scirocco wrote:And not least, no-one has ever been able to match Tolkien's unique qualities as a writer, so how could the new stuff avoid being inferior?
Well, really, it would start by not trying to be Tolkien in the first place. That's a recipe for disaster. Don't try to emulate his style
. Unless you are a master impersonator, that always comes across as phony. The author would need to find his own voice, and project that onto Tolkien's setting
and the values he instilled it with. Make it a recognizable part of Tolkien's world, but let the work stand on its own. Don't shoehorn in appearances from well-known characters unless it makes perfect sense for them to be there and they actually have something to do besides wink at the reader. Don't place the events of the story around the big set-pieces of Tolkien's work, like the siege of Minas Tirith. In fact, try to stray from familiar places altogether unless, again, it makes perfect sense to be there and it contributes to the story. Then, in a second book or a third one, you can start letting the trappings of Tolkien's classic stories make sporadic appearances, now that you've established yourself. If you're going to have a bit of fanservice, you need to earn it by not having everything else be fanservice as well.
The Star Wars expanded universe was mentioned, and it's actually not that bad of an example. There are books that try to ape George Lucas's style from the films, have Han Solo show up out of nowhere, include a bunch of lines from the movies for no reason, give the enemy a planet destroying weapon that could never be anything more than a stand-in for the Death Star, etc. These books are almost always terrible, and if one isn't, those qualities are invariably listed among the work's cons. Rather, some of the best stories are the ones that use unfamiliar settings or characters within the universe, or if they stick with the movie cast, they put the characters into stories that are largely unlike the movies. The universe is informed by the context rather than the content, if that makes any sense.
Simply put: This hypothetical new work should not, under any circumstances, center around another piece of jewelry.
scirocco wrote:I just suspect that the practicalities of doing it in a way that would not seem like cashing in on his legacy and would still retain the quality would be very, very difficult.
Yes, unfortunately, there's plenty of room for such a work to go wrong. However, considering the refusal of the Estate to do so thus far, even with all the free publicity provided by the movie projects, I think the quality of the work would be rather important to them if they ever did give it a try.