Readers will know of John Garth’s important work on establishing a greater context for understanding J.R.R. Tolkien’s story, particularly at critical points in his life, like WWI. In this piece, Garth looks at an important point in 1936 and 1937, where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis created a SciFi wager, challenging each other to write the stories that simply were not being published. This wager is known to spur on C.S. Lewis to writing his first SF book, Out of the Silent Planet. It was also a prophetic moment, for within a couple of decades both authors would be best-in-show Fantasy authors, and SciFi will have exploded in popularity. What Garth does here and in the article he links is focus the lens on some overlooked facts that fill in our understanding of Tolkien, Lewis, and their creative process. I hope you enjoy, and take the time to test his work.
Discovering the dates of The Fall of Númenor and Out of the Silent Planet
A few months ago I revealed what I think is an exciting new find about the origins of J R R Tolkien’s Atlantis story, The Fall of Númenor, the ultimate predecessor of the accounts of Númenor given in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. I announced my discovery in an article for the Sunday Telegraph which also touched on the role played by Tolkien’s friend C S Lewis. The article can be read at the Telegraph website (sign-up is free for one ‘premium’ article per week), and I won’t now repeat everything it says. But I will recap here the main points I made there about when exactly the Númenor idea struck Tolkien. And I can add some refinements.
That’s because I have now made a further advance, which I hope will prove especially valuable to Lewis…
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