Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.T.

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Azriel
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Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.T.

Postby Azriel » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:15 pm

Apparently someone has written a novel where Tolkien is the central character. The Tolkien estate is not pleased :lol:
Seems like a person should be allowed to include a dead historical figure in their writings.

Has the Tolkien estate gone too far?


http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/feb/26/mirkwood-jrr-tolkien-legal-battle

Excerpt:

The estate, registered in Oxford, where Tolkien was a university professor, is demanding the destruction of all copies of Steve Hillard's Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien. The 450-page work recounts a young woman's quest to find her grandfather after discovering documents given to him by Tolkien. The estate is demanding an immediate halt to further sales, and threatens legal action to obtain damages.



I have to say, though the premise sounds fine, the title seems to have gone a little far.
"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era of darkness new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."

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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby shireling » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:21 pm

Oh, for heaven's sake! :roll: You're right, Azriel, it does sound just fine to me, too. Thanks for mentioning this.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby MsBrandybuck » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:21 pm

Well, maybe if they didn't put his name in the title.... is it actually *about* Tolkien, or about this woman and her grandfather?
The title is in accurate, if so.

I was reading a fictional book about Nicholas Flamel, and, to show my ignorance, I though, "How can someone write a story about a character created by another author??" [JK Rowling.]
And then I learned that Flamel is an historical figure- an actual person. Boy, was I embarrassed.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby shireling » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:08 pm

Don't be embarrassed :lol:. Nicholas Flamel was a alchemist who turned mercury into gold, and I just found that out myself through Google. Now, if he had actually done this, we'd have heard about him - and from him himself, probably because he also found the means with which to live forever.

The 14th Century's a long time to be hanging around.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby Candy Kane » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:14 am

This is the problem with real person fiction. The trouble with being fictionalised is that the author's projection, not the real person, is being written about. I don't think they've gone too far, personally. They want to own the identity of their grandfather and I don't think they can be blamed for that.

Steve Hillard could have saved himself a lot of bother if he'd changed the name of the Professor so he was a mirror of Tolkien. Then he could write what he liked and nobody could say anything.

There's so much emotion involved in these things, even if the content is entirely innocent and the Professor is depicted as a kindly old man. And I don't think being dead ought to make you fair game. I've had this conversation with someone else: I don't think RPFs are evil, but I would be a bit freaked out if someone wrote one about me.

Rename the person, change a few details, then do what you like with your fictional character. He is yours and you own him completely.

Dang, I bet I've sparked a huge debate. Oh, well...
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby shireling » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:34 pm

No problem. Debates can be civil, Candy - though we've forgotten how to do that in the States - I know we can agree to disagree in here.

I agree with you..."Rename the person, change a few details, then do what you like with your fictional character. He is yours and you own him completely." I've done that with my fan fics, building the character around roles that the individual played. For instance, the Prince in "A Harpy's Tale" was inspired by The Guy in "Spy Kids 3: Game Over".

You also said "And I don't think being dead ought to make you fair game," and I agree, totally.
I would also add that just because you're a living, public person and you have a profession that exposes you on a routine basis, should not mean that you belong to the public and any self-serving creep with a camera has the right to stalk and snap you anytime, place or where.

Trying to avoid seeing so-called "celebrity news" is damned hard. The current big name - who is very, very sick and, I think, needs hospitalization - is instead being interviewed in this condition. Can't anybody say "no", anymore? Can't anybody say, this isn't in your best interests and we won't play a part in your destruction? The father of this person is from my home-town, and he's got my sympathy. There's nothing he can do - his son's an adult - or at least he's old enough to pass for one.

I know I've gone way off topic...sorry.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby Candy Kane » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:47 pm

shireling wrote:No problem. Debates can be civil, Candy - though we've forgotten how to do that in the States - I know we can agree to disagree in here.


That's what I love about you, Shireling! I mean, even if you totally disagreed with me, that would be fine. It'd make for a very boring world if everyone agreed with each other on everything all the time.

shireling wrote:I agree with you..."Rename the person, change a few details, then do what you like with your fictional character. He is yours and you own him completely." I've done that with my fan fics, building the character around roles that the individual played. For instance, the Prince in "A Harpy's Tale" was inspired by The Guy in "Spy Kids 3: Game Over".


Harmless, hassle-free and I'll have to check it out. Sounds like a great idea for a story!


shireling wrote:You also said "And I don't think being dead ought to make you fair game," and I agree, totally.
I would also add that just because you're a living, public person and you have a profession that exposes you on a routine basis, should not mean that you belong to the public and any self-serving creep with a camera has the right to stalk and snap you anytime, place or where.


Oh, that one. It's really annoying to think that if you become famous, you become public property. I think it's only right to let even the most publicity-seeking celebrities have their privacy when they want it. It's not really in the public interest to make horrible comments about Kirstie Alley's waistline, is it?

shireling wrote:Trying to avoid seeing so-called "celebrity news" is damned hard. The current big name - who is very, very sick and, I think, needs hospitalization - is instead being interviewed in this condition. Can't anybody say "no", anymore? Can't anybody say, this isn't in your best interests and we won't play a part in your destruction? The father of this person is from my home-town, and he's got my sympathy. There's nothing he can do - his son's an adult - or at least he's old enough to pass for one.


Ah, Charlie Sheen. Yeah, he's way off the rails ATM, and there's this rather morbid rubber-necking thing going on in the media about it. I don't like that at all, and no doubt it's making the situation a great deal worse.

shireling wrote:I know I've gone way off topic...sorry.


You haven't, in my opinion. I think you've opened this up to show new angles on the RPF concept. Because, when you think about it, that's exactly what a lot of the "Celebrity gossip" is. Fiction. My personal favourite has Sharon Stone whipping out a revolver and shooting a snake mere inches from the interviewing reporter. She denied the whole story on Parkinson, even though it made her look cool, glamorous and a bit scary -- like the character in the movie she was promoting at the time.

She poo-poohed it because it flat out wasn't true.

And that's the exact issue with the Hillard story. It may be harmless and make the Professor look good, but it's not true.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby shireling » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:24 pm

Candy Kane wrote:
shireling wrote: I've done that with my fan fics, building the character around roles that the individual played. For instance, the Prince in "A Harpy's Tale" was inspired by The Guy in "Spy Kids 3: Game Over".

Harmless, hassle-free and I'll have to check it out. Sounds like a great idea for a story!

I can repost it here in the Story Archive :).
Last edited by shireling on Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby Candy Kane » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:56 pm

Let's breathe some life into the story archive. It hasn't had a lot of action lately.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby shireling » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:24 pm

Back to the topic, I just heard that a new novel will be coming out about Ernest Hemmingway.

It takes place during his youth, and the word "novel" was plainly said.
Now, is his estate supporting this? I guess so, because in the case of the Tolkien fic, they're not. Also, I just finished watching Any Human Heart. Ian Fleming, Hemmingway, Sir Harry Oakes and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were the most notable in this; the thing was based on a novel by William Boyd. (Btw, of everybody in it, the Windsors came off very bad but I do have to say, it's in keeping with everything I've ever come across about them - speaking of the dead being fair game, that is.)

I guess having survivors on your side is the ticket, and if you don't want to be immortalized in somebody's fiction, make sure your heirs are legitimate or if not, covered in your will.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby Candy Kane » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:47 pm

Perhaps they've been offered a cut of the profits!!

As I said, with the Tolkien estate, it's about owning the Professor's identity, so that's why they're flipping out about the book.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby MsBrandybuck » Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:27 pm

This is pretty interesting and I'm not sure how I feel about real people being used as characters in speculative fiction.

I've read two books recently that did use actual real [dead] people in works of fiction: "The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)" by Michael Scott, and "Atlantis and Other Places" by Harry Turtledove, which is a collection of short stories- the first of which is "Audubon in Atlantis" and is a story about John Audubon, the famous naturalist, traveling to Atlantis in a quest to find a rare Atlantean goose.

I think both authors characterized the real people, Flamel and Audubon, in favorable terms and see nothing objectionable with their treatment. And I don't know whether an author would have to seek some sort of 'blessing' from any living heirs to be able to write about these people. I imagine it would be challenging to locate any Flamel heirs.

As far as present day 'celebrities' and how they are stalked by the media, I think it has become ridiculus. These people do deserve some privacy and I don't think it is our right to demand to know everything about their daily lives. I honestly don't understand why the public at large wants this information- and they must want it very much, otherwise the media wouldn't be so tenacious about obtaining pictures, gossip, and the like.

I have purposely not watched any of the actual Charlie Sheen interviews, but the media is in such frenzy that I can't help but to have heard some of the sound bytes and to know much of what's been said, seemingly via osmosis.

I wish that the media were not so intrusive and that the public were less interested in the private lives of celebrities.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby Candy Kane » Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:41 pm

I think you can reasonably get away with characterizing dead people if they've been dead for a few centuries because there's nobody to "own" them after that amount of time.

I'm with you on the celebrity thing. It scares me to think about how much power we give the media to do what they do when we buy into the whole gossip thing. Well done you for not being part of it.
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby shireling » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:53 pm

MsBrandybuck wrote:...I have purposely not watched any of the actual...interviews, but the media is in such frenzy that I can't help but to have heard some of the sound bytes and to know much of what's been said, seemingly via osmosis...

Well put! That's how I know so much about Sienfield and Friends, having never seen a nibble of either. :P
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Re: Tolkien estate demands destruction of novel about J.R.R.

Postby Candy Kane » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:04 pm

Yeah, it kind of sneaks in under the radar, doesn't it?
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