Archive | April 6, 2007

War and Back Again

Airship over futuristic city I just finished reading H. G. Wells’s 1908 novel The War in the Air, a grimly prophetic tale of high-tech war and aerial bombardment, and I find myself wondering whether Tolkien ever read it.

Because not only is the main character, Bert Smallways, remarkably hobbity (as is his character arc), but Bert’s return home at the end of the novel is strikingly similar to “The Scouring of the Shire.”

I’ve previously speculated as to whether Tolkien might have been influenced by another early sf pioneer, Jules Verne. But I don’t know enough about Tolkien’s reading habits ….

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