Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Book 50 of 2013: The Sellamillion by A.R.R.R. Roberts

I like to pick up books that are related to Tolkien in any way, shape or form. This extends to parodies of Tolkien and so on my bookcase I have a little selection of parodies of his writing, the first of these being The Sellamillion.

In short, it's a parody of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. Except that it kind of isn't because there are some bits at the end which parody other Tolkien-based works, like the book of his letters and some other things. Also, it would be very hard to actually parody The Silmarillion but this takes the gist of it, makes it funny and then just runs with that.

I did find it really funny. There were lots of bits that I kept on wanting to share with John and I could easily have copied out quotes from a large chunk of the book. In a way the jokes kind of reminded me of Terry Pratchett because he's another author where you get a throwaway comment on one page, then two or three pages later you get the punchline. It's really funny, but not the sort of thing you can read to someone else without reading them a large portion of the book, and it also makes it really hard to copy stuff into my book journal.

I think that it must have been quite a challenge to write because, let's face it, The Silmarillion isn't exactly light reading. I imagine that a parody of The Hobbit or even The Lord of the Rings had to be easier to write than this. That said, I think it shows how well he understood the source material in order to make jokes about it and to twist things to make them funny.

I'm fairly certain that I picked up this book on one of my many charity shop trawls. I know from at least one review online that it can be a bit tricky to pick up, though that may be easier now that you can get the Kindle version on Amazon. I imagine that writing it was a bit of a gamble because it had to have a very limited audience. I mean, I have read and enjoyed reading The Silmarillion but that's a much smaller group of people than who have read and enjoyed Tolkien's other books. Plus the number of people who have read, enjoyed, and want to see the book made fun of (in the nicest possible way) much be even smaller again!

This was written by the same person who wrote the Star Wars parody and as with that one of my favourite things were the creative names that he came up with. I'm sure anyone can come up with funny names, but I love the way that they link to the original but are funny in their setting as well. For example the opening has 'And the Holy Spirits that are called Valüpac, gathered about Emu and their names are Gion, Poll, Gorge, Thingo, and Moregothic.' There's also Lúthien's alternate, Lüthwoman, which I found funny. Tuoni Bleary took me a little longer to figure out, until he started talking politics, that is.

I've still got The Soddit and Bored of the Rings on my shelf to read as well so I'm looking forward to getting to those in the future.

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