Saturday, 29 July 2017

Fictional Treatments Of Fictional Texts

In the alternative timeline of Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest, William Shakespeare is not the great dramatist but the Great Historian whose texts, recording Englishmen speaking English in ancient times, are thought to prove that the English are the Lost Tribes of Israel.

John Watson's stories are published in the timeline of Sherlock Holmes, thus enabling Holmes, on his return from Reichenbach, to comment that Watson had been inaccurate in one detail of "The Final Problem." In SM Stirling's alternative history novel, The Peshawar Lancers, Conan Doyle wrote those same stories as alternative history fictions. See here.

In Olaf Stapledon's Last And First Men, a mentally time travelling Neptunian observer inspires the author to write what the latter thinks is fiction and indeed he does garble most of it.

In SM Stirling's Emberverse, the Rangers believe that Tolkien:

"...was The Historian, inspired by the Valar demigods even if he didn't know it..."
-SM Stirling, The Tears Of The Sun (New York, 2012), Chapter Twelve, p. 362.

And, if there are any more ways to turn both reality and fiction inside out, then I would like to hear them.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Yes, I noticed with interest and amusement the passionate zeal with which Astrid Larsson and her followers/disciples regarded the works of JRR Tolkien. In fact, Tolkien himself knew how devoted some of his fans were to his works. Which sometimes made him just a bit uneasy!

Yes, I'm sure some of Astrid's "neo-Dunedain" worshiped God as Eru Iluvatar and venerated the angelic Valar. I've even wondered if any real world fans of Tolkien have gone that far, inventing a "Middle Earth" religion.

I checked the publication date of my copy of MORGOTH'S RING (1993), and that would have been available to Aatrid and her fellow "neo-Dunedain." I mentioned that book because it contains a text that would be very important to a "Middle Earth" religion: "Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth." A debate about both the natures of elves and men and discussion of a mysterious "new hope" involving Iluvatar Himself.