Friday, December 16, 2011

Palantirs on Every Desktop

David Brin shows himself to be completely incompetent at literary analysis:

We owe absolutely nothing to $%#! elfs or wizards who clutch secret "wisdom" (what we moderns call "useful information about the world") to themselves for thousands of years, leaving men and women to flounder in miserable ignorance, when they might have opened a college in Lothlorien Forest, so we'd have flush toilets and palantirs on every desktop. Oh, thank God such creatures are mythological, because Tolkien himself opined that they were - in truth - the enemies of humankind.

Too true, because a society in which the Eye of Sauron has direct access to every desktop would be quite splendid, and flush toilets will necessarily be the highest priority of all rational people when they are engaged in a struggle with Morgoth. But the level of literary sophistication in the post does explain why I always find Brin's stories to be extraordinarily tedious characters used for implausible developments of ideas that are occasionally mildly interesting.

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