The Man Who Invented The Science Fiction Paperback

Many of science fiction's greatest classics were published as paperback originals — and the genre might never have gotten so much widespread appeal without the cheap paperback format. As a new article in Investor's Business Daily explains, this was the brainchild of publisher Ian Ballantine. » 2/05/15 3:37pm 2/05/15 3:37pm

Plan Your Next Trip To Mordor With This Google Map Of Middle-Earth 

Because Middle-Earth can be a confusing, perilous place, Reddit user mbingcrosby created this Google Maps-style guide to the journey from Hobbiton to Mordor. As you can see, it's expected to take six months ("four months without Orcs"), and be ready, because "this route has trolls." » 1/30/15 9:20am 1/30/15 9:20am

How Is A Mathematical Proof Like Frodo's Journey In Lord Of The Rings?

When people describe a story as being told in a "by the numbers" fashion, that's usually regarded as bad. But in a talk at Oxford University the other day, scientist Marcus du Sautoy argued that a great mathematical proof is a lot like a story. In fact, a really great proof is like Frodo's journey in Lord of the Rings » 1/21/15 4:00pm 1/21/15 4:00pm

British Library Fights To Preserve Historic Recordings Archive

As part of its vast collection of literary and historic treasures (the Magna Carta, Leonardo da Vinci's notebook), the British Library owns some six million sound recordings, including significant theater productions, famous voices (like J.R.R. Tolkien's), and field recordings of extinct animals. Some of them… » 1/13/15 2:20pm 1/13/15 2:20pm

How Michael Moorcock Became The Anti-Tolkien

Michael Moorcock once referred to the huge catalog of names, places, rings and rulers in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy texts as "a pernicious confirmation of the values of a morally bankrupt middle class." He accused Tolkien's work of infantilization. And he created his most famous character, Elric, as a critique of… » 1/07/15 3:40pm 1/07/15 3:40pm

Why The Best Fantasy Stories Include Mundane Everyday Life

Anne Leonard's fantasy novel Moth and Spark comes out in paperback today. To celebrate, Leonard's written us an essay about how the "mundane" and everyday things are even more important to include in a book about dragons and heroic quests — because without them, you'll never understand the scale of magic. » 12/30/14 2:42pm 12/30/14 2:42pm

How Do Jackson's Lord of the Rings Characters Compare To Tolkien's?

When it comes to personality traits, how does J.R.R. Tolkien's Gandalf compare to Peter Jackson's movie version? An IBM researcher used the company's artificially intelligent Watson computer system to crunch the data and find out. » 12/26/14 12:00pm 12/26/14 12:00pm

10 Story Decisions Scifi And Fantasy Writers Ended Up Regretting

There are writers who disown entire books after they've written them, but sometimes writers like their stories on the whole, but feel a twinge of regret over one a small (or not-so-small) detail. Here are a few decisions that the writers, in hindsight, wished they had thought through a little better. » 12/24/14 10:00am 12/24/14 10:00am

The Lord Of The Rings' Mythology Explained In Just Four Minutes

If you haven't dived into the pages of The Silmarillion, there's a whole cosmology of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth that you may not know. This short video outlines the basics, explaining as much about the universe's divine and angelic beings as you can learn in four minutes. » 12/17/14 4:30pm 12/17/14 4:30pm

All The Scenes That Could Have Been Cut From The Hobbit Trilogy 

The Hobbit trilogy has thrown Tolkien-fans a rather rare problem: way too much screentime for some of their most beloved characters. So, what could have been cut to make the movie a little smaller and a whole lot better? So, so much. » 12/17/14 4:07pm 12/17/14 4:07pm

The Funniest Tolkien Article You'll Read This Week

We all know that J.R.R. Tolkien's famous fantasy books are merely translations of an ancient text, the Red Book of Westmarch. But what would happen if someone else tried to do their own translation? Could they get sued by the Tolkien estate and win? That's what this hilarious article in the Toast unravels for you. » 12/08/14 2:40pm 12/08/14 2:40pm

How Peter Jackson leaving Middle-Earth might give hope for Fantasy Films

With the première for The Battle of The Five Armies this week, many sites reported on comments made by Jackson about legal issues could keep him away from the rest of Tolkien's Middle-Earth tales. While it's still sad to see these sagas end, his departure might mean good things for Epic Fantasy at the Box Office. » 12/04/14 10:49am 12/04/14 10:49am

The Music Video For The Hobbit's Final Song Will Give You Chills

Billy Boyd (who played loyal hobbit and silken-voiced songster Pippin in The Lord of The Rings) will lend his vocal talents once again to The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Here's the official music video for"The Last Goodbye," which will play over the film's end credits. » 11/22/14 9:56am 11/22/14 9:56am

Listen To Pippin's Beautiful Return Song From The New Hobbit Movie

Pippin will return in The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Or, at the very least, he'll appear on the soundtrack. Actor Billy Boyd has returned to Middle Earth to lend his pipes (yet again) to the drums of war. And you can listen to his entire song right now. » 11/14/14 4:00pm 11/14/14 4:00pm

An Insanely Detailed Map of Minas Tirith Covers Every Inch of the City

This is apparently a map made for the Middle Earth role playing games by ICE, and it's just gorgeous. Not only is the detail in this beyond belief (just look at the legend!), it's also been planned for maximum visual impact. You could examine it forever. » 10/02/14 3:15am 10/02/14 3:15am

Maps Of Modern Cities Drawn In The Style Of J.R.R. Tolkien

The maps J.R.R. Tolkien drew to accompany his tales are their own form of story, sketching out the boundaries of his imagined worlds. But could our own, real cities be just as dramatic a fantasy setting? The answer is yes. » 10/01/14 4:20pm 10/01/14 4:20pm

What The Hobbit Diet Reveals About Life On Middle Earth

After learning about the Tolkien estate's downright unseasonable ban on pumpkins appearing anywhere on Middle Earth, a second, and very important question arose: What about potatoes, precious? » 9/30/14 4:20pm 9/30/14 4:20pm

Which J.R.R. Tolkien Movie Will Be The Docudrama To Rule Them All?

Not one but two movies are being made about the true Lord of the Rings, author J.R.R. Tolkien. Fox Searchlight announced one last year, expansively titled Tolkien; now a smaller independent company is making Tolkien & Lewis, about his relationship with his friend and fellow author C.S. Lewis. » 7/16/14 1:40pm 7/16/14 1:40pm

Is It Time To Retire The Word "Epic"?

You'll see lots of rants on the internet claiming the word "epic" is overused. It's become a blanket synonym for "fun," and people say "I had an epic bath" with zero irony. But maybe this is just a symptom of a larger problem. Maybe the word "epic" in general has lost all meaning, including when we talk about fantasy. » 7/03/14 12:37pm 7/03/14 12:37pm