Thursday, December 18, 2003


As you've probably surmised, this is a parody of The Hobbit, by "A. R. R. R. Roberts" (actually Adam Roberts). I've only glanced at Bored of the Rings so I can't say how this stacks up with that, but unlike Bored, The Soddit is British humor, in the vein of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. And it's funny, albeit uneven. A sample:

"Tis true, life is hard," stated Elsqare. "There is only one thing worse than being an elf, and that is not being an elf."
A dozen elves laughed, twittering like swallows. The laughter died away.
"I don't get it," said Bingo. He became uncomfortably aware of dozens of elvish eyes, each pair focusing a cut-glass look down upon him.
"You don't get it?" said Elsqare, sounding, for the first time, peeved. "What d'ye mean?" He fitted his cunningly worked elvish monocle back into his eye.
"Well, I only mean to say," said Bingo cautiously, that I don't quite ... I mean, when you say that. Don't you like being an elf?"
"'Course I do," snapped Elsqare. "Absurd question!"
"Well," said Bingo. "It's just that if you say 'there's only one thing worse than being an elf', you're implying that being an elf is a miserable thing, and that only 'being anything else' is more miserable. In effect," he went on, warming to his theme, "you're saying that any existence is appalling, and that the only salient characteristic of an elvish existence is that it is marginally less appalling than any other existence. I suppose I can understand somebody expressing a position of such nihilistic absolutism, but it's difficult to construe it as ... as a joke, do you see? I don't see why that's funny. I mean, if existing is so terrible, wouldn't tears and lamentations be more appropriate?"

I don't think this has been published in the U.S yet. The copy I bought was published by Gollancz in the U.K. (ISBN 0 575 07554 6), and the British price is 6.99 pounds: not bad for a 343-page hardcover (granted, the pages are small).

According to the page opposite the title page Adam Roberts has published several books under his own name, including Salt, On, Stone, and Polystom. These sound suspiciously like poetry, but I will investigate.

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