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Msg# 9579

MEFA Reviews for Thursday, November 27, 2008 (Part Two) Posted by annmarwalk November 27, 2008 - 20:43:50 Topic ID# 9579
Title: Too Many Rangers · Author: Larner · Races: Hobbits · ID: 116
Reviewer: Yeade · 2008-11-27 19:32:59
Trotter, the Ranger Hobbit (whose wooden clogs really aren't conducive
to stealth)! Bingo (seriously?) Bolger-Baggins! (What a mouthful!)

I admit I have something of a soft spot for meta humor, which includes
(in my experience) many comedic fanvids and crossovers, often the
inappropriate ones, as well as writer commentary on elements of canon
and the creative process done in-universe via the characters. The
latter I usually see in response to unpopular decisions made by TPTB,
such as the cancellation of a favorite TV show, and rarely in the LOTR
fandom. So, it's a pleasant surprise for me to find such a rich and
imaginative take on the way Tolkien's conception of his epic story
developed over the years. Especially as the various stages of this are
so well and conveniently laid out in HOME.

Now, there are several things I consider requisite for a *good* piece
of meta humor: 1) Clever wit. 2) Attention to detail. 3) Relevant
conflict of some sort. 4) Believable characterization despite the
wildly improbable, if not impossible, situation. 5) An ever-present
awareness and acknowledgment of the fourth wall whether it's broken or
not. "Too Many Rangers" handily fulfills all these expectations.

Of particular note, IMO, is (2) the complicated Hobbit genealogy I
can't *begin* to follow, having never been interested in that aspect
of LOTR, (4) the hapless Butterbur's typical yet wholly deserved
confusion at the whole mess, how Aragorn unceremoniously herds all the
Hobbits to a private room when their strange party begins to attract
unwanted attention, mirroring his actions in the book proper, and (5)
the hilariously oblique references to Tolkien, who's never mentioned
by name. The otherwise inexplicable discussion of the real calendar
and Latin's nonexistence in Middle-earth is a nice touch in this
regard, too. A good portion of my enjoyment also stems from (3)
Trotter and Strider competing to guide Frodo et al. to Rivendell as
well as the countless additional problems the arrival of Butterbur
with Gandalf's letter (which says what, exactly? XD) in the end leaves
open to personal embellishment, so to speak, lol. 'Tis truly a
marvelous place to stop!

Poor Trotter! You can't blame a Hobbit for being confused and, by my
reading, kind of horrified, maybe a little betrayed, upon discovering
his creator's abandoned him to a strange world filled with strange
folk wherein he has no place and has in fact been *replaced*. I truly
feel for Trotter when he collapses into a chair, face in hands.
Doesn't help that Aragorn's smugness at having made the final cut is
rather unbecoming a king in exile either, lol. I almost, *almost* feel
bad for laughing at Trotter's dismay, but the fact that he's
sympathetic as a character only enhances the impact of this fic. Well
done, Larner!

P.S. Noticed that you use the colloquial "bad penny" in the first
paragraph. Is this an intentional anachronism? 'Cause I don't remember
specific units of money ever being mentioned in LOTR...

Title: Bears With Honey · Author: Gandalfs apprentice · Genres: Humor:
Other Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 243
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-27 19:35:57
This sundry drabble, told from the perspective of Beorn's wife, always
puts a big smile on my face. Gandalf's Apprentice picks and chooses
her words carefully from her novels to her drabbles, and to good
effect here. In 100 words, we get a glimpse into the day in the life
of a shape-shifter's spouse. Now I want the recipe for those honeycakes.

Title: The Ribbon · Author: Gentle Hobbit · Races: Hobbits:
Hurt/Comfort · ID: 336
Reviewer: Virtuella · 2008-11-27 19:51:39
This is very sweet. Funnily enough, I've just written a story about an
aputee with phantom pain, who feels a lot of gratitude for a healer in
Minas Tirith.
It's delightful to see Frodo for once without anguish and dispair,
interacting with a child and a kindly hobbit. Both Rosie and Frodo are
well portrayed.

Title: The Craft of the Elven Smith · Author: Larner · Times:
Multi-Age · ID: 1
Reviewer: Virtuella · 2008-11-27 20:17:13
I find myself greatly charmed by this story. The concept is a
fascinating one, to think that such a wide variety of items made it
trough the ages in Middle-earth and finally arrived where they were
most needed. Because there were so many of them, and so many
recipients, the narrative could heve become rather disjointed, but I
felt each section was just the right length and it was easy enough to
follow. I also greatly approve of the female smith and her
considerable creative power! The idea that she would find her own
healing in being allowed to create tools to counteract the havock
wrecked by her husband is very appealing.

Title: Dawn Twilight · Author: viv · Times: Modern Times · ID: 182
Reviewer: Elleth · 2008-11-27 20:26:43
As a linguistics student and fellow linguist geek, it was the idea
(and, let's be honest, a bit of wish-fulfillment) of an elf as
linguistics professor that drew me in. Little did I expect the course
this story would take, and less had I expected to like it so much,
although personally I would not want to be along for the ride. This
was a fast-paced, engaging, fascinating read, funny and scary in all
the right places, with plausible characters and antagonists that were
strong without becoming one of the dreaded Marty Stues or Mary Sues,
and finally, with a tearjerker end. I applaud you for the inclusion of
Brock, Elvis and the rest of their people, they were a delight to read.

All this coming from someone who is usually wary of modern-day-elf
fanfictions... well, you must have done something right. Very right

Title: Too Many Rangers · Author: Larner · Races: Hobbits · ID: 116
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-27 20:28:23
The volumes of [The History of Middle-earth] are jam-packed with all
sorts of wonderful oddities at the disposal of the imaginative fan fic
author. In [Too Many Rangers], Larner takes a concept that dropped my
jaw when I first read it and runs with it, creating a hilarious
commentary on the fluidity of Tolkien's "canon." The personalities are
fantastic here, from the much put-upon Trotter to the exasperated --
and resigned -- Strider. The lobbing about of hobbit genealogy is
great: a Middle-earth version of 'Who's on first?" and one that made
me laugh aloud. And the whole shtick with the wooden shoes just
*kills*! Very well done, Larner!

Title: Creation Myths · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Drama: General
Drabbles · ID: 300
Reviewer: Elleth · 2008-11-27 20:45:05
A drabble that left me breathless and inspired with the comparisons
drawn, the answers hinted at, and the implications left for the reader
to draw. The perfection starts with the possibilities to interpret the
title and continues with the gorgeous juxtaposition of perfection and
imperfection, though which is which - and if anything can be perfect
at all within Arda Marred -, can only be answered with regards to the
greater cycle of Tolkien's subcreation. Profound and beautiful, with
language-use that matches the overall theme.

Title: Reflections in the Smoke · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times:
Late Third Age: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 294
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-27 20:49:14
Probably for reasons that would not surprise Raksha, or others
familiar with my proclivities, this ficlet appeals to me at multiple
levels. Gandalf's voice is nicely rendered here. He has completed his
task and he is tired. Incarnated, he *feels* that weariness, but due
to his Maiarin nature, he is able to "see the big picture" in ways
that most around him cannot. Part of that greater overview is the
nature of the Maia he names his brother, the one that has been
destroyed at last, thus ending Gandalf's labors in mortal lands.
Raksha gives voice to Sauron's original nature through Gandalf's
perceptions, thus reinforcing Sauron's precipitous fall from his

And I loved this: [At the end of so many Ages, Sauron had grown only
in arrogance, leaving Orodruin unguarded, to his ruin.] When
intelligence is blindsided by obsession and consuming ambition, those
little details escape notice. That is a satisfying remark in this
ficlet. I'd like to think Olórin was able to put his feet up and rest
when he returned to Valinor.

Title: Trinity · Author: pandemonium_213 · Times: Modern Times · ID: 51
Reviewer: Lethe · 2008-11-27 21:50:13
This piece is the first work of the authors I read, and really only
out of curiosity as the summary seemed so different. I am simply a
layperson, with very little knowledge of the science in Pandemonium's
works, but the atom bomb is surely something which fascinates all the
generations who were around when it was first tested, and after.

I could not believe how believably the author wove Tolkien into the
world of Oppenheimer, the canon characters interaction with him - and
he with them. I was spellbound, for here was one incredibly brilliant
man who saw something come to pass which changed the world. Looking at
images of a nuclear blast, whether real or special effects, reminds me
of the first time I saw Jupiter and it's moons through a good
telescope, the sense of something I was too small and insignificant to
comprehend was overwhelming.

Tolkien's canon characters in this story both created something of
vast power, and were both geniuses, so one sees the parallels
immediately. Not only is the story wonderfully written, with the
personalities of Tolkien's characters ( and Oppenheimer's )
wonderfully drawn, but it also leaves one with real food for thought.

It's a rare writer who can blend the modern world and the mythology of
Tolkien and suspend disbelief, but Pandemonium does it effortlessly,
just as she does in incorporating * science * into her longer works.
Although I do not understand the principles, she writes in such a way
that it is easy for me to follow, they not stories that can only be
fully appreciated by people with a similar background and knowledge to
her own. I would like to hope that this is something within her AU,
not a one-shot, since with her familiarity with science, mythology and
history, she could easily write from the ancient world of Tolkien and
weave it into real world history up to the present day, and it would
all flow perfectly.

Title: A Fitting Occupation · Author: Radbooks · Races: Men: Pre-Ring
War Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 601
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-28 00:59:15
I don't usually read stories about the Hobbit but these drabbles were
very enjoyable and well written.

Title: Seeing Stars · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond · ID: 360
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 01:56:27
In this charming tale Faramir celebrates the birth of his heir with a
bit too much alcohol. I love Faramir's conversation with the King in
his slightly drunk state. This once he is forgiven, since he doesn't
get an heir all the time ;-). Faramir makes an amicable drunk and I
love the way Aragorn handles him.

Title: Messengers from the West · Author: Jay of Lasgalen · Genres:
Drama: Gondor Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 98
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 01:56:58
I think that was the best birthday present Thorongil could have
gotten. I could feel his joy once he realized who came to visit. Smart
elves to make the meeting inconspicuous.

Title: The Conscience of the King · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres:
Humor · ID: 649
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 01:57:41
I love this little conversation. But I can understand Eomer. So much
has changed for him that he wants to keep as much as possible the
same. But luckily he comes to his senses and can join in the fun. I
love the last line. To me it shows clearly that he is over his bout of
overprotective older brother.

Title: They Also Serve · Author: Marta · Times: Late Third Age · ID: 365
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 02:06:55
This is a lovely little vignette about the interminable waiting for
news. Arwen seeks comfort in the familiar surroundings of the kitchens.

Arwen gets a personality in this short piece. Her actions and
woolgathering make her more accessible to me. I like the cook who
seems to be the only one really understanding Arwen.

Title: Sun · Author: Claudia · Races: Cross-Cultural: Frodo and
Faramir · ID: 223
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 02:10:49
Frodo imparts some profound wisdom on Faramir who is usually the wise
one, and I think he has the right of it. I liked the description of
the aftermath after the war and its impact on the people.

Title: Dangerous Folk · Author: Budgielover · Genres: Adventure · ID: 546
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 02:12:31
Adventure, angst and suspense galore welcomes the reader of this
story. The heroes fall from one dangerous situation into the next and
sometimes it doesn't look too good for them. All the characters are
spot on. I especially liked Gimli and Sam in this piece.

Title: Five Hair Care Tips for Rohirrim · Author: EdorasLass · Genres:
Humor · ID: 71
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 02:14:22
LOL! These hair care tips are hilarious. I like the way they are
worded specifically for the Rohirrim who care more for the hair and
hide of their horses. I love the crossed out side remarks (and agree
with them). The Bonus tip would be my first pick of what to do with
hair, but I can see the point for a Rohirrim in the field.

Title: A Friend's Hug · Author: Golden · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Friendship · ID: 142
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 02:15:27
This charming little gap-filler fills out a bit about what Pippin is
up to during their stay at Rivendell and the, for the hobbits,
interminable wait and worry for Frodo's recovery.

The description of the room for Merry and Pippin comes off the page.
It is so vivid.

I love Arwen's solution to help Pippin release some of his tension.

Title: The Dooming of Small Hands · Author: Thundera Tiger · Times:
Late Third Age · ID: 639
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-11-28 02:16:11
That is a weighty discussion between Elrond and Gandalf. And that is a
heavy burden Gandalf has to bear. It hurts just to think about it. I
loved the contrast between the dark thoughts between Gandalf and
Elrond, where you can feel their desperation, and the peaceful sunny
room where Frodo sleeps one of his last, peaceful, and comfortable
nights for a long time to come.