So, while I was in Milwaukee Jeff Grubb* forwarded to me a link to a piece which boggled my mind:
Here, it's not so much what's said (Tolkien is the major shaping influence on modern fantasy) as who's saying it that's remarkable. Perhaps the most notable Tolkien-basher of the last decade has been China Mieville, most famously in the following bit from, I think, 2003:
Even more negative, though I can not now find that link to it, is a short bit he contributed to a tribute to Tolkien several years back (circa 2001?) in which he gloried in being the sole negative voice; I remember he was specifically hard on Bombadil.
I've always assumed that Mieville's statements were less expressions of his convictions (political or literary) than attempts to curry favor with Moorcock and similar fringe figures of an older generation whom he personally admired. And, frankly, try to ride on Tolkien's current high popularity from the 'Author of the Century' polls and the movies' buzz to get a little shock-jock publicity for himself. Maybe now that he's no longer the new kid in town but has established himself as a major talent in contemporary fantasy --indeed, probably the preeminent writer in the 'New Weird' movement-- he feels he can ease off a bit. And, it must be said, completely reverse himself in every detail of what he'd previously said about JRRT.
Still, it's nice to see him come around.
* http://grubbstreet.blogspot.com/ (check out the June 27th entry for a picture that includes both Janice and myself)