23 February 2011

Tolkien -- Codebreaker!

This post at Jeff's Game Blog caught my attention and set me to wondering: what if Tolkien was somehow involved, not in the faking of the Voynich Manuscript, but in a clandestine attempt to decipher it?  That makes sense, given his skill in linguistics and philology.  Then, given my fondness for Cryptonomicon and my slow-to-get-off-the-ground alt-history WWII game, I started to wonder "what if Tolkien wasn't just playing around with the Voynich Manuscript, but was involved in a serious cryptography effort in WWII?"  That led me to Tolkien's Wikipedia Page to get some dates nailed down.  What did I find?  Tolkien was actually asked to serve in the cryptography department of the Foreign Office in 1939.  Whoah!  Later, he was told he wasn't needed.

Well, in my world, Professor, you are very much needed.  The Nazi's are up to something and we can't quite make it out.

8 comments:

  1. That is so League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! I love it!

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  2. Tolkien + Voynich = Awesomesauce!

    (Hopefully we can kick-start that WWII game... I'll try to finnish my character later today)

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  3. Maybe Voynich is the Red Book of Westmarch?

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  4. Trey - I totally thought of that when I first read about this at Jeff's. Then I went and spent hours on the wikipedia voynich article.

    Grendelwulf - Tolkien soooo needs to be sort of a 'Q' type guy in the League stories. Then drop hints about his adventures and talks with Elrond.

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  5. If the Voynich is the Red Book and Tolkien talks to Elrond, then that sets up a Castle Falkenstien like possibility, except in the mid 20th Century instead of the mid-19th.

    A Sauron and Hitler team-up!

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  6. @migellito: R.R.! Double-R ;) Or teh League just keep calling him by his different names: John, Ronald, and Reul. What if he was actually three different men? Ok, I need more coffee now.

    @Professor Pope: I so want to play this now! Damn your eyes! ;)

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  7. Is there already a game system that mixes CoC 1920's and some sort of golden age superhero stuff? Because that would be perfect :)

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  8. @migellito: http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=HITE003

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