A List of Books by

Michael Martinez

Mindfaring through Middle-earth, by Michael MartinezMindfaring through Middle-earth is the latest in Michael’s books about J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle-earth.  This experimental book takes you on a tour across northwestern Middle-earth unlike any you have experienced before.  The Mindfarer wanders through another person’s imaginarium, the vista of the imagination in which stories are conceived and shaped.  By examining clues Tolkien himself embedded in the texts and his notes, the mindfarer attempts to “see” Middle-earth as the author himself saw it, to feel it the way his characters may have felt it.

The stunning details will blow you away because interesting obscure facts related to a given location are brought into the discussion.  Instead of thinking in terms of how Tolkien borrowed something from folklore or literature, the mindfarer thinks in terms of how the big picture came together and why the pieces were placed just so.  What are the undeclared relationships between the many anecdotes scattered across Tolkien’s letters and essays and the place-names that we have come to take for granted?

You will agree that there is really nothing quite like Mindfaring through Middle-earth on the market.  Better yet, as a Kindle Edition it can be downloaded to virtually every electronic device used to surf the Internet.  You don’t have to own a Kindle product to own a copy of this book.

Parma Endorion: Essays on Middle-earth, 3rd Edition, by Michael MartinezParma Endorion: Essays on Middle-earth, 3rd Edition started out as a small collection of essays that Michael wrote for his very first Website, The Worlds of Michael Martinez, on CompuServe.  He moved this collection to Xenite.Org in 1997 and it quickly become a popular resource with researchers, instructors, and students around the world.  The original Parma Endorion was one of the first Web resources to be widely cited in academic dissertations and master’s theses.

The second edition of Parma Endorion was published as an expanded dedicated Website section on Xenite.Org.  The material had become so large, however, that maintaining the site and defending it against plagiarism became a very time consuming task.  After the success that Visualizing Middle-earth enjoyed (it was published through a free program offered by Xlibris), Michael decided to revise Parma Endorion again and offered it as a downloadable PDF.  The book has been picked up by numerous distributors and reviewed on many Websites.

The third edition also featured artwork provided by Rich Sullivan and Anke Eissmann.  Eissmann has become one of the most widely recognized “fan illustrators” for the works of J.R.R.  She is recognized as a leading fantasy artist specializing in Tolkien’s fiction.

Visualizing Middle-earth, by Michael MartinezVisualizing Middle-earth is a collection of some of the earliest essays Michael published in his Suite101 Tolkien and Middle-earth column.  At the height of its popularity the column, which Michael wrote from 1998 to 2002, was read by 30,000 weekly visitors.  Although the essays are no longer available at Suite101 you can still find them on MERP.Com and Middle-earth.xenite.org.  The book, Visualizing Middle-earth, includes material that was not published on Suite101 and edits which do not appear in the online versions of the essays.

Although criticized by some reviewers for being “too fannish”, Visualizing Middle-earth achieved success precisely because it was written by a fan for other fans.  The success of this book, which was self-published, contributed to future “by fan for fan” projects in science fiction and fantasy fandom.  Despite occasional grumbling from a few reviewers, most of the online reviews are positive and enthusiastic.

Although Visualizing Middle-earth never became a New York Times Bestseller it did spark one interesting conversation.  Michael’s father took a cab ride a few months after the book was published.  The cabbie was an engaging fellow who talked about his favorite new book.  When Michael’s father politely inquired about the name of the book, the cabbie said, “Visualizing Middle-earth”.  “That’s my son’s book!” Michael’s father exclaimed.  It must be a small world after all.

Understanding Middle-earth: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, by Michael MartinezUnderstanding Middle-earth: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth came about almost by accident.  Fans clamored for a sequel to Visualizing Middle-earth and Vivisphere, on the lookout for interesting new authors, approached Michael with an offer to publish his next book.  When Michael’s online friend Matt Tinaglia, who had edited Parma Endorion: Essays on Middle-earth, 3rd Edition, pressed Michael to put together the sequel to Visualizing Middle-earth, the plan came together.

Considered by most readers to be much better presented and organized, and containing many more essays, Understanding Middle-earth: Essays on Middle-earth remains a well-respected “fannish” work.  Also criticized for a lack of scholarly references, Understanding Middle-earth nonetheless has its loyal readers who are more interested in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world rather than all the possible sources and influences he may have drawn upon to construct that world.  Understanding Middle-earth also differs from Visualizing Middle-earth in that it includes an essay written explicitly for this book, so it is not merely a collection of previously published essays.

The SEO Theory Search Engine Optimization Quick Reference Guide, by Michael MartinezThe SEO Theory Search Engine Optimization Quick Reference Guide was a very popular eBook that Michael’s former employer, Visible Technologies, Inc. (where Michael worked from 2006 to 2010), compiled from the SEO Theory blog (which the company owned at that time).  Containing over 70 pages of detailed articles about search engine optimization theory and methods, the eBook was hailed by many readers as the leading resource for learning complex search engine optimization. However, because he did not have access to the source documents and the PDF contains copyright notices in the name of Visible Technologies, Michael decided to withdraw the eBook from distribution after the company gave him the SEO Theory blog.

Many books about search engine optimization have been published, both as eBooks and traditional print books.  The one drawback for all these books is that they quickly become outdated because they focus on specific techniques and tools that take advantage of current beliefs about search engine algorithms.  As a theorist Michael has always emphasized taking the long-term view and he has promoted use of good Website design and heavy emphasis on providing true evergreen content.  As a result many of Michael’s early articles about search engine optimization theory remain popular and relevant even after 7 years or more.  That is unheard of in an industry whose popular ideas and practices often lead to search engine algorithm changes and penalties.