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Showing posts from April, 2023

Tales from the Perilous Realm

One of the stories in this collection is Leaf by Niggle, an allegorical tale about an artist in which Tolkien is plainly expressing his anxiety that his work of creating Middle Earth will never be finished and that what fragments he does manage to produce will be ignored by most people and eventually forgotten altogether. It’s quite affecting, and I suppose he never did finish it, but there seems little danger of it being forgotten, since all his notes and half-finished stories are now available as pricey books. This one, Tales from the Perilous Realm , comes with a beautiful Alan Lee painting of a hero confronting a dragon on the front, perhaps designed to nudge the unwary purchaser into thinking they’re buying something Lord of the Rings related. What they’ll actually be taking home is an anthology of short tales which were mostly available as separate small volumes when I was a young ‘un, bulked out with Tolkien’s essay On Fairy Tales . Farmer Giles of Ham is the central story,

Picard (Season 3)

  A few years ago, when the first season of Picard came out, I gave it a fairly damning review on here . I gave up on season 2, but season 3 seems to have turned things around a bit, so it seemed worth a look. And it is indeed much more fun, which is what I mostly look for in a space opera.  I’ve seen people argue pretty convincingly that this new, improved Picard is really just fan service, and to be fair it does exist primarily to drop loads of references to Star Trek: The Next Generation.  But it’s still an improvement, I think. The first season  of Picard seemed to have been made by people who were a bit embarrassed by Star Trek’s baggage, and now it appears to have been wrenched from their grasp and placed in the hands of someone who absolutely loves it, which has to be preferable. And cunningly, I have forgotten most of TNG , so I probably didn’t spot most of the references, and was able to enjoy this series as a bit of straightforward (if fairly generic) Star Trek .  The sto