Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Terra Incognita

Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
Nominator: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
2008 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Drabbles

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: 100 words Written for the birthday of Aliana, who asked for drabbles about discovery. In the trenches of the Western Front, a lifelong journey is begun.


Reviewed by: viv -- Score: 7

This is exceptional, and not just as a drabble but also as a story teaser. Have you ever thought of expanding it? The subject matter is fascinating, at least to me, and you have such a deft hand at setting the scene. The smell of [woolen socks] indeed! Plus, the dialogue bits were sparkling, working at least as well as the descriptions at setting the scene. I assume that the peculiar officer here is Tolkien himself, yes? He is characterized every well, very much in a show-not-tell fashion. And the twist at the end, the "funny" part... actually *was* funny. Lots of things that are classified as humour just aren't that amusing -- that is, they don't make *me* chuckle, which could always be a casualty of my poor sense of humour, actually -- but this humor piece is very amusing. Not cackle-out-loud laugh-inducing, but wringing a good solid chuckle from me nonetheless. Thank you! This drabble is such an excellent example of good, solid writing. It makes me want to read more of your work. Very enjoyable and intriguing!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

Branwyn offers up an unusual drabble here, in a hundred-word portrait of a quiet moment in the War to End All Wars - not the Ring War, but World War I, in the trenches, where two soldiers discuss the future author of LOTR. This is Real Life with a pinch of fantasy, in the acknowledgment of Tolkien's odd ideas and language usage. The brief description of the trench, with constant rain and dirt and only a bit of cheer from hot coffed, is a telling glimpse into the daily routine of this sad time in world history.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 4

The drabble evokes the reality of life in the WW1 trenches very realistically with some brief but poignant details. The perspective of the common soldiers unfamiliar - of course - with Tolkien's work strikes me as very plausible and I can easy imagine such or similar conversations taking place between those who might have got a look at his work, complete with some uneasy speculations about its meaning.

Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion -- Score: 3

I was charmed by this brief glimpse into a relatively young life that was indelibly shaped by war. It took me a few moments to realise where I was in the tale, something that in itself made me smile, as did the final part of the last line. A lovely little imagining of a very possible incident.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

For some reason I love fics like this, reminding us of the one who brought us the wonderful world in which we love to explore. This is easily something that could actually have happened. Brilliant!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

This possible impression of Tolkien given by an imaginary subordinate in the trenches of World War I is humorous, touching, and prophetic. We understand the meaning of the map being painstakingly drawn by the scholarly lieutenant, but not the soldier. A nice drabble to bring a smile of recognition to our lips.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 3

I'm not normally a fan of real-person stories, but in this piece, Branwyn lightly paints a picture of the earliest days in which Tolkien's legendarium began to emerge without every making us feel intrusive or voyeuristic. A handsome piece!

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 3

Few words as there are in a drabble, the author knows how to use them effectively to set the mood, introduce the setting, the characters and bring everything to a killer finish. I enjoyed reading this snapshot-like ficlet immensely, and can just imagine the lieutenant's odd smile, his books, and his maps. Wonderfully done.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 2

A touching look at how Tolkien's fellow soldiers viewed him during his time in the First World War,which even manages to include a little humour.A lovely drabble.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 2

Nice double meaning in that last line! The scene is quickly and efficiently set - I can imagine this is life in the trenches. The woolen socks were very effective.