Behold the Orc
Here is an interesting, if annoying article: Ecce Orcus! An Argument for Humanizing the Orc. Hidden behind a morass of politically-correct fog, there is there a good point. Orcs shouldn’t be nothing more than evil minions.
In Tolkien, Orcs were perversions of the elves and inherently evil – or at least thoroughly predisposed to violence and badness and therefore easily harnessed by evil. In most fantasy literature that orcs or goblins appear in, they tend to follow Tolkien’s pattern as they do in most other ways even as they fail to give them as much personality as Tolkien did.
You want cool orcs? Larry Corriea’s Monster Hunter International, on Baen Press.
I’ll add that to my frighteningly long list of things to read.
Don’t worry–it is a fun fast read and he has done several quality sequels!
Plus one to this. One of the great things about the world of Monster Hunter International is how Correia turns the “stereotypes” of orcs, elves, etc on their heads.
Tolkien himself was bothered by the idea of a race of beings totally beyond redemption, and had planned to include a halfway decent Orc as a traveling companion of Gimli and Legolas on their journey across Middle earth. sadly, we never got to see it.
Oh, and allow me to second Munster Hunter International. It’s a good series, especially for people who understand gun jargon.
I’ve now read the MHI series, all of them, as well as the three warbound/spellbound books. I was pleasantly surprised, they are all page-turners. The last MHI book has the form of the ripping yarn, but there’s a lot of meaty, thinky stuff hidden behind the gun porn and action scenes.