Back in the 1960s there was a story about the head of a corporation in the late 20th or early 21st century who discovered that his computer expert was using the mainframe to digitally animate a version of The Lord of the Rings. As I remember the image quality was supposed to equal that of realistic oil paintings.

Can anyone identify this story?

1 Answer 1


"The Accomplice" (April 1967), by Vernor Vinge

"The Accomplice"

Originally published in Worlds of If Science Fiction, 1967.

Bob Royce, CEO of Royce Technology, Inc., and his security officer Arnold Su have discovered that one of their employees has embezzled 4 million dollars worth of computer time. The evidence points to Howard Prentice, a 90-something renaissance man doing computer science research for the company. Prentice reveals that he has used the computers to create a 4-hour computer-generated film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This file is the culmination of a 30-year project by Prentice and his wife Moira to turn film into an art form which can be produced by individual artists.

— Wikipedia: The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge

The full issue of Worlds of IF (April 1967), including this story, is available to read online at the Internet Archive.

  • 30
    A brilliant piece of SF predicting the future. But what else would you expect from Vinge?
    – Mark Olson
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 20:32
  • 1
    @MarkOlson Does this mean there is a chance that we could solve NP problems (or harder) in polynomial time by venturing to the edge of the Galaxy? Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 8:38
  • 7
    @DavidTonhofer Maybe. Try it and let us know ;)
    – Tom Zych
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 10:27
  • 1
    @MarkOlson - I think Vinge is awesome, but I don't know that there is going to be a single singularity moment as he seems to suggest. Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 15:50
  • 7
    So... what parts of the Jackson films did they leave out? Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 15:16

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