Literary translation and transmogrification

Through /dev/null I learnt of a re-telling of The Lord of the Rings by a Russian author:

Kiril Yeskov’s The Last Ringbearer specifically repudiates Tolkien’s oft-noted agrarian romanticism; in it, Sauron and the land of Mordor represent progress and rationalism, and are destroyed in a war of aggression by Gandalf and his lackeys, reinforcing a backward, feudal order in thrall to superstition and hereditary privilege

Originally written in Russian, the official English translation has only just been made available. It’s a free download available here (in odt, mobi and pdf), which also has a link to an (translated) essay written by the author shortly after it’s publication:

The Last Ring-bearer was written for a very specific audience, too – it’s just another “fairy tale for junior scientists” of which I am one. It is meant for skeptics and agnostics brought up on Hemingway and brothers Strugatzky, for whom Tolkien is only a charming, albeit slightly tedious, writer of children’s books. Those were the people who got the biggest kick out of the novel; theirs were the reviews that used the expression “sleepless night,” dear to any writer’s heart, most often.

In conclusion, a few words about my personal take on the Professor. It is of a dual nature: I bow before Demiurge Tolkien who had created an amazing Universe, but am rather cool toward Tolkien the Storyteller, author of the tale of four Hobbits and their quest. In other words, to me the theatrical backdrop is way more majestic and interesting than the play itself. Terry Pratchett said it well: “Tolkien’s mountains have more personality than characters.” So I’ll bet that mine is far from the last Game that will be played in the Professor’s world. Rozenkrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead – long live Rozenkrantz and Gildenstern!