Tolkien Society at the University of Wisconsin

Welcome to the web page of the Tolkien and Fantasy Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison!

Last modified: June 2, 2017

Who we are | Meeting schedule | How to join | For more information | Constitution | Links and items of interest


Who we are

The Tolkien Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was founded in September 1966. It has been meeting once a month ever since (during the first several years, twice a month), with a very few misses here and there (e.g., there were a couple of years when the group did not meet during the summer, but usually it did). In January, 2001, we changed our name to the Tolkien and Fantasy Society to reflect our broad interests better.

We discuss:

·         The work of Tolkien (fiction, poetry, scholarly work, drawings and illustrations)

·         Critical essays about Tolkien

·         Adaptations of Tolkien's work (movies, plays, radio drama, comics)

·         The work of the Inklings and his other friends (such as C. S. Lewis, W. H. Lewis, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield)

·         Other fantasy and science fiction (e. g., E. R. Eddison, Kenneth Morris, William Morris, T. H. White, Peter S. Beagle, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robin McKinley, Patricia Wrightson, et al.)

·         The literature of the Middle Ages (especially the works that Tolkien himself studied, such as the Old English Beowulf and the Middle English Sir Gawain and the Green Knight)

·         World mythology (Tolkien was particularly interested in Germanic and Celtic myth)

·         Language (invented languages like Quenya and Sindarin as well as primary world languages)

Our journal, ORCRIST, appeared irregularly from 1967 to 1977, then was revived for issue number 9 to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2016. The eight issues that were previously published are now mostly out of print, though copies of numbers 3, 4, and 5 (which were co-published as TOLKIEN JOURNAL numbers 11, 13, and 14 respectively) may still be available from the Mythopoeic Society, for those who are interested. There is a set in the Memorial Library on the UW-Madison campus, as well as in a number of other libraries across the U. S.


Meeting schedule

Summer Semester, 2017

Meetings will be held on Sundays beginning at 7:30 p.m. and concluding between 9:30-10:00 p.m. (CST). The location will be in Union South on the 200 block of N. Randall Avenue. Check "Today in the Union" for the exact room, either on one of the monitors in the building or on the website at http://www.union.wisc.edu

JUNE 18, 2017--STAR WARS: THRAWN

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie in 1977, we will discuss the Star Wars novels of Timothy Zahn. After the film series had settled down after the first three movies, Lucasfilm authorized a series of novels continuing the story to test interest, and discovered it was great from the popularity of Zahn's trilogy of novels Heir to the Empire (1991), Dark Force Rising (1992), and The Last Command (1993), set after Return of the Jedi and introducing brilliant Grand Admiral Thrawn as the primary antogonist for the New Republic to overcome. These were so successful that Zahn continued the story with his Hand of Thrawn duology: Spectre of the Past (1997) and Vision of the Future (1998). He also used the character in prequels Outbound Flight (2005) set before the fall of the Republic and Thrawn (2017) set at the beginning of the Empire. Zahn has also written a number of other Star Wars novels and shorter works (notably using the character of Mara Jade, an agent of the Emperor also introduced in Heir to the Empire and who in time becomes Mrs. Luke Skywalker), but for this discussion we will concentrate on his Thrawn series.

JULY 16, 2017– THE SILMARILLION

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the posthumous publication of Tolkien's Silmarillion, compiled and edited by Christopher Tolkien. It is an appropriate time to discuss the legacy of this work.

AUGUST 13, 2017– F& SF FILMS OF THE SUMMER

Summer is the season for blockbuster movies, and for our annual discussion of those films oriented to fantasy and science fiction. Examples include Alien :Covenant, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, The Mummy, Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Valerian: City of a Thousand Planets, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman and probably others. Come talk about whichever movies you have seen this past summer.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2017– BEREN AND LUTHIEN

Christopher Tolkien has prepared a new edition of this story so central to his father's legendarium, scheduled to be published in June, 2017. We shall discuss this and compare it to earlier versions in The Silmarillion (1977) and the History of Middle-earth series.

Remember also that the annual conference of the Mythopoeic Society will be held relatively close to us in Champaign-Urbana from July 28-31. For details see http://www.mythcon.org

Spring Semester, 2017

 

JANUARY 22, 2017--F&SF FILMS

Discussion of the recent fantasy and science-fiction films, such as Arrival, Fantastic Beasts, Moana, Passengers, Rogue One, any others released by the time of the meeting. Come talk about whichever movies you have seen this past winter.

FEBRUARY 12, 2017– TED CHIANG, STORY OF YOUR LIFE

Discussion of "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, a novella first published in Starlight 2, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor, 1998) and also available in Chiang's collections Stories of Your Life and Others (Tor, 2002) and Arrival (Vintage, 2016). Those who have seen the movie adaptation, Arrival, can also discuss this version. The story is also at this website  https://www.readanybook.com/online/565787.

MARCH 12, 2017– HOBBIT 1ST EDITION

HarperCollins UK has published a facsimile edtion (2016) of the original editon of The Hobbit (1937). Discussion of the first edition and the changes Tolkien subsequently made to it.

APRIL 9, 2017– FANTASY OF TAD WILLIAMS

Discussion of the work of the author guest of honor at this year's Odyssey Con, to be held at the Radisson on AprIl 28-30. For information on the conference see http://www.odysseycon.org. Tad Williams came to prominence with Tailchaser's Song (1985) which might be described as a feline version of Watership Down with a cat mythology and language. He is also the author of the Bobby Dollar urban fantasy series: The Dirty Streets of Heaven (2012), Happy Hour in Hell (2013), and Sleeping Late on Judgement Day (2014); the Shadowmarch series: Shadowmarch (2004), Shadowplay (2007), Shadowrise and Shadowheart (both 2010); and the Otherland series: City of Golden Shadow (1997), River of Blue Fire (1998), Mountain of Black Glass (1999), and Sea of Silver Light ((2001). He is perhaps best known for his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series: The Dragonbone Chair (1988), Stone of Farewell (1990), and To Green Angel Tower (1993). He has recently returned to the fantasy world of that series with The Heart of What Was Lost: A Novel of Osten Ard (January, 2017) and due in April is the beginning a trilogy, The Witchwood Crown: Book One of the Last King of Osten Ard. There is a collection of his shorter work in The Very Best of Tad Williams (2014).

MAY 14, 2017– AMAL EL-MOHTAR AND KELLY SUE CONNICK

Discussion of the work of the author guests of honor at this year's WisCon, to be held at the Concourse on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-29. For information on the conference see http://www.wiscon.info.

 

Fall Semester, 2016

 

SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 (Friday)

Celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of our group in September, 1966. We are holding this on a Friday to make it easier for former members to come in from out of town for the occasion. We will publish a commemorative issue (number 9) of Orcrist, the fanzine-cum-scholarly-journal our group sponsored in the 1960s-1970s. And there will be cake!

OCTOBER 15, 2016 (Sunday)– HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD

Discussion of the script of a play (published in 2016) based on a story by J. K. Rowling, taking up from where the Harry Potter series of novels ended.

NOVEMBER 13, 2016– BEAGLE'S SUMMERLONG

Discussion of Summerlong (2016), the latest fantasy novel by Peter S. Beagle.

DECEMBER 11, 2016– NOVIK'S UPROOTED

Discussion of a standalone novel by Naomi Novik (not part of her Temeraire series). Uprooted (2015) has won a Nebula and also the Mythopoeic Society award for best fantasy novel of 2015..

 

Summer Semester, 2016

 

JUNE 5, 2016– TOLKIEN'S KULLERVO

Discussion of Tolkien's early, unfinished adaptation of a story from the Finnish Kalevala, published as The Story of Kullervo, edited by Verlyn Flieger (HarperCollins, 2015).

JULY 10, 2016– IN MEMORIAM, TERRY PRATCHETT

Discussion of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather (1998) and The Shepherd's Crown (2015). The former was made into a film and we may show some clips. The latter is the fifth in the Tiffany Aching series and the last Discworld novel he completed before his death.

AUGUST 14, 2016– RECENT FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION MOVIES

Discussion of the latest crop of movies with a fantasy or science-fiction background. Possible films to consider include: Alice Through the Looking Glass, Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, Ghostbusters, Jungle Book, Legend of Tarzan, Star Trek Beyond, Superman versus Batman, X-Men: Apocalypse, Zootopia, et al.

 

 

Spring Semester, 2016

 

JANUARY 24, 2016– AUTUMN AND WINTER MOVIES

Discussion of the most recent crop of fantasy and science fiction movies, such as: Goosebumps, The Martian, Mockingjay Part 2, Pan, The Scorch Trials, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, any others released by this date.

FEBRUARY 14, 2016– HOBBIT EXTENDED EDITION

Discussion of the extended edition of The Hobbit Part 3: The Battle of Five Armies.

MARCH 13, 2016– ODYSSEY CON 16

Discussion of the works of the guests of honor at Odyssey Con 16, to be held at the Radisson on April 8-10: Brandon Sanderson, Margaret Weis, and Marjorie Liu. Read something by one or more of the authors and share your impressions. For information on the conference see http://www.odysseycon.org.

APRIL 17, 2016– F&SF TV

Discussion of current television series with a fantasy or science-fiction theme. Examples include Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, The Flash, Gotham, Grimm, I Zombie, Legends of Tomorrow, Once Upon a Time, The 100, The Originals, Sleepy Hllow, Supergirl, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Vikings, The Walking Dead. Not everyone will have seen all of them, but come talk about your favorites (or dislikes!).

MAY 8, 2016– WIS CON 40

Discussion of the works of one or more of the guests of honor at the 40th Wisconsin Science Fiction Con, to be held at the Concourse Hotel over Memorial Day weekend: Justine Larbalestier, Nalo Hopkinson, and Sofia Samatar. Suggested titles will be posted later. For information on the conference see http://www.wiscon.info

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to join

Simply show up to meetings! There are no dues, no requirements, no hazings, no pledges. If you are active in the fantasy and/or science fiction community, feel free to bring items of interest to meetings; we always have a "News and Notes" time in each meeting.

 

 

 


For more information

For more information on the Tolkien and Fantasy Society at the UW-Madison, feel free to send us email at tolkiensocietyuw@gmail.com.


Links and items of interest

Here is a listing of the contents of all published issues of Orcrist, the Society's journal.

And here is a listing of past meeting topics.

Tolkien and Fantasy Society member Dorothea Salo runs a mailing list on the topic of Tolkien's invented languages. To learn more, read the Elfling list's web page.

People interested in Tolkien's languages might also check the website of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship.

Other websites of groups that may be of interest:

Dorothy L. Sayers Society: http://www.sayers.org.uk/

Madison C. S. Lewis Society: http://www.cslewismadison.org

Marquette University Tolkien Papers: http://www.marquette.edu/library/archives/tolkien.shtml

Mythopoeic Society: http://www.mythsoc.org

Netherlands C. S. Lewis website (in English and Dutch): http://www.lewisiana.nl/

Rivendell Group of the Mythopoeic Society (Twin Cities smial): http://www.tc.umn.edu/~d-lena/RIVENDELL.html

Tolkien Society (based in England): http://www.tolkiensociety.org

Wade Center: http://www.wheaton.edu/wadecenter/


Return to top of page.

 

 


 

How to join

Simply show up to meetings! There are no dues, no requirements, no hazings, no pledges. If you are active in the fantasy and/or science fiction community, feel free to bring items of interest to meetings; we always have a "News and Notes" time in each meeting.

 

 

 


For more information

For more information on the Tolkien and Fantasy Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, feel free to send us email at tolkiensocietyuw@gmail.com



Return to top of page.