The Fall of Gondolin and the transformation of Tolkien’s world

In a little over a week, The Fall of Gondolin will be released. This is on the heels of the publication of Beren and Lúthien last year, and The Children of Húrin in 2007. I notice that both of these two books are “Kindle Deals” right now, so they are probably anticipating that getting more people to buy these two books will gin up demand for The Fall of Gondolin.

If you’ve read The Silmarillion these novels are not going to be original. Rather, they’re for the Tolkien completists. But though Tolkien was a traditional conservative who did not look kindly upon the forces of the free market, I think the fact that Amazon is going to use his work, his world, as source material means that old stories are going to be recycled. Tolkien’s son, Christopher, who at over 90 years of age is nearing the end of his time guarding his father’s legacy. I wonder if these last novels are parting salvos by him before he loses total control.

I was not too interested in Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin. But The Fall of Gondolin is a genuinely more epic tale.

The films in the 2000s were pretty good in my opinion, but what Amazon will do is probably going to totally reimagine how Tolkien’s vision is perceived by a new generation. Reading these novels might be a way to reacquaint oneself one last time with what these works of fantasy meant to people and were meant to be.

11 thoughts on “The Fall of Gondolin and the transformation of Tolkien’s world

  1. I would like to ask Mr. Khan and the community of his readers here, especially those well-versed in sci-fi/fantasy books, for help.

    I grew up partly in East Asia and moved to the U.S. in the early 1980’s. Prior to that I did not speak or read English, and all the books I read as a child in East Asia were in the local language.

    Back then, my parents frequently bought me books that were locally translated anthologies of notable books overseas, for example “The Best Children’s Sci-Fi Stories from around the World” and so forth (on a side note and in retrospect, in those days of little regard for intellectual property, I don’t think these Asian publishers paid royalty to the foreign writers/publishers!).

    Later on, I was able to track down these translated works in their original languages one-by-one… except one. I am missing a sci-fi book whose title and origin I do not know. But I remember the plot.

    The story takes place in a city (likely in Europe or North America) where people go on normally with their lives… until some science experiment at the center of the town (a lab or a university?) goes awry.

    Some fraction of the town residents find themselves in an unfamiliar location, which is natural but completely devoid of any civilization (they are also completely naked with no material possessions of any kind). After recovering from shock, the “transported” people rebuild civilization and their lives (forming new families, etc.), and attempt to recreate the experiment in an effort to return home (which provides hope and a unifying goal). They work hard and are able to replicate the experiment in some modified way. They are able to transport someone as a test subject.

    It turns out, though, that the second experiment did not send the test subject home, but simply to yet another unknown location (the subject is able to return and reports thusly). The transported people decide to accept their fate and go on building a new civilization where they are.

    If this plot line sounds familiar, I would appreciate it very much if someone could identify the title and/or author of the book.

  2. Sounds like the 1648 series to me.

    Could you please elaborate?

    They weren’t naked though

    As I recall, the transported people were completely naked and without any material possessions, so the first thing they did was cover themselves up with leaves – a reference to Adam and Eve, perhaps.

  3. Wow. That is involved. I don’t think that’s it. In the story I remember the weren’t transported to another time. It was a strange new place devoid of people.

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