Turned Earth

Author: Dana

Nominator: Dreamflower

2007 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe: The Shire or Buckland - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Medium Length

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: There are depictions of violence (and some blood and gore) in this story.

Summary: There's a rot in the air and in the ground. Hobbit zombies in the Shire (I kid you not).

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Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

Zombies roaming the Shire? Hobbit zombies? It sounds like the craziest and most insane sort of crack fic, but Danachan has the incredible skill to tell this particular story not only with dignity, but without too much serious violation of canon! It’s Shire Reckoning 1421, and after a very bright and promising 1420, things seem to have gone horribly and bizarrely wrong in the Shire. Crops are rotting in the ground, and a strange illness is decimating the population. A number of hobbits have died, but now we learn that they have not stayed buried. I do not wish to make any spoilers, so I will try not to detail much of the plot, but I have to say, I really do love poor Rose in this. She bears so much of the burden, and yet manages to pull through in the end. Dana is able to create an eerie atmosphere of dread and despair, yet there still remains the core of hobbit determination and endurance. We see the sorrow and grief, and yet we also see the love and protectiveness, that made our heroes able to endure the Quest and achieve their goals. It’s that love and determination that enable them to endure this new challenge. There is nothing that can stand up to hobbit solidarity after all. And the ending, given what we know of canon, makes very good sense.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

Once upon a time, I was far too squeamish to watch anything labeled horror, but thanks to the intervention of friends with well-loved tapes and entirely too much interest in finding bizarre B horror movies, I've come to see the fascination of it. Plus, hobbit zombies. Even if I were not friends with the bad horror night filmfest crowd out here, there's no way not to read this story. Dana's characteristic style, a lace-like structure that gets all the important emotional strands together in a minimum of description, is evident, and it works surprisingly well. Or rather, there's no surprise that it works well, except one really REALLY does not expect hobbit zombies to come wandering up the drive. And in daylight, at that. But moving on… The story exploits a canon occurrence I would never have thought of in order to slot the appearance of hobbit undead into a believably bookverse story. The curse of Saruman, overturning the bounty of Galadriel's gift and poisoning the very earth of the Shire, sending back the dead to destroy the living, was an inspired point of departure, even if it doesn't come out 'til near the end of the story. It turns an otherwise inexplicable occurrence into the last revenge of a wizard gone bad, and a moral struggle for Frodo, who becomes once more a sort of sacrificial figure who can, as it were, 'negotiate' with the evil power at work. Dana's Rose is a wonderful figure – I really like the voice she gave her: sturdy, solid hobbit sense, and a lot of native guts, but certainly able to be overwhelmed. Her Merry and Pippin are as they ever are – splendid. And her hobbit zombies are creepy and disgusting and make for some memorably understated gore. The summary may suggest a strange tale – and it is that, but it is an excellent story to read with the lights out. Give it a try!

Reviewed by: Mews1945  ✧  Score: 7

At first glance it seems impossible that this story could work. Hobbits and Zombies? The terms are antithetical. And yet, in this author's capable hands, the concept not only works, it is extraordinarily believable. Grounded in the solid soil of the Shire, peopled by the hobbits we know and love, it gives us a truly horrible premise and makes us believe it's happening, because the hobbits are so real, their reactions and their emotions are so real. The events unfold in a carefully paced and rendered chronology, as the characters come face to face with things so terrible they can scarce believe them, and yet they must, in order to survive. It is the love they bear for one another, Merry for Pippin, Rose and Sam for each other, Frodo for all his kin and friends, that gives them the strength to fight and survive. In the end, the story returns to canon, and that too, adds to the believability of the tale.

Reviewed by: Jael  ✧  Score: 6

I'm not usually a big fan of Hobbit stories, but I ran across this one while browsing reviews, and the premise intrigued me. I am so glad I gave it a try! I read it through in one sitting, even though I had some pressing chores awaiting me, and I bookmarked it for later enjoyment -- that's how engaging it is. This is a very different type of story, no doubt about it. The author manages to capture the claustrophobic terror of Night of the Living Dead and the warm feeling of the Shire sections of Lord of the Rings, and produce a gripping reading experience for Halloween and other times of the year as well. The characters, especially Rosie Cotton Gamgee, are very well-written, and the odd and terrifiying happenings in the Shire, post-Ring War, are logically explained by BookVerse. You don't see that too often! If you're tired of the same old-same old, I recommend this story highly.

Reviewed by: Aranel Took  ✧  Score: 6

[*Contains Spoilers*] Zombies usually come across as silly and cliched to me, but this story actually makes them creepy and scary, with a good explanation as to how we end up with hobbit zombies. The tone of the story is excellent for a horror piece, especially the beginning with Rose's gradual realization that something is horribly wrong. Rose is so brave, especially considering her losses, and Sam cracks me up in his solid calmness: ["Bag End's good and solid. The door will hold. It'll likely need a fresh coat of paint come the morrow, but the door will hold."] That's such a Sam thing, to think of needing to give the door a fresh coat of paint as it's being clawed by the undead! ;-) You had me very worried about Pippin--I'm so glad the athelas worked! I really liked the reason for the appearance of the zombies, that Saruman's death had poisoned the Shire, which then ties into Frodo leaving to take the 'sickness' away.

Reviewed by: Garnet Took  ✧  Score: 4

Creepy! That is the best way to sum this story up. Zombies are scary enough, but hobbit zombies are a cut above. There is something so wrong about the image of a gentle hobbit turned into a lifeless, blood-sucking, killing machine. It makes it all the more horrible. Dana does a great job keeping her living hobbits hobbity and doesn't let them slip out of character. Rose is especially believable. I also love self-sacrificing Pippin. He would be that way. This would be one of the best hobbity Halloween stories ever.