Swordpoint (LOC's): [Letter from someone who has not read Tolkien's works previously, negatively reviewing Joe Zalabak's column, especially Zalabak's discussion of popular rock music, and praising Harriett Kolchak's poem in Hoom #2]

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[page 30] GEORGE INZER 726 Walker Hall, 116 Cox Street, Auburn, Alabama 36830 Thank you very much for sending me a copy of HOOM 2. When I saw that it was about TOlkien, I didn't know if I were going to like it or not since I have never even read any of his works and I'm rather cool to fantasy in general. But once I started reading it, well, trite as it sounds, I couldn't put it down. About all the fantasy I had read previously was the Mouser and Fafrd @Fafhrd@ stories and deCamp's Harold Shea yarns. But your magazine has convinced me that I've really been missing something and I plan to read LotR soon as I can. You've really won a convert. I do have some individual comments on some of the columns, however. "Joes's Turn" was easily the worst column. I hope I don't sound too harsh but I always like honest reactions for my articles and I always profit by even the most adverse comments. I have to agree with Frank Lunney (for once) when he pans the column, but I will go into the specific faults because the idea is a good one. As Lunney points out, Joe goes too much into his own opinions without anything to back them up. This makes a column dull, at least if you don't know the author. His column sounds like a Madison Ave. idea of what a teen column is like when actually it is written below the level of most teenagers, at least the ones I know personally and in fandom. Frankly, either Joe is deliberately writing below his level of understanding or he is rather immature for his age. (What _is_ his age, maybe it is I who is @am@ assuming too much here.) "Steppenwolf" he ways, "is the best hard rock group in the U.S. today." Why? "Out of the eleven songs on thier first album I enjoy _all_ elevan @eleven@." Gee! Gosh! I'll dash right down to my neighborhood discount store!! "The Doors' new album 'Waiting for the Sun,' is just as good as their first LP, which was _really_ good." Ohboyohboyohboy!! Actually, I like the Doors also, but my mere liking of something is hardly a selling point. I, in fact, have all the Doors albums and I feel qualified to discuss them a little better than the Steppenwolf. Joe seems fascinated with only the hits of the Doors, but their hits are their worst music when considered as art. On their first album. [unreadable] "Light My Fire" was very good, especially the instrumental [unreadable] it was still basically a trite song of seduction. On the [page 31] same album, "End of the Night," "The Crystal Ship," and "The End" are all far better. "The End" in particular is a commentary on modern America with its propaganda, sex, and violence. "The West is the best, get in and we'll do the rest..." While Joe likes the Doors' first and third albums (evidently because they had their big hits on them) it is actually their second album, STRANGE DAYS, which is their best work. On this album, their songs range from one of utter lonliness ("People Are Strange") to the beginning of life ("Horse Latitudes"). One song, "When the Music's Over," tells of the pollution of our planet in a free verse version of romanticism-- What have they done to the earth? What have they done to our fair sister? Ravaged and plundered And ripped her and bit her, Stuck her with knives In the side of the dawn, And tied her with fences And dragged her down. This quotation does not do full justice because the Doors have helped to create a new art form, a marriage of poetry and sound. The above quotation was accompanied by trip hammers, and street noises, not the actual sounds but impressions created with electric guitars, organ, and drums. My main gripe with Joe is this: He is serving to preserve the generation gap, even unwittingly, by preserving the idea of "if it's good, it's good, and I can't explain it." You can explain it, Joe. If those over thirty understood that we care about more than just sex and pot...If they understood what we were saying in our music...If they would accept the new art of the Doors and the Beatles and others...Well, who knows?... One word of praise here for Harriett Kolchak: Your poem "Unvarnished Battle" was the best poem I've read in a long time. Not only did it have meter and form, but it was a complex form and best of all, it was well done. It reminded me of Spenser or The Pearl Poet. Actually it was your poem that awakened the memories of my enjoyment of the old fantasy legends like Beowulf and the Norse myths. (Byt the way, is there a book of Norse mythology in print, anybody? Our library here at Auburn U, has a few, but they're 75 years old at least!) I was amazed at Bob Foster's letter. It made me wonder whether Tolkien actually wrote the Ring Trilogy or if he just collected them. His letter was so scholarly that it sounded like a translator's comment on Beowulf or something. Well, thanks again. I've rarely enjoyed a fanzine so much. Haben Sie glück! George

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