Follow-Up Department: [Letter commenting on the name of the Tolkien Society group The Fellowship of the Ring, finding it the most inclusive of all possible Tolkien-inspired names]

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[page 10] FOLLOW-UP DEPARTMENT: _AL HALEVY_ When I first heard of the Tolkien society away back in September 1959, Bjo (who was then interested in organizing the group) told me that she planned to call the society The Fellovship of the Ring. I wasn't sure then whether I liked the name, but since then I've decided that it is far better than any other one suggested so far. Granted that the title refers to a specific group of people (the Nine Walkers, the Nine Companions, the Companions of the Ring, the Company of the Ring, and the Ring's Company -- all names used by Tolkien to describe the same group of people), nevertheless, as you say, the term also has much larger meaning. Furthermore, it seems to me that the other names suggested for the group are even more specific: Riders of Rohan, the Shiremen, the Defenders of Gondor; the Entmoot, or even the Hobbits. The Men of Middle Earth is not specific, but I don't really like the term for a name of a society. All in all, I would forget about the objections re- garding the name Fellowship of the Ring, and use it --- you're going to get objections from someone no matter what name you finally use. And a name is not half as important as the organization of the group. My glossary of Middle-earth is progressing very well and should be done in the fall. It will run about 150 typewritten pages, and will include some 2500 entries. My real problem will come when I try to publish it -- I suspect it will cost a great deal more than I can afford. I don't think it is only fantasies which have dull beginnings, but almost all books. This is a matter of definition. After all, when you start reading a book, it takes a number of pages of reading until you begin to know something about the background of a book, and it is a background which makes for a good book. For in- stance, when I first read Tros, I was very bored by the first 40 or 50 pages, but after that I couldn't put the book down (I read it straight through after the first 50 pages in one night), Actually, I wouldn't say that the first few pages of the book @was@ dull now, but now I know something about the background of the story. The same holds true for Tolkien -- it took me several hours of reading until I could really get interested in the story. Now, well, I think the first few pages are delightful (to say the least). I wouldn't say that fantasy calls for an active belief, and contrast it with science fiction which calls for a suspension of belief. All fiction calls for an ac- tive belief -- those works which induce this active belief (empathy) ara the great works. This holds not only for fantasy and science fiction, but for mystery stories, historical novels, etc., etc. Maybe the reason for the greater durability of fantasy (over science fiction) lies in the fact that writers of fantasy know that they have to induce a fair bit of empathy in their readers, and try harder to do so. Also, there is a great deal more science fiction being written today than fantasy, particu- larly in magazine form. Percentage-wise, I'll bet that the amount of fantasy which is good is the same as the amount of science fiction which is good in magazines. (-If fantasy is more durable than science fiction, and there is _more_ science fiction being written than fantasy, wouldn't it seem that the percentages of good fantasy and good science fitction are decidedly _un_equal? I agree that almost all books have dull beginnings, though we seem to differ in judging the dullness. I found the first couple hundred pages of Tros very dull, and wasn't bored at all with the beginning of Tolkien...BEP)

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