Author: annmarwalk

Nominator: Oshun

2009 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Drabbles - First Place

Story Type: Drabble  ✧  Length: True Drabble

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: "The idea was born one autumn night on a cliff high above Ithilien, friends sharing warm spiced wine as stars wheeled overhead..."(For the "Tinker" challenge at tolkien_weekly. Inspired by 2008 MEFA Nominee "In Good Company" by foxrafer)

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 10

There are no spoilers here. This story is so unique that it is perfectly impossible to spoil any part of the impact of this charming ficlet (actually a true drabble) without re-telling the entire story in all its details. This is a lovely and odd poetic drabble that really captured my imagination. It is an LotR fic that involves both more than a little bit of practical science, some extremely interesting historical trivia, and fits all of it perfectly into a Fourth Age Middle-earth setting. According to Ann, Fëanor absolutely did not invent everything. One could also characterize this as a friendship story about a special relationship between three adorable geeks: a man, an elf, and a dwarf. If you like astronomy, history of science, and/or enjoy thinking about the scholarly, nerdy side of Faramir, about Legolas as one of those Sindarin star-lovers, beloved of Elbereth, or enjoy Gimli in all of his dwarven glory as a master tinkerer and craftsman, then you will love this story. It certainly scores high on originality, poetic writing, and as a seamless gap-filler which touches on everything I love to love about these characters, and throws in one of their descendants as well. A lot of work for 100 words, but it does it well.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 8

I have to admit that I had never heard of the antikythera device before now. So ere I say anything else, I have to express thanks. It's always good to learn something new. Moving on, I loved this drabble. I love the idea that Faramir, Legolas, and Gimli were all in on this. And because this is a collaborative effort, it is given to all. Eldarion's interest in it is a wonderful character stroke, and given his lineage, I can easily imagine him paying close attention to the night sky. But what I loved most about this drabble was how it went about showing us a world after Sauron's defeat. None of that is stated outright, but the fact that there was a starry night in Ithilien in which friends could sit around drinking and dreaming says much about the security of a place where orcs once roamed. The fact that they could devote time and effort to such an endeavor says much about a realm where training soldiers was once the priority. And the fact that Eldarion spent time using it during his reign says much about the enduring nature of the peace that Aragorn's generation forged. Beautifully done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

This is a real treat on any terms; a tie-in between the actual Antikythera, an ancient mechanical computer-like instrument, and Fourth Age Gondor. I love how Ann involves three races - Man, Elf and Dwarf. It makes a lot of sense that Faramir and Legolas and Gimli are friends, and they all three have the type of inquisitive, intelligent minds capable of creating the instrument. (and of course my inner Faramirist knows that the Prince of Ithilien would help with the mathematics that brought the device into being) Neat touch that Gimli and his people carefully construct the thing; and just as neat or neater, that Eldarion eventually uses it for stellar observation.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 5

Oh, annmarwalk has created such a delightful notion here with her description of how friends of three races bandy together to create an instrument for observing the stars. I was wondering how the reference to a real-world artifact in the title would fit into Middle-earth and this answers beautifully. The prose is lovely, as finely crafted as the mechanism being created, while I love the sense of friendship that permeates the drabble. The piece is crowned by the final line, which quotes a part of Faramir's bleak words to Frodo about the obsession of his ancestors with prolonging life – and yet provides such a positive spin on it, as we apprehend Eldarion's love of lore for lore's sake. A small treat to read – bravo!

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 4

Intriguing and lovely. I could imagine that the Eldar actually had a similar mechanism before (or would have had the technical skill for one, thinking of Noldorin craftsmanship, and especially of Eregion), but then their interest seems to have been preservation rather than looking into the future, so that a collaboration with dwarves and mortals might just have been the right incentive. Thank you for sharing such a fascinating drabble!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Ah--the first form of the modern observatory complete with telescope? Inspired by conversation, and put together with Elven knowledge and Dwarvish skill for the use by Mannish intellect. Fascinating drabble about a fascinating device fascinatingly concocted and used by the equally fascinating progeny of the Dunedain rulers of Gondor and Arnor. I love it!

Reviewed by: White Wolf  ✧  Score: 3

So that's where the Antikythera Mechanism came from. Historians think an ancient Greek(s) designed and built it, and after all this time, we find out it was really Legolas, Faramir and Gimli who are responsible. How delightful!

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 3

What a perfect, and logical, explanation of the antikythera. I do like the idea of Legolas and Faramir, slightly tipsy, doing the maths - two of Middle Earth's most beautiful geeks... and one of the most skilful of designers to convert their theory into practice, of course.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 3

I really enjoyed Just-ann-now's drabble, "Antikythera". She theorizes about how that mechanism might have come to be invented, as a collaboration between Faramir and Legolas and Gimli... each individual, each race, contributing its own talents. Nicely done!

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 2

Lovely, and elegant, and a little sad, sad that men turned away from elven lore and toward mechanics in the waning years.

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 2

Lovely drabble. Not something one might think to see in Middle-earth but I don't put it past these three to have come up with such an idea. Nicely done!

Reviewed by: Clodia  ✧  Score: 2

A delightful drabble. It's wonderful to see the antikythera turning up so unexpectedly in Middle-Earth, and so appropriately too!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 1

Well, this was educational! It made me go and look up what an antikythera actually is. ;-)