Tolkienesque adj.

characteristic of or resembling J.R.R. Tolkien or his writings; cf. Tolkienian adj.

SF Criticism

  • 1967 N.Y. Times 8 Oct. (Book Review section) 8 (advt.) page image

    A vast, Tolkienesque adventure—haunting, hypnotic, totally absorbing—about a gigantic castle named Gormenghast and the memorable people who live inside and outside its timeless walls.

  • 1970 Nature 18 July 215/2

    Earlier this month it was announced that Loch Morar, too, would be screened for a monster, already christened with suitably Tolkienesque undertones, as Morag.

  • 1982 D. Hartwell The Golden Age of Science Fiction is Twelve in Top of News (1982, issue number unknown) 14 David G. Hartwell

    This is a quick rundown of the main possibilities an omnivore might fix on: classic fantasy (ghost stories, legends, tales); supernatural horror (two categories: classic—from Le Fanu, Blackwood, and Machen to Stephen King and Rosemary’s Baby; and Lovecraftian, the school of H. P. Lovecraft and his followers); Tolkienesque fantasy (in the manner of Lord of the Rings—carefully constructed fantasy worlds as the setting for a heroic quest); heroic fantasy (barely repressed sex fantasy in which a muscular, sword-bearing male beats monsters, magicians, racial inferiors, and effete snobs by brute force, then services every willing woman in sight—and they are all willing); Burroughsian science fantasy (adventure on another planet or thinly rationalized SF setting in which fantasy and anachronism—sword fighting among the stars—are essentials); space opera (the Western in space); hard science fiction (the SF idea is the center of attention, usually involving chemistry or physics or astronomy); soft science fiction (two alternate types: one in which the character is more important than the SF idea; the other focusing on any science other than physics or chemistry).

  • 2001 Science Fiction Chronicle July 24/3

    The art is roughly grouped by lost worlds, films, Tolkienesque, fairies, and other categories, but the groupings aren’t particularly useful.

  • 2002 TV Zone No. 157 75/3

    The Defiant-centred side of things…suffers from a very slow start—and an excessive fondness for cutesy Tolkienesque names.

  • 2016 Entertainment Weekly 22–29 Apr. 69 page image

    His fantasy epic based on the popular Tolkienesque game tells the story of an orc invasion of the human realm.

Research requirements

antedating 1967

Earliest cite

the New York Times

Research History
Bill Mullins submitted a 1967 cite from an ad for the Gormenghast Trilogy in the New York Times.

Earliest cite in the OED: 1970.

Last modified 2021-11-06 14:22:28
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.