The Lord of the Rings series has been branded 'racist' by a science fiction writer who claims orcs are discriminated against and written as inferior.
American author Andy Duncan said British author JRR Tolkien depicted evil creatures such as orcs as 'worse than others' and said this had 'dire consequences for society'.
The criticism comes despite Tolkien being known as a fierce critic of racism, particularly the Nazi Germany regime in the 1930s and 40s.
But Duncan told podcast Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, run by Wired Magazine: 'It's hard to miss the repeated notion in Tolkien that some races are just worse than others, or that some peoples are just worse than others.
'And this seems to me - in the long term, if you embrace this too much - it has dire consequences for yourself and for society.'
In the novels, orcs are ugly, cannibalistic creatures who have a thirst for murder and are used as soldiers by their evil 'dark lord' Sauron.
Duncan has previously written a parody set in Tolkien's Middle-earth universe called Senator Bilbo about a right-wing Hobbit politician opposing the immigration of orcs into The Shire.
Speaking about this story to the podcast, he added: 'I can easily imagine that a lot of these people that were doing the dark lord's bidding were doing so out of simple self preservation and so forth.
'A lot of these creatures that were raised out of the earth had not a great deal of choice in the matter of what to do. I have this very complicated sense of the politics of all that.''
Read more: Science Fiction writer claims the Lord Of The Rings series is 'racist' because it discriminates against orcs
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