Oh, and another LOTR related thought:

Many people tend to excuse LOTR’s cliches by saying that it invented the genre, that we wouldn’t have fantasy without it. They are, of course, wrong. Modern fantasy would almost certainly be very different without it, but it didn’t invent the genre. Conan the Barbarian was around in the thirties, and if you want to really look to the roots of the thing, you’re going back from Conan Doyle and Hodgson via Verne and Wells to people like Shelley and Polidori, and then back to Shakespeare and his mates, and yes, further and further back to biblical and pre-biblical times – the roots of what might be called fantastic fiction, as opposed to fantasy, which is just a subset of the same and grows out of it…

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