(NOTE: This review relates only to Time & The Gods by Lord Dunsany [ISBN-10: 1587157195, Wildside Press 2002], and may not relate to other volumes where it may appear)
Many volumes of work claim to have influenced Tolkien in his creation of Middle-Earth and Dunsany has been cited as one of these influences. I am a big Tolkien fan so I decided to give this a go. I have discovered since, however, that perhaps William Morris and others were more influential and having read this book I would tend to agree. I am aware that Dunsany did write other volumes involving elves and the like, but this collection has few similarities to Tolkien's work beyond the first few chapters of the Silmarillion perhaps. The book is not a continual story as such but a number of short passages that express Dunsany's ideas about creation and prophecy in a mythical world. This is not to say the ideas here are bad ideas - just a little underdeveloped. Very few characters are introduced or developed here, and any idea of a plot is almost nonexistent. Personally, I found these ideas stimulating and exciting - but then I do like that kind of thing! Dunsany was a complex character himself and lived a busy and active life. He had a fervent interest in Greek classics, which is often evident here. This collection seems to be a series of extracts collated from a notebook: jottings laid down during his time in the trenches, between an innings of cricket or during his game hunts in the African bush perhaps. So if you are looking for a good story with a beginning and an end, and peopled by developed characters in a complex and interesting narrative, you may well do better looking elsewhere (William Morris's Roots of the Mountain does offer these themes, albeit in a rather antiquated form... and it is, perhaps, more Tolkienesque). If however this seems like it might be for you then you may do better to search out another volume as this particular edition is riddled with proofing errors. I also expected a better binding for the price. A more comprehensive 'collection' of Dunsany's work will also afford you a far more rounded view of the man's talents. My rating is based more on this edition's shortcomings, rather than Dunsany's achievement here.