One more JRR Tolkien book being published


This news is making the rounds on blogsphere this morning:

Link: News” href=””>Tolkien Jr completes Lord of Rings – Independent Online Edition > News.

The first new Tolkien novel for 30 years is to be published next month. In a move eagerly anticipated by millions of fans across the world, The Children of Húrin will be released worldwide on 17 April, 89 years after the author started the work and four years after the final cinematic instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, one of biggest box office successes in history.

The book, whose contents are being jealously guarded by publisher HarperCollins – is described as “an epic story of adventure, tragedy, fellowship and heroism.”

I’ll be buying a copy – probably the day it’s released. LOTR was such an important book for me when I was a teenager (I think I read the series twice a year all the way through High School) that any chance I have to find out more about the vision Tolkien saw for Middle Earth, I grab for it.

It’s funny how important books our to our intellectual development. I was reminded of that the other day.

Kenney (my daughter) and I went book shopping this weekend. (We finally discovered the gianormous Borders around the corner from our new home.) She’s been complaining that she’s not found anything to read that’s she’s really cared about. I took her with me to the Science Fiction and Fantasy section and was delighted to discover that some of my favorite books from when I was her age were right there on the shelves. We walked out later with copies of Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Trilogy and a couple of the first in the series of Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels. I’m crossing my fingers that she’ll love them as much as I did. (If not, it’s okay. Having them at home again will give me a chance to re-read them yet another time.)

What books or authors did you fall in love with when you were a teenager? I’ve discovered (probably not surprisingly) that most clergy loved science fiction and/or fantasy…

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Dear Nick,
    Your observations are certainly true for me! Starting with Lewis’ Narnia books in childhood and going straight through ’til morning (oops, that’s Peter Pan!), ’til college, my list of favorites inluded anything by Lewis I could get my hands on (fiction and non-fiction), Madeleine L’Engle, Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, Tolkien (not ’til college), George MacDonald, etc. – more on the fantasy side than science fiction. I was also very drawn to historical fiction – esp. colonial and 19th century American settings, and anything European from the early Middle Ages to about 1700. I guess it’s no surprise, then that my undergraduate degree was in Medieval Studies!
    After September 11th (I live in northern NJ and had neighbors die in the WTC attack) my way of copng was to read through the Narnia Chronicles, the Hobbit and the Lord of Rings again. I don’t think I was looking for comfort, as much as I was looking for a language that knows how to deal with evil in a narrative way, one that involves characters the reader cares about in the same way as the people I cared about who had died or had been in serious jeopardy.
    I hope your daughter finds her own spiritual journey enlighted and enlivened through her reading.

  2. Thanks Vicki – I’d forgotten about A Wrinkle in Time. My mother, an English teacher, gave me that for Christmas when I was in 5th grade. Loved it.
    The Narnia series is the reason I’m an Episcopalian. I read them first in 4th grade. I remember the exact moment in High School when I realized they were Christian allegories. It was shattering. Grin. I sought out an Episcopal Church soon afterward (I was Lutheran at the time.)
    Funny you mention visiting favorite realms after an intense experience like 9/11. I spent the first two days following General Convention this past year having my own Middle Earth film festival. (Extended versions of course… grin.)

  3. David Brin wrote two of my favorites as a teenager. _Earth_ and _Heart of the Comet_ (with Gregory Benford) were the two I remembered most fondly. (I’ve not read his others). But Kurt Vonnegut was and is my favorite writer of fiction – I read many of his works in high school, including the fascinatingly bizarre _Breakfast of Champions_ and _Galapagos_. His short stories are also worth reading.

  4. I remember reading some of Brin’s work when I was in graduate school. (He was a “new” author back then. Yes, I’m that much older than you Martin… Grin.)
    The one that I remember reading was about how a scientist had crossbred orcas with porpoises. (They were both sentient races in the story…)
    Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep an eye out for them.

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