In one of his letters, J.R.R. Tolkien reports that he once made a bet with C.S. Lewis that led to a grand (but unfulfilled) literary project and what became a lifelong inquiry into the nature of time. The two great scholars and fantasy writers "tossed" to decide which of them would write a fantasy epic centered on adventures in space, and which would write a parallel epic devoted to adventures in time. Lewis got the assignment in space, and proceeded to produce the magnificent Space Trilogy of adult fantasy novels. Tolkien got the assignment in time, which he would certainly have chosen for himself, since he was always fascinated by the possibility of time travel and of slipping into the Other Time of Faerie, which he ruminates on in his important essay Of Fairy-Tales.
Tolkien never produced his Time Trilogy. He did write some unfinished stories that center on time travel, the first of which is titled "The Lost Road." The finished works may be lacking, but it is fascinating to track where Tolkien's mind and imagination - and dreambody - traveled on this assignment. He became convinced that dreams and the practice of dreaming are the key to time travel. He was entirely correct in this. He found an exemplar in J.W.Dunne, the soldier-engineer-dreamer whose groundbreaking book An Experiment with Time remains hugely exciting, as a study of time travel through dreams that is grounded in first-hand experience.
This note is merely to announce that I am currently tracking Tolkien's adventures in past time and Other Time. I'll post longer reports when I'm ready. Assuming that I have his blessing, since he has turned up in several of my lucid dreams, along with C.S.Lewis, with advice that I did not always follow right away...
The Shores of Faerie. Drawing by J.R.R.Tolkien (1915)