The Tolkien Professor, Corey Olsen, joins us to talk about Tolkien, Medieval literature, and whether Balrogs have wings. Stay with us after the interview when Dave and John discuss all things Hobbit.
0:00 Introduction by Tor.com
0:37 Dave and John introduce the show
Interview: Corey Olsen
02:22 Interview begins
02:39 How Corey got interested in Medieval literature, and the Medieval spirit of Tolkien
04:58 Chronological snobbery and other common misconceptions about the Medieval world
07:47 Who takes a class on Tolkien?
09:44 Tolkien and war
10:57 Themes in Tolkien’s work
11:54 J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century by Tom Shippey–is Tolkien the most important author of the 20th century?
12:29 Is George R.R. Martin really “the American Tolkien”?
15:38 Do Balrogs have wings? Paying attention to what is on the page
17:35 Dave’s mom has a complaint that is totally legitimate unless you happen to be a linguist
19:04 Regarding Tom Bombadil
21:02 The Professor weighs in on the movies
33:09 End of interview
Dave and John discuss all things Hobbit
33:10 Proper pronunciation, and Dave’s adventures in trying to teach Tolkien
35:16 Fantasy languages: world-building from the ground up
37:04 Introducing young people to fantasy literature via Tolkien, and how to make people aware of the existing short fiction market
38:37 John’s take on the “author of the century” label for Tolkien
40:45 If sexy elves and space marines didn’t exist, would it be necessary to invent them?
45:13 Almost a decade later, the guys talk about the Peter Jackson films, and get a little misty about the dungeon crawl in Fellowship
51:37 The importance of Gandalf’s death and what it can teach new writers
53:52 The new Hobbit movie vs. the original Hobbit
01:07:19 There and Back Again, and Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of The Hobbit
01:11:47 Regarding George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones coming to HBO, and retrofitting the mythology of an author’s first story into a later epic
01:15:11 Avatar: The Last Airbender as an example of great world-building–join us at Tor.com for the Rewatch!
01:16:29 Show wrap-up
Next week: John Langan, author of House of Windows!
Thanks for listening!
Update: Avatar: The Last Airbender fans, please note if you haven’t watched the show all the way through yet, there’s a huge spoiler in the comments to this post (comment #7). Since Tor.com is currently doing a retrospective on the series which may have encouraged some people to watch for the first time, I wanted to post this warning since you wouldn’t expect to find Avatar spoilers in this comment thread otherwise.
John Joseph Adams (www.johnjosephadams.com) is an anthologist, a writer, and a geek. He is the editor of the anthologies By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), Seeds of Change, and Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. He is currently assembling several other anthologies, including Brave New Worlds, The Living Dead 2, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, and The Way of the Wizard. He worked for more than eight years as an editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and is currently the fiction editor of Lightspeed Magazine, which launches in June 2010.
David Barr Kirtley (www.davidbarrkirtley.com) is a writer living in New York who has been called “one of the newest and freshest voices in sf.” His short fiction appears in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and in anthologies such as The Living Dead, New Voices in Science Fiction, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008 Edition.