But these projects are too dependent on Tolkien, even if in opposition to him, and they require a rejection of the whole apparatus of fantasy. Which raises some questions: Is fantasy intrinsically hostile to technology? That is, was Tolkien simply drawing out what is already there in the genre? Or has he limited it in unnecessary ways? What would a fantasy that embraces technology look like? Arthur Weasley's fascination with Muggle tech in the Harry Potter books is simply comical -- though a great source of fun in the books. I'd like to see a writer imagine what technologies would arise in a fictional world where magic rules but is not the only game in town. Is that too much to ask?
Poor Bilbo couldn't bear it any longer. At "may never return" he began to feel a shriek coming up inside, and very soon it burst out like the whistle of an engine coming out of tunnel.
A great smoke went up. It shaped itself like a mountain seen in the distance, and began to glow at the summit. It spouted green and scarlet flames. Out flew a red-golden dragon--not life-size, but terribly life-like: fire came from his jaws, his eyes glared down; there was a roar, and he wizzed three times over the heads of the crowd. They all ducked, and many fell flat on their faces. The dragon passed like an express train, turned a somersault, and burst over Bywater with a defeating explosion.
Clearly LOTR is a fallen colony world. The higher powers/gods are the original colonists that have made themselves immortal with technology, and taken on aspects and attributes
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
English poet Matthew Arnold wrote one of his finest poems, Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse, while briefly staying at the monastery around 1850. The quiet, serenity, and monastic calm became, for him, the susurrations of a dying world which contrasted with what he saw as the violent emerging age of machinery.
Natural Objects always did & now do weaken, deaden & obliterate Imagination in Me.
There is no such Thing as Natural Piety Because The Natural Man is at Enmity with God.
What is truly privileged, from a Marxist perspective, is the use of fantastic devices, of things that make the unseen seen in a spectacular way. I get this point of view in part from Mieville, but mostly from David McNally’s Monsters of the Market. Essentially it makes the case that capitalist society is grounded in abstractions and fetishes, the whole seen world operates by a hidden, unseen logic and that, therefore, straightforward, realistic narrative strategies of the kind extolled by George Lukacs and performed by the likes of Leo Tolstoy are not adequate for this current social climate.
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