Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

In the Beginning

Author: Marta
Nominator: Linaewen
2011 Award Category: Fixed-Length Ficlets: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: precisely 300 words A professor, a typewriter, a rainstorm... and a beginning.


Reviewed by: Linaewen -- Score: 10

This is a magnificent tale that gives us a glimpse into what it must have been like to watch Professor Tolkien write. On the one hand we are shown the simple practicalities of Tolkien being bothered by his cat, of trying to set down on paper the names and words that have been drifting about in his head of late, the fact that he is busy with many other things and is having trouble finding time to write -- which is no doubt what he'd rather be doing than those other tasks! On the other hand, we have the fantastical quality of the storm that matches the thoughts and words of the story being composed on the typewriter, to such an extent that even the practical professor has to pause and contemplate the possibilities. Such aspects of the tale match Tolkien's works perfectly -- the practical, familiar nature of his characters who he sees as friends and the ordinary qualities of his surroundings (his typewriter and his cat), joined with the fantastical qualities of the storm that seems to fit his mood and which signals the beginning of a very great adventure. I like the way this tale fits in with the beginning of it all so much that I do believe I will make it required reading as I begin each new round of rereading Tolkien's masterpieces. It seems a fitting way to begin such an adventure!

Reviewed by: Lyra -- Score: 4

"In the Beginning" is a short but well-written and atmospheric triple drabble about a moment in the creation of Tolkien's legendarium. Being a cat-lover, I naturally enjoyed the appearance of the grumpy cat. The uncanny co-occurrance of the lightning and the name of Melkor was also a nice, goosebump-inducing touch. I've had such moments in the writing of fan-fiction too... And the quote from the Ainulindalë was perfectly chosen. All in all, a lovely quick read!

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 3

A good triple drabble that reminds us that great writing is part dream, part inspiration, part determination, part discipline, and always a labor of love. And above all, it is not easy! I loved the impression of reality and vision overlapping. Well done!

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 3

I very much enjoyed the whimsy of this story; the atmospheric music and the mentions of the cat (and perhaps his canonical affiliation?) did the rest to make it perfect quick reading for a grey day of the sort described in the story itself.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter -- Score: 3

Neat and interesting view at the start of all things. I like the idea of hos the weather (and the behavior of the cat) matches the thoughts of the unnamed writer in this tale. Yes, it seems that there faerie-tale powers gained a life of their own from the start... well written story! I like!

Reviewed by: Azalais -- Score: 3

Mmm, a vivid imagining of the "Big Bang" of the Tolkienverse in its author's mind; I can see and hear the storm, the rain, the cat on the desk. And what fic-writer hasn't known this feeling: "[And how persistent those made-up Powers were in his mind; almost as if they were friends, real friends and not just idle fancies."] Though clearly the cat does not approve!

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 2

The professor is a true kindred spirit. Love this little tale of him and how real it was to him, and to me, and to so many. Thanks for this glimpse.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 2

Here Marta offers an interesting supposition on Tolkien and the writing process. Her descriptions of the storm and cat were quite vivid and atmospheric.