, to, as he later explained to us, have some "fun." He went over to Frodo, shook him, and said, "Buck, give me the ring!" "Hmmm?" Frodo said. "Get up, Buck!" said Boromir coldly, but with a certain gleam in his eye. Frodo leaped up and shouted us all up.

We were naturally reluctant to believe that Boromir, who was quiet and self-contained, had threatened Frodo with any such abracadabra. Gimli went back to bed without any comment. "You've had a bad dream," said Aragorn. This vexed Frodo. "I tell you he called me Buck and told me to give him the ring!" We went to Boromir, who we thought was still sleeping; he lay on the ground, breathing easily, as if he were fast asleep. Aragorn gave Frodo a look. "I tell you he did." said Frodo.

#62 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 11:16 PM:

Alex: Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men In A Boat.

#63 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 11:50 PM:

Alex: James Thurber. "The Night the Bed Fell on My Father."

#64 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2004, 11:58 PM:

>“Woolheaded man!” sniffed Arwen, folding her arms beneath
>her breasts, then unfolding them again so she could tug on her

On behalf of those of us with breasts, may I just say: Ouch!

#65 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:00 AM:

check this one out. it hilarious, if you're familiar with the show.

The Balrog comes clumping out... Gandalf stands in the center of the bridge staff raised.

“You shall not pass! You will come no further. Your advancement shall halt right here for I shall stop you. All forward movement will cease immediately. Behind me is the other side, which you will not get to, for I will prevent it. You will try to use fire against me but it will not work for I, ... Gandalf, have come prepared with anti dark fire devices. The fire will fail, go out, and otherwise be completely ineffective. I shall not be burned for the fire will not work.”

#66 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:01 AM:

check this one out. it's hilarious, if you're familiar with the show.

The Balrog comes clumping out... Gandalf stands in the center of the bridge staff raised.

“You shall not pass! You will come no further. Your advancement shall halt right here for I shall stop you. All forward movement will cease immediately. Behind me is the other side, which you will not get to, for I will prevent it. You will try to use fire against me but it will not work for I, ... Gandalf, have come prepared with anti dark fire devices. The fire will fail, go out, and otherwise be completely ineffective. I shall not be burned for the fire will not work.”

#67 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:35 AM:

Antukin, if I were drinking coffee at this moment, you'd owe me a keyboard for reckless presentation of hysterical links.

(Of course, for me, The Professor is the obvious choice for Gandalf. Mojo would have to be Saruman, especially during the temptation-from-the-tower scene after the Ents - played by The People Of Townsville, with the Mayor as Treebeard - open up their can of whoopass.)

((Gods, I hope I got all those names right. I'm a relative newcomer to LOTR.))

#68 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:38 AM:

Chad Orzel:

'I shall clasp my hands together...'"

The Wallet of Kai Lung's author?

#69 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 02:19 AM:

Oh, fun!

My guesses (before reading the comment thread either):
I got 1 (Genesis), 3 (Sir Thomas Browne), 4 (P.G. Wodehouse), 5 (Ogden Nash), 15 (Zero Wing), and 18 (Dickens) well enough to be confident. At first I thought 19 was Rocky Horror, but then it sounded more like maybe Marvel?

#70 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 03:50 AM:

It was a dark and stormy night.

In the Prancing Pony Aragorn son of Arathorn, wrapped in a weatherstained cloak, sat at his usual table and watched the hobbits tossing back beer and singing songs. Outside the inn clouds flew urgently away from the Shire. Every few moments lightning flashed through them, illuminating wraithlike shadows that rode toward their halfling prey.

The inn shook.

Wrapped in his cloak, Aragorn shook.

He wasn't afraid of the weather. --It's not just the weather, he thought. --It's the Ringwraiths on top of everything else. On top of me. On top of the hobbits doing eveything to draw attention to themselves.

#71 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:06 AM:

Once upon a time, a rather long time ago now, about last Saturday, Bilbo Baggins lived with his nephew in a hobbit-hole, under the name Bag End.

("What does 'under the name of' mean?" asked Merry.

"It means that the hillside was called Bag End, and he lived under it," said Gandalf.)

"Pippin wasn't quite sure," said Merry.

"Now I am," squeaked a voice.

"Then I shall go on," said Galdalf.

#72 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:17 AM:

Last one for now:

The Red Book of Westmarch is a truly remarkable book. The introduction starts like this: "Hobbits," it says, are smallish folk with mind-bogglingly large, hairy, leathery feet. I mean, you may think you have trouble finding decent boots, but that's just peanuts to hobbits. Their feet are so big and tough that shoes themselves seem small and flimsy. Listen...."

After a while the style settles down a bit and the book starts to tell you something you might actually need to know, such as the fact that most of the Rings of Power were corrupted or destroyed, so if you should happen to find one, it is vitally important that you don't put it on.

#73 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:48 AM:

Interesting how many people get Genesis & John's Gospel confused.

We're told how religion suffuses much US culture (assuming many here are US citizens). I wonder if there's a different demographic spread here, or if there's not such an emphasis on bible memorizing as I'd thought?

#74 ::: Roger Burton West ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 05:16 AM:

Since Wodehouse has been mentioned, Tom Holt came up with rather a fine one:

#75 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 05:41 AM:

Karen -- the second one is Watership Down?

#76 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 07:06 AM:

Chad: if there's a character in there who's a wizard with a slight flaw in his character, that's Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds.

It is, indeed.

Once upon a time, a rather long time ago now, about last Saturday, Bilbo Baggins lived with his nephew in a hobbit-hole, under the name Bag End.

I'm not sure exactly what the title would be, but this is A. A. Milne, one of the Winnie the Pooh books.

"Several centuries (or so) ago, in a country whose name doesn't matter, there lived a hobbit named Baggins, and not the one you are thinking of, either."

#77 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 07:21 AM:

I got completely spoiled on the original list by TNH's hints, alas: when I put my cursor over the links, the URLs came up in the status bar at the bottom of my browser window, and said URLs give everything away.

As to this thread:

Kate Nepveu is doing John Barth's Grendel. I am slightly surprised that I know this, since I have not read it.

Karen Funk Blocher's third is of course The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Chad's is the opening line of John Bellairs' The Face in the Frost.

(To cross-pollinate this thread with the "Michael Berube" one, I'll say that I recently read Face and after all I'd read praising it, was very disappointed. The anachronisms didn't work for me -- Peter S. Beagle did it much better -- and the ending was lame.)

#78 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 07:48 AM:

Rana: My first response to four was the same as yours. (Pretty much down to the wording of my comment, but then I scrolled up.)

#79 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 07:49 AM:

Rana: My first response to four was the same as yours. (Pretty much down to the wording of my comment, but then I scrolled up.)

#80 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:00 AM:

"I wonder when in the world you're going to do anything, Frodo?" said my uncle's friend....

Was indeed Anthony Hope, The Prisoner of Zenda


And I'd spelled Delany as "Delany," then checked with how Teresa had spelled it, and corrected my post.

#81 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:32 AM:

David Goldfarb: I am not doing _Grendel_. (I feel better now that it isn't too easy after all.)

#82 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:38 AM:

Karen's second is A. A. Milne.

Jim, you know I'm fallible on proper names.

And now off to work.

#83 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:44 AM:

This is probably going to get me in trouble, but I couldn't resist:

"My story has no drama; a land defended, vows unbroken, faith upheld. That is not the stuff of legend. I am nothing but an old hobbit, even if I am still Mayor of my beloved Shire. . . .

"Sixty years and one it is, since Mr. Frodo departed and yet my memories of him are still very clear. The years I traveled as his companion shine brightest of all the memories of my long life."

(And too easy besides, but I figured if I cut the first two lines it would be too hard.)

#84 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:53 AM:

Alex - Darn! That's what I get for going to bed so early. I knew it immediately.

Shameless Thurberian self-promotion.

#85 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 09:46 AM:

Debra Doyle (and Jill): It certainly is Thurber, although the piece it's (ahem) "adapted" from is in "More Alarms at Night," which seems a very Tolkienesque chapter title to me.

And now, with great trepidation, considering that there's someone here who edited the original:

I lived long enough to see the Elves depart for the Undying Lands; to see the rise of the Age of Men; to learn ten languages; to realize my mission given me by the Valar to aid Middle Earth in its wars with Sauron; to see the end of the Council of the Wise and of wisdom.

I never thought I’d live to see the day when Keep A-Stridin' Aragorn would decide to become King Elessar until the end of his days.

Aragorn was in his second or third blush of youth when I first met him, sometime late-A3. He was a rangy cowpoke, apparent 40 or so, all rawhide squint-lines and sunburned neck, boots worn thin and infinitely comfortable. He was taking a break from Saving the World, chilling in Bree and bouncing for some poor innkeeper. We hooked up at the Prancing Pony---the PraPo for those who knew---on a busy Friday night, spring-ish. I was fighting an Ent-slow battle for a stool at the scratched bar, inching my way closer every time the press of bodies shifted, and he had one of the few seats, surrounded by a litter of pipeweed junk and empties, clearly encamped.

Some duration into my foray, he cocked his head at me and raised a sun-bleached eyebrow. "You get any closer, son, and they're going to have to write a lay about us."

#86 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 10:11 AM:
Interesting how many people get Genesis & John's Gospel confused.

We're told how religion suffuses much US culture (assuming many here are US citizens). I wonder if there's a different demographic spread here, or if there's not such an emphasis on bible memorizing as I'd thought?

While I think the demographics here are probably indeed not reflective of the US as a whole, I'm not sure there's that much emphasis on Bible memorization as such. It's been a while since the days of Tom Sawyer.

In my own case, I thought it was Genesis (although it didn't quite match my memory) because I've never read any Gospels, not holding with those new-fangled books.

On another note, whatever Kate's first one is, is referring to the Iliad, but I don't recognize the work itself.

#87 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 10:23 AM:

Ha! Alex, I just started reading that one -- downloaded on my PDA. Corey Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.

And yes, I do assert it's Nathaniel Hawthorne for #14, mostly because I'm good at hints. And I checked after I posted to see if I was right.

I don't know how anyone could miss #18, but then I read A Christmas Carol annually and watch both the George C. Scott and Muppet versions each Christmas...

#88 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 10:23 AM:

Alex - if I were feeling creative, I might put something together that had the Get Ready Man blast through the heart of Mordor...

But I'm not.

And considering that I started the distributed audio project for "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom," (whic seems to have stalled, oh well...) that was an easy one.

#89 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 10:48 AM:

Karen Funk Blocher's first one is Madeline L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time. It is the only book I've read that could successfully perpetrate "It was a dark and stormy night."

#90 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 11:16 AM:

Andy Perrin:

One of the reasons that One Hundred Trillion Planets, the novel manuscript I coauthored with Dr. Christine Carmichael, never sold was the opening line I wrote, for a chapter set on the Caltech campus:

"It was a stark and dormy night."

#91 ::: Jen ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 11:21 AM:

"Narrator: Meanwhile, the wizard Saruman, not more than a eagle's flight away in Isengard, was about to unleash his ultimate weapon upon the fellowship. Oh, that's a northern eagle's flight, obviously. I mean, they were more than two southern eagles' flights away-- four, really, if they had a wizard on a line between them. I mean, if the eagles were walking and dragging--
"Crowd of Hobbits: Get on with it!"

(I had a vision of Gandalf played by Tim the Enchanter, and went googling. This script is a bit uneven, but "On second thoughts, let's not go to Bombadil's. It is a silly place" and The Nazgul Who Say Ni have put a lasting smile on my face.

#92 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 11:37 AM:

I believe there's a Ren & Stimpy version of A Christmas Carol too, though I may have this confused - they only ran once on free-to-air here.

#93 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 11:46 AM:

Of men and wizards, elves and dwarfs, I sing,
Of Dunedain, and Barad-Dur's defeat;
And from those ancient days my story bring,
When orcs from Mordor passed on hostile feet,
And ravaged Tirith, with a Ringwraith king,
Flushed with his ancient rage and Morgul's heat,
Vowed venegeance for lost Numenor's demand
On Denethor, Steward of Gondor's land.

In the same strain of Frodo will I tell
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme,
To whom strange journeys and Ringed evil fell,
A hobbit deemed so small in former time;
If Luthien, that is, who's brought me well
Nigh to despair, release my wit to mime
The Red Book Chronicles with meager skill--
Then I my daring promise can fulfil.


#94 ::: david mb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 11:53 AM:

I assert that Kate Nepveu is pastiching _The King's
Peace_ by Jo Walton. Or not.

#95 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 11:59 AM:

As for the confusion between Genesis and the Gospel of John -- and especially for those like Dan Blum who may be familiar with the one but not the other -- the beginning of John deliberately plays on the beginning of Genesis. Almost a pastiche in itself, at least the first sentence. But then it starts getting into serious theological musings, whereas Genesis sticks with the action.

Which leads to #3. At first I thought Aquinas. But then I thought, maybe the Talmud?

I was on much surer ground with REM, Nash, e.e. cummings, and the Beatles. Even Cooper, and my brother's Classics Illustrated was the most of The Last of the Mohicans I could swallow, and I was about 8 then. I like Mark Twain's take on Cooper the best.

#96 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:01 PM:

My second one is indeed _The King's Peace_. (Still not sure if I should have taken out the first two lines, or changed it more, or not done it at all . . . Jo, forgive me?)

#97 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:16 PM:

BSD: The creator of the Stephenson pastiche was certainly entertaining, but it was the easy way out. The proper way to pastiche Tolkien-Stephenson is simply to insert the appendices to Return of the King, or the entirety of the Silmarillion, as scattered 15 page digressions.

In which case I assert that a Modesitt pastiche could be accomplished simply by making each scene its own chapter, with Roman-numeral headings, which would end around

"Well, I'm back," he said."

Simple mechanics don't make nearly as good a pastiche as any of the preceding posts -- and part of the trick is to get the essence into a small space, which neither of ours would do.

#98 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:39 PM:

And with your indulgence, another I twiddled last year:

Report to the White Council

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said-- "A vast and lidless eye of flame
Watches the waste.... Beside it, close at hand,
Half-built, a shattered tower stands, whose name,
And ancient use, and fear of old command,
Tell that its builder, who raged with passions well,
Still yet survives, stamped on some lifeless things,
The hands that wore them, and the hearts that fell;
And then the eye spoke words into the air:
'My name is Sauron the Great, Lord of Rings,
Look on my form, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside is said. Round the decay
Of Barad-Dur, once wrecked, boundless and bare
The ash of Mordor's Doom stretch far away."


#99 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:47 PM:

Surely there are no points for Ozymandius?

#100 ::: John C. Bunnell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:51 PM:

I have other things I should be doing, but temptation must sometimes be yielded to. Herewith two offerings -- one classical and not too difficult, one much more obscure that I couldn't resist in this gallery.

* * * *

"Frodo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey," said the Gaffer, introducing us.

"How are you?" he said cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should hardly have given him credit. "You have been in Bree, I perceive."

"How on earth did you know that?" I asked in astonishment.

"Never mind," said he, chuckling to himself. "The question now is about fire-letters. No doubt you see the significance of this discovery of mine?"

"It is interesting, alchemically, no doubt," I answered, "but practically—"

"Why, man, it is the most practical mystico-sorcerous discovery for years. Can't you see that it gives us an infallible test for lost Rings? Come over here now!"

* * * *

Night had come to Hobbiton in the Shire. Night, but not darkness or quiet. Snatches of cheerful talk and lively music spilled out through open doorways, and the low gurgling of briskly flowing river-water never stopped. Gandalf the Grey – tall and thin, with pale silver hair tucked back from a face too sharply planed for handsomeness – strode through the crowded square with a wizard’s fine disregard for the village-bound locals. The locals, in turn, took note of his purposeful air, and of his heavy walking staff gripped in a leather-tanned hand, and let him pass.

* * * *

#101 ::: bruce purcell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:56 PM:

Hi! I'm king of a large Middle-Earth kingdom, and this ruler's got twelve inches, but I always thought the letters here were made up until I walked in on Liv Tyler bathing with her fairy handmaidens-

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:56 PM:

Love the Ozymandias one.

John's first one is Sherlock Holmes ("A Study in Scarlet," perhaps?).

The other one seems very familiar, but I can't place it. LeGuin?

#103 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 12:57 PM:

John: Bwah! I was just wondering if I could manage a Mageworlds one. (Gave _The Price of the Stars_--which that is--to my father-in-law and over dinner last night he said he really liked it.)

The first, of course, is _A Study in Scarlet_.

#104 ::: John C. Bunnell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:01 PM:

John's first one is Sherlock Holmes ("A Study in Scarlet," perhaps?).

Correct, of course. I didn't think that would last long.

The other one seems very familiar,

This is as it should be.

but I can't place it. LeGuin?

Not even close. But I sense hysterical giggling in the background....

#105 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:01 PM:

Thank you, bruce purcell, for not continuing your Penthouse pastiche.

#106 ::: John C. Bunnell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:05 PM:

And that will teach me to underestimate this gallery -- Kate is, of course, also correct. (I had thought the second one might fake folks out for considerably longer than ten minutes....)

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:08 PM:

Arggh. An imitation of imitation LeGuin. A touch, I do confess it. (slumps lifeless to the floor)

#108 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:14 PM:

Ah! I see that others have beaten me to Bellairs and A Conan Doyle. Nicely done, both. As for Thurber, I was thinking about working from a fable or "File and Forget," but the one from My Life and Hard Times is probably more apt. Hark!

Another entry in this derby kept me up until 3 AM scribbling it, but I won't post the thing until I get home from work.

#109 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:16 PM:

Like I said, I'd been pondering it myself, that's all.

(Similarly, I started and abandoned "Yeah, I'm a Ranger of the North. We didn't go away in the nineteenth century, no matter what the Witch-King of Angmar tried to pull." as beyond my skills.)

#110 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:20 PM:

Kate, is your first one from Dan Simmons' _Ilium_? The opening sounds like Fagles' translation of the Iliad, but the rest, not so much.

#111 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:36 PM:

Mark: it's the opening of _Ilium_ indeed (original).

(Also, I meant "twentieth century" (1900s, twentieth century, can never keep these straight, even when I bother to look up dates).)

#112 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:39 PM:

He dons the ring with nerveless hands
Close to the Eye in evil lands,
Lost to himself at last, he stands.

Gollum Frodo's exit stalls.
From fatal bite, o'er lava walls
With ring and finger, Gollum falls.

#113 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:48 PM:

One Ring! One Ring! Glowing bright,
Forged in fires of the night,
What immortal, lidless Eye
Now seeks thy grasping symmetry?

#114 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:53 PM:

"Little hobbit, who made thee?" Naw.

Lamb, from Songs of Experience. Yours, I mean, not the one I thought better of doing.

#115 ::: John C. Bunnell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 01:55 PM:

The second of Karen's is Blake's "Tyger, Tyger!"; I think the first may be Longfellow's "Village Blacksmith", but my memory of the original is a trifle vague.

#116 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 02:05 PM:

Hobbits, go where I send thee.
Where shall I send thee?
I will send thee south and east
Where darkness falls and you the least,
Baggins, little bitty halfling
Will slip beneath his notice,
Hope, oh, hope of Hobbiton!

#117 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 02:06 PM:

Karen's first one is Tennyson's "The Eagle: A fragment".

#118 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 02:08 PM:

Rats, I got mixed up. Of course it's Blake. Rats.

#119 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 02:09 PM:

Not Longfellow, but Tennyson.

I should wait to post another until someone at least pokes a stab at my first one. (Must. Resist. Verse.)


#120 ::: Alter S. Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 02:30 PM:

Perhaps not exactly obscure, but writing this amused me:

"If one finds a ring in a dark cave, or an enchanted blade in a grave-barrow, these he is allowed to keep."

If one finds a ring in a dark cave -- what is the reason for this? Thus said R. Yitzchak: It is because the owner of the ring would have been checking it at all times, and thus, he would have noticed when he lost it, and surely he would have said, "woe is me, for I have lost my preciousss," and as R. Zvid said in the name of Rabha, if one says, "woe it me, for I have lost my preciousss," he does not expect to recover it.

And of which rings are we talking? Rabha bar R. Chana says, "even the nine". Ullah says, "even the seven." Reish Lakish says, "even the three." R. Nachman says in the name of Shmuel, "This is only true of the One Ring, and that only because the One Ring is never truly lost by chance."

#121 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 02:35 PM:

My gods, Alter, that's wonderful.

#122 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 02:47 PM:


I should wait to post another until someone at least pokes a stab at my first one. (Must. Resist. Verse.)

Must have more verse.

So, to free your muse, I assert Orlando Furioso.

#123 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 03:26 PM:

Assert correctly. (Rose translation, the only one I can find online, rather than the superior Reynolds or even acceptable Harrington.) My long-term ambition is to do to high fantasy what Ariosto and Co. did to chivalric epic, so this seemed a perfect mashup.

So, an easier one:

The Tower is of Night; perchance of Death
  But certainly of Night; for never there
Can come the elven morning's fragrant breath
  After the dewy dawning's cold grey air:
The ash and plains may lie in scorn or pity
The trees have never visited that city,
  For it dissolveth everything that's fair.

Dissolveth like dreams of twilight lands of yore;
  Though present in distempered gloom of thought
And deadly weariness from rings we wore.
  But when a dream night after night is brought
Throughout a week, and such weeks few or many
Recur each year for several years, can any
  Discern that dream in dooms that we have wrought?

For elves are but a dream: their ships returned,
  Once frequently, now seldom, in the night
Beside the bay, the twilight bay; we learned,
  The while Men changed and ages vanished quite,
In their recurrence by recurrent changers
A former Westron order; and these Rangers
  We raised to kings; such is bloodline's might.


#124 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 03:27 PM:

"Will you give me the One Ring?
Don't you trust me with such a thing?"

"I will not give you the One Ring,
I don't trust you with such a thing.
I do not like your evil plan.
I do not like it, Saruman."

#125 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 03:51 PM:

Because brevity is the . . . well, no it isn't, but anyway:

Lay ordinate and abcissa on Middle-Earth and cut me an age. Third Age, if you please."

Mordor pissed him off.

"Uh, hi, Gandalf. How you been?"

It is an ancient prophecy universally acknowledged that a young Halfling in possession of a Ring of Power must be in want of, well, it, though circumstances may intrude.

"Mistah Sauron -- he dead."

"Fly, my Nazgûl. Fly!"

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.

#126 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 03:58 PM:

Pardon my rudness in abruptly delurking, but this is irresistable. This is probably a lame attempt, nevertheless:

By the hilly side of Bag End
By the Shire of little hobbits
Lay the hole of Bilbo Baggins
Bane of dragons, Bilbo Baggins

#127 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 03:59 PM:

Will Frank: Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite Dr. Seuss book. Thanks for that one.

And, back to prose for my vague attempt:

But I had seen first one and then another of the spaces in which I had slept during my life, and in the end I would revisit them all in the long course of my waking dream: places in Mordor, where on trying to sleep I would at once burrow my head into a shelter woven out of the most diverse materials -- the corner of my chainmail, the top of my tunic, a piece of a cloak, the edge of a rock, and the chain on which I held my Ring -- which I had contrived to cement together, bird-fashion, by dint of continuous pressure; places where, in freezing weather, I would suffer the torment of being shut out from the inner world (unlike other Hobbits, who build in holes in the hillsides and are kept warm by the surrounding earth), and where, a fire prohibited lest we be seen, I would lie awake wrapped up, in a great cloak of orc design, shadowed by the cover of clouds intermittently closing over the moon, a sort of alcove without walls, a cave of fear dug out of the heart of Mordor itself, a zone of terror whose boundaries were constantly shifting and altering in temperature as gusts of air traversed them to strike freshly upon my face, from the corners of the region or from parts near the stream or far from the fires of Mount Doom which had therefore remained cold....

Er... The sentence really ought to go on for quite a while yet, but I don't know how much longer I could keep that up.

#128 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:03 PM:

I'm done after this, honest.


When Gandalf walked into the Prancing Pony in Bree that evening, the regulars were discussing news from the South. "That Sauron is up to no good," one of the regulars was saying.

"No good? He's one of the Wise. Cleared Mirkwood and everything," said a second regular.

The owner, Butterbur, stood to one side of the bar putting up a poster ("REWARD for information regarding one Mr. Underhill of the Shire"). As he dropped a hammer on his foot, the first regular frowned. "No, different guy. Sauron hasn't been on this side of the continent in forever, let alone Mirkwood. You mean *Saruman*, not Sauron."

Butterbur, grimacing, stood up and thumped the hammer down on the bar. A third regular nodded. "Saruman the White. He bummed a pack of cigarettes off me once. Big talker, that one."

"The White?" said the second regular with scorn. "Not if he's a smoker, he isn't. Saruman the Dingy Yellow, maybe, but not the White."

Butterbur wadded up the poster and tossed it to one side, and then looked at Gandalf. "Guinness, right? Been a while," he said as he took out a glass.

"Yeah. Anyone been looking for me?"

"The bourbon; he's in the back room." Strider, then; Butterbur identified his customers by drink. "Got a stranger with him, little guy who wanted fish. I gave him a Jenny, told him closest I got."

"Thanks." Gandalf headed for the back room, leaving behind the regulars, who were now discussing whether the thrush involved in Smaug's death was a bird or a mouth infection.

#129 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:07 PM:

(Especially since the wrong version was in the paste buffer and I didn't notice. Change the poster to a lost-and-found for a gold ring, because the timing is wrong otherwise. I'll just be going away, now . . . )

#130 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:10 PM:

Mr. Ford: This one is Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. Nice.
It is an ancient prophecy universally acknowledged that a young Halfling in possession of a Ring of Power must be in want of, well, it, though circumstances may intrude.

#131 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:12 PM:

Well, Mike, your first one is Time/Stones. The others I can't guess.

#132 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:18 PM:

I blame Kate's bar pastiche...

Frodo put a single on the bar top. "Beer," he said to Butterbur, who slid him a pint a moment later. He drained it and walked up to the line. "To my burden," he said, throwing the glass into the fire. To follow it up, he pitched in a gold ring hanging on a chain around his neck.

I looked on. He knew something about the rules at the Pony, or he wouldn't have done that, but we were all wondering whether he'd decide to, well, unburden himself any further.

#133 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:21 PM:

Spider Robinson. A Callahan story; if I specific one, I give up.

#134 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:24 PM:

It wasn't a specific, Xophar, though I suppose the one it fits closest is the very first, "The Guy With The Eyes."

It was sort of a given once I thought about it, especially with the fireplace and the Ring...

#135 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:24 PM:

"Fly, my Nazgûl. Fly!" is, I assert, The Wizard of Oz.

#136 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:26 PM:

Wouldn't a better parallel be "Mistah Saruman — he dead"? Well, parallel for Kurtz; the Congo is rather Mordoresque. (Mordorish? Modoronic?)


#137 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:38 PM:

Mordorian. It's also the mode the trumpets play in.

#138 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 04:41 PM:

Has anybody ever tried to do it in haiku? For example:

The ringbearer's task:
Destroy the ring of power
Precious as it is.

Of course, I had to leave out a lot of detail.

#139 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 05:01 PM:

Kate -- Dortmunder?

#140 ::: Peg Duthie ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 05:32 PM:

mayakda: "Song of Hiawatha," Longfellow.

#141 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 07:31 PM:

Suzanne: Proust?

#142 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 07:38 PM:

Phil: Correct.

#143 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 07:40 PM:

Well, when I finally looked at this, I got 8 of the 19, St John, Jordan, Nash, the 2 Chandler, cummings, Burgess, and all your base. I really ought to have got the Hawthorne, but I never did like American Lit. No, I'm not going to try my hand. I don't have time. I have to be somewhere in 2 hours and I haven't even had a shower yet and I don't know what I'm going to wear.


#144 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 07:55 PM:

Here we go:

When I heard the knock on the front door I was in the kitchen, boiling a pot of tea and smoking a pipe of Old Toby, which is the perfect way to pass the time while waiting for the kettle to whistle.

I wanted to ignore the door, not only because the pot was beginning to chirp, but because I had finally begun to blow truly fine rings of smoke through the window and out into the night air. Finally, though, I had to give in. It could have been somebody with news of Bilbo. I lowered the flame, went to the entrance hall, and opened the door.

"Ten minutes, please," said the tall man in gray without.
I'm good at recognizing people, but this odd fellow escaped my immediate recollection.
"Excuse me? To whom did you wish to speak?"
"To -you-, of course. Ten minutes please. That's all we need to understand each other." His voice was deep and gravelly.
"Understand each other?"
"Our mutual need for you to keep something secret, keep something safe."
I leaned back and peeked into the kitchen. The kettle had stopped chirping and was now whistling shrilly, and my pipe of Old Toby was still burning nicely.
"Sorry, but you caught me in the middle of making tea. Can I ask you to stop by later?"
"Tea? What in Elbereth's name are you making tea at three in the morning for?"
"That's none of your business," I said, "I decided what I drink and when I drink it."
"True enough. I'll call back," he said, his face now flat and expressionless. A little change in mood can do amazing things to a person's face.
"Hold on a minute," I said, before he could turn to leave, "If this has something to do with the Sackville Bagginses wanting Bag End, you can forget it. It's mine, and I'm not leaving it for anything."
"Oh ho. So you think."
"So I think? So I think what?"
"That you're not leaving your precious Bag End. You are. But go boil your stupid tea."
"Who the hell -"

But he turned and simply walked off.

#145 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:13 PM:

In Khazad-Dum did Durin's Folk
A stately treasure cave decree,
Which orcs and trolls soon overran
In caverns closed to dwarf and man
Far from the streets of Bree.

(Apologies if I misspelled the place name.)

And, oh-so-obviously (did someone do this already?,

Call me Mithrandir.

#146 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:15 PM:

Numerous parallels between LOTR and Gravity's Rainbow, (also in Vineland) as I have commented before elswhere on these threads. I thought of doing a Pynchon/Tolkein parody, but that's way beyond my feeble capacity as a writer.

#147 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:22 PM:

Mark--yes, that was Dortmunder. I must have been even worse at it than I thought if you have to put the question mark on. =>

#148 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:48 PM:

Dammit, Mike, I was all set to do Austen, but yours is better.

#149 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 08:50 PM:


The City Of Dreadful Night, James Thomson. Another poem I really need to run through a text-to-speech program to listen to on my commute.

BTW, I still love your Ben Johnson epigram.

#150 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 09:34 PM:

Karen -- Coleridge, Xanadu, and Melville.

For my own part:

Shagrat never overslept reveille. He always got up at once, because the next ninety minutes, until the captains put them to work, belonged to him, not to them, and any veteran could always earn a few favors: fixing a bit of chainmail for someone, or bringing some high-ranking Uruk their gear, or doing the rounds of the store-huts, sweeping this and fetching that.

#151 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 10:48 PM:

I need to stop doing these:

These ambiguities, redundancies and deficiencies remind us of those which Doctor Saruman the White attributes to a certain Numenorean encyclopaedia entitled 'Celestial Empire of Benevolent Knowledge'. In its remote pages it is written that rings are divided into: (a) belonging to Sauron, (b) tacky, (c) fake, (d) for the Elven kings under the sky, (e) coveted, (f) fabulous, (g) for the Dwarf lords in their halls of stone, (h) included in the present classification, (i) for mortal men doomed to die, (j) precious, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just slipped off the wearer's finger, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.

#152 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 11:24 PM:

Thomson it is. Yet another source text for modern fantasy that's undeservedly overlooked.

And thank you.


#153 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2004, 11:44 PM:

Oh, and Karen--I think you got "Khazad-dum" right. Maybe off by an umlaut, but the letters look right to me.

#154 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2004, 01:57 AM:

Karen, Will: I believe it's Khazad-Dûm, with a circumflex over the "u", so close enough.

Chad: Borges. Don't remember the title, but our eminent hostess quoted the part of the original that you use once.

#155 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2004, 04:43 AM:

Yes, Borges: "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius".

#156 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2004, 11:28 AM:

Peg: you got it!

I'm admiring Karen's Xanadu pastiche. Wanted to do an Eldorado yesterday but it's just beyond me.

#157 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2004, 11:30 AM:

Gee, you folks are fabulous, with much more elegant pastiches than mine. Nevertheless I'm going to post a couple more and then go to work. Addicting, this stuff is! If no one has any objections, I'll be reposting the ones I wrote on my main blog, Musings from Mavarin, after school tonight, possibly with a few more over the next day or two.



Gollum leads you up to his stairway into Mordor
You can hear the orcs go by
You can stay entombed forever
And you know you’ve gone half-crazy
But that’s why you have to be there
And Sam feeds you out of dishes
Carried all the way from the Shire
And just when you want to tell him
That you cannot travel further
He takes you in his arms
And he lets his strong back answer
You’re not heavy, you’re his brother.

And we want to travel with them
And we want to read their tale
And we think we understand them
For the world in which we find them
Makes ours pale.

And Sauron was a voyeur when he sent out his nine Ringwraiths
He spent the last year watching
From Barad-Dur his tower
And when he knew for certain
That both elves and men were falling
He said, “all their lords will die except
The ones that heed my calling,”
But his dark power was broken
By a lowly injured Halfling
Never quite forsaken
You lost the Ring of Power
At Mount Doom.


Now Sam leads you down to the base of the volcano
You can see the world is changing
By the dawn that’s late in breaking
And the eagles fly in beauty
To bear you and Sam to glory
And though you’re slow to heal, you’re with
The Ranger at his crowning
There are heroes from the Shire
There are men who are rebuilding
There are elves now looking out to sea
Who’ll sail away forever
And you too will be a sailor.


It was a long-expected party.
Suddenly, the host disappeared! The guests shouted. A gate slammed.
Suddenly, a Black Rider appeared on the horizon!

I was out with Sam, my gardener. It was his year for following me around; he kept calling me Mister Frodo. He thought he was doing his duty by me. Gandalf’s fault. Ha, ha.

He’d cooked a couple of coneys for me, with herbs, no taters, reluctantly helped by Gollum, who’d since gone off on his own.

I’d eaten pretty good, but I was cranky. “Come on, son of a bitch,” I demanded, “find me a way out of this damned wasteland.”

“Repent, Gandalf!” said Saruman.
“Get stuffed!” said Mithrandir.

#158 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2004, 11:35 AM:

2. Snoopy, "It Was A Dark And Stormy Night"

3a. Ellison, "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman"

#159 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2004, 12:20 PM:

1. Leonard Cohen, "Suzanne."

#160 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2004, 04:17 PM:

Foucault? Sounds like the prologue or introduction to "The Order of Things".

#161 ::: plover ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 03:07 AM:

Having thus far been spared reading "The Wheel of Time", but being an obsessive reader of Delany, I apparently traded most people's reaction to #11 for their reaction to #4. I was (un?)fortunately not holding a drink however, so I did not have to clean my monitor or keyboard afterward.

cd, David Goldfarb:
Dan's right. It's Foucault quoting Borges. Also, the original is not "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbus Tertius", but an essay entitled "John Wilkins' Analytical Language".

#162 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 03:12 AM:

Tim Walters, thanks. I could hear Judy Collins sing it, but all I could think of was "Michael from Mountains," and I knew that was wrong.

#163 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 04:59 AM:

A Elbereth Glithoniel,
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
Silivren penna miriel.
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
O menel aglar elenath!
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Na-chaered palan-diriel
ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo.
O galadhremmin ennorath,
non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
Nef aear, si nef aearon.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the Nazgul are spread out against the sky
Like Galadhrim upon a telain;
Let us go, through Pelargir’s harbor streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights within The Prancing Pony
Where Barliman Butterbur hung bologna:
Streets that follow like paths of leeches
Of insidious henchmen muttering Black Speeches
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, "Who, where, or when?"
Let us go there and back again.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Samwise and Frodo.

The golden Smaug that captured and sacked Erebor,
The golden Smaug that rubs its muzzle on the horde of Dale,
Licked its tongue into the East of Mirkwood,
Lingered upon the pools that stand by ruined Laketown,
Let fall upon its scales the soot that falls from flaming,
Slipped by Lonely Mountain, made a sudden leap,
And being then inside the mountain, fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the pipe-weed smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the visages you meet;
There will be time to murder and to hate,
And time for 'Reckoning of Years,'
That lifts and drops a datebook on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred ales in flagons,
And for a hundred tales of dragons,
In revisions by Bilbo Baggins
Before the taking of lembas and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Samwise and Frodo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the Winding Stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair --
[They will say: "How his toe-hairs are growing thin!"]
My morning cloak, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a elven pin --
[They will say: "His bushy eyebrows have grown thin!"]
Do I dare
Disturb the Middle-earth?
In a minute there is time
For histories and trilogies which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all: --
Have known the evenings, and the mornings luminous,
I have measured out my life with the Sceptre of Annuminas;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music of the Dwarves of Khazad-dum.
So how should I presume?

#164 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 07:07 AM:

Yes, Borges: "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius".

It is Borges, but the story is "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins."

Last one. Really. We're getting in the car and leaving town after this:

so much depends

a ring of

borne through dark

by a simple

#165 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 09:10 AM:


A brilliant conversion of Eliot's Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock. Kudos!

#166 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 09:14 AM:

Éomer's hand slapped down hard upon the table. "Good God, woman, where have you been?" he cried furiously.
A morbid lunacy overtook her. She smiled fiercely at him, and held up the bag. "Shopping."
For a second, her brother nearly believed her; conflicting expressions whiplashed over his face, astonishment, disbelief, then anger as it penetrated he was being mocked.
"Want to see what I bought?" Éowyn continued, still floating. She yanked the bag's top open and rolled the giant beast's head out across the table. Fortunately, it had stopped leaking some hours back. It stopped face up before him, beak gaping, drying eyes staring. The iron crown rolled clanking across the table and came to rest across the severed neck. Merry, grimly proud of his key role in stage-managing this historic moment in one-upmanship, laid the barrow swordhilt on the table as further evidence.
Faramir was perfect. His eyes widened only briefly, then he rested his chin on his hands and gazed at her with an expression of cool interest. "But of course," he breathed. "Every swordmaiden of Rohan goes to Minas Tirith to shop."
"I paid too much for it," Éowyn confessed.
"That, too, is traditional."

She was just 2,710
And you know what I mean
And the way she looked was way beyond compare
So how could I seek the throne of Gondor for another
When I saw her standin' there

#167 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 09:24 AM:

Janet: I can't believe we seem to have forgotten Bujold (Barrayar, to be specific) up to now...

And the other is "I Saw Her Standing There," which I'm crediting to the Beatles.

Oh, and Chad: You may find it interesting to know that William Carlos Williams ("The Red Wheelbarrow") went to my high school. No one escapes without having read that poem, and few manage to like it.

I'm just grateful we don't have to read "Paterson."

(Teresa, you have a summer intern who went to that school as well, right?)

#168 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 09:29 AM:

That was quick, Will! I had such fun drooling over writing that, and had to restrain myself from starting a reading of the whole Miles cycle again then and there... That was the Beatles, and "I Saw Her Standing There" was also covered later by Elton John with backup vocals by John Lennon.

#169 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 09:39 AM:

Oh, I know the Beatles sung it, my father has "Please Please Me"; but I couldn't recall for a second whether it was one of the ones they'd actually written, or one of the ones they themselves covered in the early days of their career.

#170 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 11:39 AM:

Janet: it absolutely fits. So well that it seems obvious - as do all great ideas once a better mind thinks of them! Thanks for that.

#171 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 11:54 AM:
Jonathan Vos Post wrote:
A Elbereth Glithoniel,

I don't know about the rest of you, but, personally, I cannot read that snippet without hearing in my head:
Elf booty got soul!
Elf girls like to rock-and-roll!

#172 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 12:26 PM:

Kate -- forgive you? You made me go hot and cold all over. Not a new sensation, but not a frequent one either.

They say the balrog and the goblin keep
The courts where Durin feasted and drank deep
And Balin son of Fundin? The wild orc
Stumps past his tomb, but he is fast asleep.

#173 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 01:03 PM:

I Saw Her Standing There was indeed a (relatively early) Lennon-McCartney composition.

Look what I found
In a cave
Dark as a grave.
It's a magic ring.
It's a precious thing.
I put it on to vanish.
Its hold on my thoughts grows.
Should I pass it on now?
Gandalf knows.

Not the first use of this writer here, but it's from my favorite book by him.

#174 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 01:50 PM:

Jo -- I'm guessing Khayyam, but if so were you aiming for a particular translation? (I've never read any but have heard of several.)

#175 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 03:46 PM:

And I have known the eyes already, known them all--
The eye that fixes you through Palantir,
And when I am formulated, sprawling in a web,
When I am pinned and wriggling in Shelob’s Lair,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the pipe-stems of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all --
Arms braceleted with Mithril, white and bare
[But in the elf-light, downed with golden hair!]
Is it perfume from an Eldar dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that swing the Sword of Elendil or Anduril,
or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

. . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through Gondor streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely Dunedain in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of Entish roots
Scuttling across the forest floors of Entmoots.

. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by my nine remaining fingers,
Asleep … tired … or so slowly healing,
Stretched on the Bag End bed, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and lembas in the Second Breakfast,
Have the strength to force the Fellowship to crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no Gandalf -- and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the Hairy-Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the Misty Mountain marmalade, the tea,
Among the Westmark porcelain, and talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while, however weary,
To have bitten off the conversation’s finger with a smile,
To have squeezed all Middle-earth into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming query,
To say: “I am Gandalf, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all” --
If one, splitting hairs in deconstructed Theory,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and circular doorways and road ever on,
After the Book of Mazarbul, the teacups, skirts that trail along the floor --
And this, and so much more? --
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a Palantir threw nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling an Eagle-feather pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

. . . . .

No! I am not Prince Isildur, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant Hobbit, one that will do
To fill a Fellowship, steal a scene or two,
Carry a golden Ring; no doubt, an easy tool,
Looking out behind me at a pool of Gollum drool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Honest, frightened, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse compared to Bilbo;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall print my chapter headers semibold.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel breeches, barefoot upon the beach.
I have heard the Numenoreans singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have dreamed the White Fleet seaward on the waves,
Cirdan the Shipwright sailing to the West
When wind wears water white upon its vest.

We have lingered in the landlocked Sea of Rhun
Beyond Rhovanion, seaweed maroon and brown
Till Elven voices wake us, and we drown.

#176 ::: plover ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 06:01 PM:

A bit obvious, but I haven't seen it yet:

The Ring that can be melted is not the One Ring.
The Dark Lord that can be killed is not the true Lord.

#177 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 06:08 PM:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The Nazgul cannot hear the Palantir;
Things fall apart; so Gondor cannot hold;
Orc anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The Shire’s pastoral innocence is drowned;
Theoden lacks all convictions; Saruman
Is full of passionate intensity.

Surely some reckoning is at hand;
Surely the Fourth Age is at hand.
The Fourth Age! Hardly are those words out
When an image from the Red Book of Westmarch
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the Shadow Land of Mordor
A shape with dragon cunning and an eye inhuman,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is spreading its black tentacles from Barad-dur, below
Reel shadows of Gorgoroth desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That thirty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by Morannon iron,
And what gold Ring, its hour come round at last,
Staggers towards Orodruin to be unmade?

#178 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2004, 07:25 PM:

Wow. Very well done on the Yeats.

#179 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2004, 12:55 AM:

Jonathon, I love it. Brilliant! I'm going to make all my friends read it now :)

#180 ::: Michael Spence ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2004, 09:38 PM:

Plover: Obvious or not, it certainly helps to complete the package: the Tao Te Ching. I like it.

#181 ::: Michael Spence ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2004, 09:40 PM:

Jonathan: Wow! Nicely done. At the very least you get points for stamina.

#182 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2004, 11:37 PM:

Samwise and Rosie
Are alive and well
And they're living at Bag End
She's still an alehouse barmaid
He has his bit of garden to tend
And they sit around at night now
Smoking Longbottom blend

And she says Samwise you're really bringing me down
And he says Rosie sometimes you can really bite
He says I've wasted my life
On our stupid legend
When my one and only love
Was the Barrow-wight.

She says What's his story?
And he says History is a Nazgûl
Being blown backwards
Into Mordor.
History is a pile of dead trees
And the Nazgûl wants to come here
And fix Rings
To repair the Rings that have been melted
But there's a storm blowing from Valinor
And it keeps on blowing the Nazgûl
Into Mordor
And this storm
This storm
Is called Gan

#183 ::: plover ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 12:55 AM:

Who so list to hount we knowes where is a Baggins
   but as for precious (gollum) we may no more
   the vayne travaill hath weried us so sore
   we are of theim that farthest behinde is lagging
   yet by no meanes my precious may our mynde
   drawe from the precious that Baggins stole afore
   faynting we folowes we leves off therefor
   sethens in a nett we sekes to hold the wynde (gollum)
Who list Baggins hount we puts it owte of dowbte
   as well as we (precious) spends its tyme in vain
   and across mountainses misty in Eriador plain
There is precious, nassty Elvish letters abowte:
   Ash nazg durbatulûk for precious
                                       (gollum gollum)
                                                      is of the Black Land
   we must wrynge the precious from Baggins' thieving hand

#184 ::: plover ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 01:01 AM:

Laurie Anderson, "The Dream Before"
Quite spiffy.

#185 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 07:59 AM:

plover - thanks. I can't ID yours, I'm afraid, but I bet someone will.

#186 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 10:54 AM:


I believe that'd be Sir Thomas Wyatt, Who so list to hounte, I know where is an hynde.

Somewhere, my highschool British Literature teacher just got a smile on her face, and she doesn't know why...

#187 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 11:55 AM:

Bilbo, Bilbo, Bilbo, Bilbo
I'm begging of you please don't take my ring
Bilbo, Bilbo, Bilbo, Bilbo
I cannot live without that precious thing.

It helped me get the fishes sweet
So now there's nothing I can eat
I'll waste away to skin and bones, Bilbo.
You could have your choice of rings
From dragon hoards, and other things,
But that's the only ring for me, Bilbo.

I talk about it in my sleep
There's nothing I can do to keep
From cursing when I say your name, Bilbo.
I'll track it down, I tell you true,
And there is nothing I won't do
To get my ring back from your hand, Bilbo.

Bilbo, Bilbo, Bilbo, Bilbo
I'm begging of you please don't take my ring
Bilbo, Bilbo, Bilbo, Bilbo
I cannot live without that precious thing.

#188 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 01:17 PM:

Copyright © 2004 by Magic Dragon Multimedia


FAT black Orcs in a wine-barrel room,
Uruk-hai kings, with feet unstable,
Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table,

Pounded on the table,
Beat an empty barrel with the flat side of a sword,
Hard as they were able,
Dark Dark LORD,
With the handle of an axe, and the flat side of a sword,
Enemies Gored, Dark Dark LORD.
THEN I had religion, THEN I had a vision.
I could not turn from their revel in derision.
Then along that riverbank
A thousand miles
Morgoth-bred murderers danced in files;
Then I heard the boom of the blood-lust song
And a Hobbit-bone beating on a tin-pan gong.

And "BLOOD" screamed the whistles and the fifes of the warriors,
"BLOOD" screamed the jagged-fanged scimitar-carriers,
"Praise to Azog, who slew King Thror,
Hail to Leader Ugluk and to Chief Grishnakh,
Kill all the Dwarves, kill all the Elves,
Kill the Men of Gondor,
And eat them yourselves!
It’s good to be the Horde, Dark Dark LORD.
A roaring, epic, monster mash.
From the north of Wilderland
To the Bay of Belfalas.
Death is an Oliphaunt,
Torch-eyed and horrible,
Foam-flanked and terrible.
DOOM, kill the Hobbits,
DOOM, kill the Elves,
DOOM, from Thangorodrim,
Listen to the yell of Sauron the Great,
From the pits of Hell through the tall Black Gate.
Hear how the goblins chuckle and yell
Of One Ring forged in Orodruin, hot as Hell.
Listen to the creepy proclamation,
Blown through the lairs of the desert-nation,
Blown past Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains,
Blown past the marsh where dead warriors float,
Blown to Ethir Anduin, south of Dol Amroth: --
"Be careful what you do,
For Great Lord Sauron, Lord of Dol Guldur,
With all of the other
Killers of Mordor:
One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them.
One Ring to rule them all
And in the darkness bind them!"

#189 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 02:05 PM:

James D.: Dolly Parton, "Jolene."

#190 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 02:22 PM:

JvP: Vachel Lindsay, "The Congo". (Once I recognized it, I was annoyed that it took almost to the refrain to do so; "I. Their Basic Savagery" is a giveaway against which my only excuse is that it's been 40 years since I read it.)

#191 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 04:22 PM:

WHENEVER Aragorn went into town,
We of Rohan and Gondor looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
In Ranger green and brown, imperially slim.

And he had served Kings Thengel and Ecthelion,
And he was Elven-human when he talked;
And he was handsome as Viggo Mortensen,
Raised by Elrond, glittered when he walked.

And he was Heir of Isildur, someday a king,
And schooled by Gandalf in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we trudged, to guard the golden Ring,
In Fellowship, and munched the Lembas bread;
And Aragorn, one calm summer night,
To Elven Princess Arwen Evenstar was wed.

#192 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 05:34 PM:


"Richard Cory", Edwin A. Robinson

Y'all are making me wish I were good at this.

#193 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 06:52 PM:

Had we all Middle-earth, and time,
This coyness, Wood-Elf, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Great River's side
Shouldst Mithril nuggets find; I deep inside
The mighty Mellyrn's golden leaves could
Love you though the Celebrant would Flood;
And you should sing, pure as tuning forks,
Till the conversion of the Orcs.
My vegetable love is spent
Vaster than empires, slow as an Ent.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, on thy diadem'd forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
A Greenwood Age to every part,
And the last Age show your Elven heart.
For, lady, I say without pomposity,
Nor would I love at high velocity.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged Nazgul hurrying near;
And yonder all before you lie
Gorgoroths of eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be free,
Once you have crossed the Western Sea.
My echoing song can't reach you then,
In Elrond’s holiday regimen,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on my skin, like dream-flower dew,
While thy Lothlorien soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
So let us sport us now henceforth;
Like am'rous Eagles of the North,
Rather at once our time consume,
Than starve on his dry as dust perfume.
Let us climax my harangue,
And your sweet song, in one Big Bang;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough Morannon iron gates of life.
Galadriel's got the Adamant Ring:
Thus, though I'm mortal, let's have our fling!

#194 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 07:08 PM:

Janet: I thought of Frodo as Miles and Gollum as Mark Vorkosigan in the car the other morning, but couldn't get the rest of the scenario down (if someone wants it, please feel free). That is very impressive.

Jo: so, that's a good thing, then? Cool.

JVP: You can't do "Richard Cory" with a happy ending! You need Frodo at the Grey Havens, or something.

#195 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 07:55 PM:

Kate Nepveu:

That's a very acute comment! I took a chance on the irony of a happy ending where you expect an unhappy ending, in inverted homage to a poem with an unhappy ending where you expect a happy ending, and I agree with you that it doesn't entirely work. I'd also correct, after the fact, "he had served Kings Thengel and Ecthelion" to "he had served King Thengel and Ecthelion" since Ecthelion II was really the 25th Ruling Steward of Gondor, and Denethor II's dad. Ecthelion II began to outsource forign policy, and hired the freelance consultant Aragorn II.


Don't let anyone's success ever deprive you of your right to achieve. Some people make it look easy, but that's usually an illusion. A rich man I admire drummed into my head: "repetition gives the illusion of intelligence." I can sometimes write well, by having written for intended publication several times a week for 4 decades, and endured at least 5,000 editorial rejections.

Karen Funk Blocher:

You're right about Yeats. I'd call this pastiche/homage "The Second Coming of the Second Age."

Again, it takes great chutzpah for mere mortals to dare combine the poetic genius of two immortals per poem. Hence I thank Teresa for throwing the gates wide, that we might all do so without seeming singularly impertinent.

I would deepen the metaphor for 'combine,' above. This sort of improvisation, which used to be done so well in the pages of Mad Magazine, is akin to the genetic operation of Crossing Over. First, one performs "Artificial Selection" of two poems with high Darwinian Fitness: having met the test of time, and bred other poems through influence. Genes from the "mother" poem are shuffled in with genes from the "father" poem.

This has to be done in the context of poetic "regulation", that is, within semantic constraints of atmosphere, tone, style, and diction. One throws in a dash of Point Mutation: changing a single word in an unexpected way; and Inversion, taking two things in the opposite order. An exquisite attention to rhyme (or at least off-rhyme), rhythm (though I screw with the count to squeeze in extra stuff sometimes), syntax, and semantics.

That this works at all in these examples over which I've sweated these past few hours, is not so much a tribute to my skill, but to the astonishing power of Tolkien's story, characters, and resonant nomenclature. Saint Swanwick and others have demonstrated that a great story can survive extremes of translation, which may be why Shakespeare and Homer are the two hottest authors in Hollywood. But again, in that domain, I bow to John M. Ford; in poems written to challenge, to Joe Haldeman; and to all Rhysling Winners for upholding high the Olympic Torch of Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry.

#196 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 08:58 PM:


We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This sort of game happens to be one of my weaknesses, and I wish I had the time to bang my head against that wall and try to come up with something good enough to share. That's all I meant.

#197 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2004, 09:45 PM:

And of course, no sooner do I post that than I catch site of a particular volume on my shelf that will require little effort. :P

Frodo woke, cold.

#198 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2004, 04:33 AM:

Gondor, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, indeed thou art so,
For those whom thou love'st thou dost overthrow
For love of thee, though cans't not yet kill me.
From palantir, which Dark Lord's pictures be,
Much worry; then from thy lord hope must flow,
And soonest thy best men from thee go,
Reduced to bones, despair's delivery.
Thou art caught by fate, chance, evil,and desperate men,
Within thee madness, war, and hard words dwell,
As words and charms make Rohan sleep as well
Until the killing stroke; why preen'st thou then?
One great loss more, we lose eternally
And Gondor be no more; within shall die.

It's not great but I guess it'll do.

#199 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2004, 10:26 AM:

JvP: No one else appears to have ID'd Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress." So I do.

KVB: John Donne, "Death Be Not Proud."

Hey, at least I get the obvious ones!

#200 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2004, 10:36 AM:

Mepf. I meant, of course, KFB.

#201 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2004, 12:45 PM:

Kate wrote: Janet: I thought of Frodo as Miles and Gollum as Mark Vorkosigan in the car the other morning, but couldn't get the rest of the scenario down (if someone wants it, please feel free). That is very impressive.

Thank ye kindly. And now you've put a bit of a worm in my head and I'll have to dig out Mirror Dance or maybe Memory, though I have Much Else To Do This Week... hm, Gollum's schizoid nature equivalent to Mark's Black Gang, etc...Aurgh!! no, must write boring paper on interlibrary loan! Go away and never come back!

Jonathan, those are great -- especially the Second Coming!

#202 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2004, 02:23 PM:

Xopher wrote: "Mepf. I meant, of course, KFB."

KVB sounds more exotic, somehow, doesn't it? But I knew whom you meant.

Nobody ever identified my first Ellison entry from several days back. Funny how sometimes a single line is more easily identified than a longer passage. For example,

"Limp, the body of Deagol lay...."


#203 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2004, 03:08 PM:

A Gentle Hobbitt walked on a waste,
  Ycladd in ragged cloathes and elfen cloke,
  Wherein with rents of hard weare were defas'd,
  The cruell markes of many a steppe foresoke;
  Yet journey till that time he never toke:
  His angry guide did chide his captaiv rope
  As much disdayning to be pull'd and choke:
  Full weary halflinge he, and try'd to cope
As one for mighty giusts, tho he was without hope.

But on his hand a golden Ringe he bore,
  The foule remenmant of its evil Lord,
  For whose dreade sake that daungrous round he wore,
  Who living wights he ever had abhor'd:
  Upon his chest a wound was also scor'd,
  That never healed, tho kinges his help he had:
  Right faithfull true king was in deede and word,
  But kingesfoill ne could ease him dollefull sad;
And Morgulle did he dread, and ever had ydrad.

Upon a dyre adventure he was bond
  That greatest Gandalff Grayhame to him gave,
  That greatest wizard of the Middle Lond,
  To wreck the ring, and free menns deathes to stave,
  Which of all earthly things he most did crave;
  And ever as he trudg'd, his hart did burn
  To feare despaire would not then hold him brave
  Upon the crack, and needefull force would learne;
Upon the crack of Doome, most horrible and stearne.


#204 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 04:22 AM:

I was going to guess Chaucer on L's latest, but that would have been wrong. I won't say what it is, because I cheated and Googled "Ycladd." Nicely done, and not too close to the original. - KFB

#205 ::: James Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 08:47 AM:

Taking up Janet Lafler's haiku challenge...

Open: volcano
Eagle releases old ring.
Loud splash. Film ends: no sequels.

#206 ::: James Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 09:10 AM:

Bollocks! I'm sure that last line was five syllables when I first wrote it. I now retire from haiku battlefield in shame and humility, having learned valuable lesson about research/discipline/craftsmanship.

#207 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 10:24 AM:

LNHammer's latest: "Faerie Queene"?

#208 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 11:08 AM:

James, a simple edit:

Open: volcano
Eagle drops old ring. Loud splash.
Film ends: no sequels.

Jon, is that an assertion or a guess?


#209 ::: James Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 11:18 AM:

Editors rock! Some days you'd kill 'em, some days you'd die for 'em.

#210 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 11:27 AM:

Very pretty all round!

Larry: With that language and rhyme scheme it must be Spenser; and since that setup doesn't look like it belongs in The Shepheardes Calender, I'll assert that it's The Faerie Queene.

Karen FB's

Look what I found
In a cave
Dark as a grave.
It's a magic ring.
It's a precious thing.
I put it on to vanish.
Its hold on my thoughts grows.
Should I pass it on now?
Gandalf knows.
can only be -- and my apologies in advance, because this is entirely from memory, and I haven't read it in thirty-plus years --
Look what we found
In a park in the dark --
We will take it home,
We will call it Clark.
It will live at our house,
It will grow and grow.
Will our mothers like this?
We don't know!

#211 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 02:37 PM:

The Faerie Queene (I.i.1-3) it is.


#212 ::: Jonathan Edelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 11:27 PM:

Oh, hell, I'm late to the party. Here's mine, although it might be a little too close to the original:

Then the ancient Bombadillo
Made this answer to the grey-cloak:
"Know I well the source of elfkind,
Know the origin of mankind;
I can tell how souls are fashioned.
Varda is the first of mothers,
Eldar are the oldest brothers,
And the Khazad second brothers,
And the youngest brothers, Edain;
Eru is the first creator.
Eru, maker of the heavens,
Cut apart the air and water,
Ere were born the lamps of Arda.

#213 ::: Jonathan Edelstein ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 11:29 PM:

JvP: I think you need a "Doom, Doom, Doomlay doom!" in the Vachel Lindsay.

#214 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2004, 11:53 PM:

Jonathan --

That's the Kalevala.

#215 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2004, 12:28 AM:

Or "Song of Hiawatha". :-)

#216 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2004, 02:54 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden quotes from memory:


My copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is hiding from me, but that's the right piece, semi-accurately quoted. I'm glad somebody recognized it!

From the same book:

My vest is old.
My feet are cold.
I have a ring I like to hold.
Now I am off.
My home is sold.

Now I am off.
My home is sold.
I have a ring I like to hold.
My vest is old.
My feet are cold.
And now my story is all told.


#217 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2004, 10:33 AM:

Shouldn't that be "One Ring, Two Ring, Red Ring, Blue Ring" by J.R.R. Seuss?


#218 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2004, 11:45 AM:

Jon M: did you know that the Song of Hiawatha was written in conscious, deliberate imitation of the Kalevala? Oh, of course you did. Sorry.

#219 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2004, 12:22 PM:

I think that what we've been doing here is not merely fun, but also deeply honorable.

T. S. Eliot, writing for the Times Literary Supplement, produced a series of roughly 3,000 word essays (most famously one on Hamlet) before 1920. In 1919 he published, in TLS, "Tradition and the Individual Talent."

He gives an unusal spin to the notion that poets must depend upon tradition, when he says that tradition is not handed down to us directly: "it cannot be inherited, and if you want it, you must obtain it by great labour."

Once you have it, you should write poetry: "with a feeling that the whole of literature from Homer... has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order."

On the other hand, he also says, in "Phillip Massinger" [in Essays on Elizabethan Drama]:

"One of the surest tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take; and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different."

#220 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2004, 09:22 PM:

LNHammer asks,
"Shouldn't that be "One Ring, Two Ring, Red Ring, Blue Ring" by J.R.R. Seuss?"

Good point!


#221 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2004, 11:11 PM:

"So you see, Gandalf," said Saruman, continuing "that insofar as I act toward my own desire for the Ring, I act only according to Nature, and so become not good as good-in-itself but attain the innocence of the unthinking beautiful Beast. When I rule with the Ring, there will exist that unbridgeable gap between my estate and that of my fellows which will inevitably induce the creation of true art, though few will be fit to appreciate it."

(Hint: When you look into the abyss, a falling wizard and hellbeast may look back at you.)

"Now that you're king, shut up and kiss me, you big lug," she cried, her noticeable assets shifting pleasantly in her cantilevered dress.

(Hint: Bilbo is the true Tolkien Individual.)
"Who is Frodo? Frodo is the first hobbit not to be ashamed of his own ability to rule the entire world with this Ring, the first not willing to see it fall onto the finger of a second-hander with a weak chin."

"And since I realise that Arwen is the only rationally-suitable woman, elf or human, for Aragorn, I, Eowyn simply checked the premises for the next-most-rational choice for myself, deciding on Faramir by virtue of his self-consistent embodiment of underlying moral principle, and not for the swell of his buttock or the reputed largness of his Quality."

#222 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2004, 08:57 PM:

Michael Turyn:

I take it that the last of your fine examples is "by" Ayn Rand?

#223 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2004, 03:16 PM:

Here's my theory about Pynchon and Tolkien:
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon takes place, not in Europe at the end of World War Two as it claims it does, but on Middle Earth.

Supporting Evidence:

Both books feature the following elements in common:

Use of psychic powers to predict or influence the outcome of a war.

People who live in holes in the ground

A smith/artisan class that fights in tunnels and sings strange songs

Tentacled beast guards shallow waters

A military occupation government tolerates the smuggling of pipe-weed by riverboat.

and, as if that weren't enough: the official source of authorized Lord of the Rings merchandise is

lotrshop is an anagram of Slothrop (the name of the protagonist of Gravity's Rainbow)

Coincidence or what? you decide...

Also plot parallels can be found between LOTR and Pynchon's Vineland if you construe the teenage daughter character as corresponding to Frodo.

I have said this before on other threads, just thought it would be worth re-capitulating here.

It is beyond my skill as a writer to do a pynchonesque spoof of LOTR. But I am proud to have figured out this much while contemplating the exercise...

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