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Sarah Goslee: “There and Back Again”

I found this article in Uncanny via a Fediverse post by Lilith Saintcrow:

It starts so simply, so small. You find a ring, or someone leaves you one in an envelope. It appears under your pillow, or under your heart. You pay no mind. It’s a ring, nothing more. But you wonder sometimes, in the still hours of the night, what that ring might mean. If you have a puzzle, you ask a wizard. Everyone knows that. The wizard tells you that sometimes a ring is just a ring, but even the wizard wonders. The wizard does a few tests, tries a few things. The wizard finds tiny magical letters encircling the ring, written in the language of genetics, harbingers of doom. Something must be done.

That’s right. Ms. Goslee is using J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as an allegory for struggling against cancer.

I didn’t post this because I myself am a ringbearer, but because I am husband to a ringbearer. I put aside my own search for Tanelorn to help her on her walk to Mordor and back. Her journey wasn’t as harrowing as it might have been. We were lucky. But still, the shadow remains.

You can read the full article at