Reflections on fantasy, SF, writing, music, technology, life…

How Tolkien Leads the Digital Revolution

In the late ’60’s and ’70’s I devoured Tolkien’s stories and loved his world-building, My involvement in (and frustration with!) the Tolkien Society, led directly to my helping to found the British Fantasy Society in 1971. Since then, some of my children have grown up as Tolkien fans and we have enjoyed the world he created brought to the ‘big screen’ by Peter Jackson.

From this, it is little surprise to me that hundreds of thousands of people name ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as their favourite book. However, I did a double-take when, in the course of keeping up on technology news and developments, I read a (very straight, not tongue-in cheek) artidle by IDG about How Tolkien Leads the Digital Revolution.

While IDG is right that most smartphone and tablet apps don’t reach the level of depth, the layers possible, I suspect the issue is the time to develop and launch is so much shorter. Tolkien spent his life developing Middle Earth. He didn’t work to a deadline or the corporate need for continuing increases in quarterly profits or the need to launch something ‘new’ or ‘world-changing’ every year. The issue then is the expectation versus ability to produce something original within an ever-increasing the pace of change.

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