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Past meeting schedules



Spring Semester, 2013

Meetings will be held on Sundays (usually but not always the second Sunday of the month) 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

JANUARY 20–R. A. LAFFERTY

Discussion of R. A. Lafferty’s science fiction short stories. Note: because this meeting is being held during semester break and Union South will close at 8:00 p.m, we will have the meeting from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

 

FEBRUARY 10– HOBBIT MOVIE

Discussion of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) directed by Peter Jackson, the first in a planned trilogy of films suggested by Tolkien’s book.

 

MARCH 10– KEVIN HEARNE

Discussion of the work of one of the guests of honor at Odyssey Con 13, to be held the weekend of April 12-14 in the Radisson Inn, Madison, WI (see http://www.odyssey.con.org). Kevin Hearne is the author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, an urban fantasy series about Atticus O'Sullivan, a centuries-old (but young-appearing) druid now based in Tempe, Arizona. The five novels in the series to date are Hounded, Hexed, Hammered, (all 2011), Tricked (2012), and Trapped (2012).

 

APRIL 7– ALEX BLEDSOE

Discussion of the work of another guest of honor at Odyssey Con 13, to be held the weekend of April 12-14 in the Radisson Inn, Madison, WI. See http://www.odysseycon.org. Alex Bledsoe is the author of Blood Groove (2009), The Girls with Games of Blood (2010), The Hum and the Shiver (2011), and is perhaps best-known for the Eddie LaCrosse series about a private investigator in a supernatural world who carries a sword instead of a firearm: The Sword-Edged Blonde (2009), Burn Me Deadly (2009), Dark Jenny (2011), and Wake of the Bloody Angel (2012).

 

MAY 19– JOAN SLONCZEWSKI AND JO WALTON

Discussion of the work of the guests of honor at WisCon 13, to be held Memorial Day weekend, May 24-27 in the Concourse Hotel, Madison, WI. We will focus on their most recent novels, Joan Slonczewski's The Highest Frontier (2011) and Jo Walton's Hugo-winning Among Others (2012). For information on the conference, see http://www.wiscon.info.  

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Future Events

February 21—Round table discussion of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at 4:30 p.m. in Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University, Milwaukee.

 

March 1-3—Hobbit Conference, Valparaiso University, Indiana. See http://conference.valpo.edu/tolkien.

 

July 12-15---44th annual Mythopoeic Conference, Michigan State University. See http://www.mythcon.org.

 

Fall Semester, 2012

 

SEPTEMBER 23–TOLKIEN'S HOBBIT

Discussion of The Hobbit (1938) on the 75th anniversary of its publication.

 

OCTOBER 21– A WRINKLE IN TIME

Discussion of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (1962) on the 50th anniversary of its publication.

 

NOVEMBER 11– ON STRANGER TIDES

Discussion of Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides (1988) and its movie adaptation (loose) as Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides (2011).

 

DECEMBER 9– A STORM OF SWORDS

Discussion of the third book in George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series, A Storm of Swords (2000). Also, there will be the traditional cake to fortify us for final exams.

 

 

Conferences in Madison this fall:

Geek Kon, September 7-9, Marriott West. See http://geekkon.org/

C. S. Lewis Conference, October 18-20, Pyle Center, UW-Madison. See http://www.cslewismadison.org/

 

 

Summer Semester, 2012

 

 

 

JUNE 10– A CLASH OF KINGS

We continue our discussion George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire by taking up the second novel in the series,A Clash of Kings (1998).

JULY 22 – DEFEAT VS. PRESERVATION IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Kristin Thompson will read a section from her work in progress on Tolkien's narrative, focusing on the theme of defeat versus preservation in The Lord of the Rings.

AUGUST 12 – SUMMER MOVIES

Discussion of recent fantasy and science fiction movies, e.g, Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, Total Recall, and any other relevant films that people wish to brinig up.

Spring Semester, 2012

 

 

FEBRUARY 12, postponed from January 8 – TINTIN

Discussion of Tintin (December, 2011), the movie from Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, and of the graphic albums by Herge (pseudonym of Georges Remy) on which the film is based: The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham's Treasure. Other recommended Tintin albums include: The Blue Lotus, The Red Sea Sharks, The Castafiore Emerald, Destination Moon and its sequel Explorers on the Moon, The Seven Crystal Balls and its sequel Prisoners of the Sun (about the Incas), and Tintin in Tibet. These are all available in the Madison Public Library System.

FEBRUARY 16 (Thursday), repeated from last September– TOLKIEN DOCUMENTARY

Discussion of JRRT: A Film Portrait of J. R. R. Tolkien, a 1992 BBC documentary narrated by Judi Dench, including footage of Tolkien and interviews with family members (Fr. John Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, and Priscilla Tolkien) and with scholars (Verlyn Flieger, Tom Shippey). This special showing is for new members and for people who were unable to attend last semester.

MARCH 11–TOLKIEN'S SOURCES

Discussion of Tolkien and the Study of His Sources, ed. Jason Fisher (2011) and of Mark T. Hooker's collections of his short articles on words and terms in Tolkien's writings, A Tolkienian Mathomium (2006) and The Hobbitonian Anthology (2009).

APRIL 15– LARRY NIVEN AND STEVEN BARNES

Discussion of the work of the author guests of honor at Odyssey Con 12 (to be held April 20-21). Each has published quite a lot individually, but we thought we might focus on their collaborations, such as: Dream Park (1981), The Barsoom Project (1989), Achilles' Choice (1991), The California Voodoo Game (1992), Saturn's Race (2000), and The Moon Maze Game (2011). For information on Odyssey Con see http://odysseycon.org.

 

MAY 20 (notice this is the 3rd Sunday) – ANDREA HAIRSTON AND DEBBIE NOTKIN

Discussion of the work of the guests of honor at WisCon 36 (to be held May 25-28). Andrea Hairston is a dramataist and essayist who has also published two novels: Mindscape (2006) and Redwood and Wildfire (2011). Debbie Notkin is an editor and essayist . We will take up 80! Memories and Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin (2010), which she edited. For information on WisCon see http://www.wiscon.info.

 

Fall Semester, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 11, repeated SEPTEMBER 18 – TOLKIEN DOCUMENTARY

Discussion of JRRT: A Film Portrait of J. R. R. Tolkien, a 1992 BBC documentary narrated by Judi Dench, including footage of Tolkien and interviews with family members (Fr. John Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, and Priscilla Tolkien) and with scholars (Verlyn Flieger, Tom Shippey).

 

OCTOBER 16– INKHEART

Discussion of Cornelia Funke's novel Inkheart (2003) along with its film adaptation (2008) starring Brendan Fraser and Helen Mirren.

NOVEMBER 13– PICTURING TOLKIEN

Discussion of Picturing Tolkien: Essays on Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy, edited by Janice M. Bogstad and Philip E. Kaveny (McFarland, 2011).

 

DECEMBER 11– A GAME OF THRONES

Discussion of A Game of Thrones (1996) by George R. R. Martin and of the television miniseries (2011) based on this novel. This is the beginning of the Song of Ice and Fire series. One long novel should be enough to cover in one meeting, but for those who wish to read further the series continues with: A Clash of Kings (1998), A Storm of Swords (2000), A Feast for Crows (2005), and A Dance with Dragons (2011), with two more novels planned (working titles are The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring).

 

JANUARY 8, 2012– TINTIN -- postponed to February 12

Discussion of Tintin (December, 2011), the movie by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, and of the graphic albums by Herge (pseudonym of Georges Remy) on which the film is based: The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham's Treasure.

 

Summer Semester, 2011

 

 

 

JULY 10, 2011 – PRATCHETT'S TIFFANY ACHING

The North American Discworld Convention will be held from July 8-11 in the Concourse Hotel in Madison; see http://www.nadwcon.org. While our meeting will not be part of that convention, it seems an appropriate time to discuss Sir Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching subseries within the Discworld novels. The most recent of these is I Shall Wear Midnight (2010), a nominee for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature (the winner will be announced at this year's Mythcon in Albuquerque the following weekend, July 15-18; see http://www/mythsoc.org.) The three earlier Tifany Aching novels are The Wee Free Men (2003), A Hat Full of Sky, (2004), and Wintersmith (2006).

AUGUST 14– SUMMER MOVIES

Discussion of recent fantasy movies, such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two (opening in July), Thor, Green Lantern, Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, X-Men: First Class, Captain America, the theatrical release of the extended editions of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, et al.

 

 

Spring Semester, 2011

 

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 vary.

 

 

JANUARY 9, 2011 – FANTASY FILMS

Discussion of recent fantasy movies, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One (opening November 19) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (opening December 10, 2010). Meeting held in Studio A, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street.

FEBRUARY 13– ARTHUR C. CLARKE

This meeting will be held in room 301 Wendt Commons Library, 215 N. Randall Avenue. Discussion of the science fiction of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, e.g., Childhood's End, 2001: A Space Odyssey, et al.

 

MARCH 13– TOLKIEN'S ROCKING-HORSE GAIT

This meeting will be held in Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street, Studio A. Kristin Thompson, who is writing a book on Tolkien's narrative, will give a presentation on "The 'Rocking-Horse Gait' of Danger and Rescue in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings."

 

 

APRIL 17– SARAH MONETTE AND J. V. JONES

The new Union South is having its grand opening this weekend but will not yet be available to student groups, so we will meet next door in Wendt Commons Library, room 301, 215 N. Randall Avenue. Discussion of the work of the author guests of honor at Odyssey Con. Sarah Monette is best-known for the Doctrine of Labyrinths series comprising Melusine (2005), The Virtu (2006), The Mirador (2007) and Corambis (2009), and for her collaborations with Elizabeth Bear, such as A Companion to Wolves (2007). Julie Victoria Jones is the author of several fantasy novels such as the Sword of Shadows series, including A Cavern of Black Ice (1999), A Fortress of Grey Ice (2003), A Sword from Red Ice (2007), and Watcher of the Dead (2010). Odyssey Con will be held in the Radisson Inn on the weekend of April 8-10; see the website at http://www.oddcon.com.

 

MAY 15– NISI SHAWL AND ELIZABETH MOON

To be held in the Governance Room in the new Union South, second floor. Discussion of the work of Nisi Shawl, author guest of honor at WisCon, and Elizabeth Moon, who was to have been co-guest of honor. Shawl won the 2008 Tiptree Award for her story collection, Filter House. Moon is a prolific author, perhaps best known for her Paksenarrion series. WisCon will be held at the Concourse Hotel over Labor Day weekend, May 27-30; see the website at http://www.wiscon.edu.

 

MAY 21--EIGHT REASONS YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT C. S. LEWIS

 

Sponsored by the Madison C. S. Lewis Society. Prof. Wayne Martindale (Wheaton College) will talk on C. S. Lewis beginning at 10:00 a.m. at The Crossing, 1127 University Avenue (corner of University and Charter).

 

JUNE 15– SHANOWER'S TROY

To be held in the new Union South. Check "Today in the Union" for the exact room. Discussion of Eric Shanower's ongoing "Age of Bronze" comic books retelling the entire story of the siege of Troy. The first 26 issues have been collected in three graphic albums: A Thousand Ships (2001), Sacrifice (2004), and Betrayal, Part One (2007).

 

 

 


Meeting schedule

 

Fall Semester, 2010

 

Meetings will be held on Sundays beginning at 7:30 p.m. and concluding between

9:30-10:00 p.m. (CST). The September through December meetings will be held in room 301 Wendt Commons Library, 215 N. Randall Ave. The January meeting will be held in Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street; check "Today in the Union" for the exact room, either on the board or their website, http://www.union.wisc.edu.

 

 

SEPTEMBER 12– TOLKIEN COMPANION

This meeting will be held in room 301 Wendt Library, 215 N. Randall Avenue. Discussion of J. R. R. Tolkien Companion & Guide by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006).

 

OCTOBER 17– THREE ON TOLKIEN

Discussion of recent scholarship on Tolkien. Everybody try to read at least one of the following three books and share impressions:

--Diana Pavlac Glyer, The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community (2007), winner of the 2008 Mythopoeic Society Award for Scholarship;

-- Douglas Charles Kane, Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion (2009);

--Steve Walker, The Power of Tolkien's Prose: Middle-earth's Magical Style (2009)

 

 

NOVEMBER 14– THE SECRET HISTORY OF FANTASY

Discussion of the recent collection The Secret History of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon, 2010). This is available in paperback, and there are three copies in the Madison public library system.

 

DECEMBER 19– THE MARVELLOUS LAND OF SNERGS

Re-scheduled from December 12 because a bad winter storm forced us to cancel that day. Discussion of E. A. Wyke-Smith, The Marvellous Land of Snergs (1927). This book was a favorite of Tolkien's children and an influence on his writing The Hobbit. It is available in a paperback reprint. The December meeting is also a party at which we have cake.

 

Summer Semester, 2010 

 

JUNE 20– EUROPEAN COMICS

David Bordwell will talk on the European clear-line style of comic art.

JULY 11– WILLIAM TENN

Discussion of the satiric science fiction of William Tenn (pseudonym of Philip Klass). He wrote mostly short stories, collected in a number of books such as Of All Possible Worlds (1955), The Human Angle (1956), The Wooden Star (1968), and The Square Root of Man (1968). His one novel is Of Men and Monsters (1968). NESFA Press published The Complete Science Fiction of William Tenn in two volumes in 2001 (v. 1: Immodest Proposals; v. 2: Here Comes Civilization), with afterwords by the author.

 

AUGUST 8– SUMMER MOVIES

Discussion of recent films that have a fantasy or science fiction or medieval aspect, such as Iron Man 2, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Robin Hood, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and others.

Spring Semester, 2010

 

Meetings will be held on Sundays beginning at 7:30 p.m. and concluding between

9:30-10:00 p.m. (CST). Unless otherwise indicated, meetings will be held in room 301 of the Kurt F. Wendt Library, 215 North Randall

Avenue, on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Union South has been closed for rebuilding (expected to open in 2011).

 

 

JANUARY 3– SF ON TV

This meeting held in the Humanities Building. Discussion of favorite current television series that have a fantasy or science fiction component. We also showed the first half hour of the adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather.

FEBRUARY 7– BAGME BLOMA: TOLKIEN'S GOTHIC POEM

Luke Annear will present a paper on "Star Spangled Grammar in Tolkien's 'Bagme Bloma' " a poem written in Gothic by Tolkien for Songs for the Philologists (privately published in 1937).

 

MARCH 14– FILM ADAPTATION OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Kristin Thompson will present a paper on "Gollum Talks to Himself: Problems and Solutions in the Film Adaptation ofThe Lord of the Rings" on how Tolkien's text was adapted for the movie version by Peter Jackson and his collaborators.

 

APRIL 11– WisCon AUTHORS

Discussion of the works of the author guests of honor at Wiscon 34 in May. Mary Anne Mohanraj's books, which make use of her Sri Lankan heritage, include Silence and the Word (2004; short stories), Bodies in Motion (2005; short stories), and The Poet's Journey (illustrated by Kat Beyer). Nnedi Okorafor's books make use of her Nigerian heritage and include Zahrah the Windseeker (2005; nominated for a number of awards including the Locus Award for Best First Novel) and The Shadow Speaker (2007; set in Niger in 2070).

 

 

MAY 9– HARRY POTTER

A number of our members have participated on panels on J. K. Rowling's books at various conventions, but we have not heretofore discussed her work at our own group's meetings. We shall repair that lack with a discussion of the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997), re-titled Sorcerer's Stone for the U.S. edition (1998), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998 in the UK, 1999 in the U.S.), HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999 in both the UK and U.S., and publication was simultaneous hereafter), HP and the Goblet of Fire (2000), HP and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), HP and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007).

Fall Semester, 2009

 SEPTEMBER 13– TOLKIEN'S CHILDREN OF HURIN

To help our discussion of this posthumously published (2007) romance, Richard West will read his paper on "Lack of Counsel Not of Courage: J. R. R. Tolkien's Critique of the Heroic Ethos in The Children of Hurin". This meeting will be held in room 301 of the Kurt F. Wendt Library, 215 North Randall Avenue.

OCTOBER 11– SIGURD AND GUDRUN

Tolkien's Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun (2009) contains poems of power and passion (as Paul Thomas aptly describes them) written in modern English but using a traditional Old Norse verse form. They are best appreciated when read aloud, so we shall do that, taking turns to read (as medieval Icelanders did reading sagas on long winter nights), interspersing commentary and answering questions as we go along. Thus it will not be necessary that everyone have read this recent publication (only available in hardcover) before coming. However, there are 2 copies in the Madison campus libraries, 3 others elsewhere in the UW System libraries, and 11 more in the Madison Public Library system, so one has a good chance of borrowing the book. It would be helpful (though not essential) to have a general idea of the story of Sigurd (aka Siegfried) the dragon-slayer and the treasure of the Volsungs (or Nibelungs). This meeting will be held in room 301 of the Kurt F. Wendt Library, 215 North Randall Avenue.

 

NOVEMBER 15– CEMETARY FANTASY

Discussion of the use of ghosts and the graveyard setting in Peter S. Beagle's A Fine and Private Place (1960), Terry Pratchett's Johnny and the Dead (1993), and Neil Gaiman's Newbery-award winner The Graveyard Book (2008). This meeting will be held in room 301 of the Kurt F. Wendt Library, 215 North Randall Avenue.

 

DECEMBER 13– TOLKIEN ON FAIRY STORIES

Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" is available in many places, such as Tree and Leaf (Houghton Mifflin, 1965) and The Tolkien Reader (Ballantine, 1966). Verlyn Flieger and Douglas A. Anderson have edited Tolkien's longer and variant texts (Harper Collins, 2008) and we shall discuss what this adds to our understanding of this classic essay. This new edition has only a British hardcover publisher so far. It is available via amazon.co.uk or bookdepository.co.uk (the latter offers free postage including to the U.S.). If you can't find or can't afford a copy of the new book, read or re-read the essay in one of its earlier appearances. This meeting will be held in room 301 of the Kurt F. Wendt Library, 215 North Randall Avenue. It is traditional to have cake at our December meeting to celebrate the end of the semester and fortify us for final exams.

 

 

Summer Semester, 2009

  

JUNE 28 – EDGAR ALLAN POE

The second centenary of Edgar Allan Poe (January 18, 1809-October 7, 1849) provides a good opportunity to discuss his work. Poe's stories and poems are widely available in many editions, and naturally there have been a number of hommages published this year (e.g., In the Shadow of the Master, ed. Michael Connolly, which reprints several of Poe's classic stories with commentaries by modern authors).

 

JULY 12– LE GUIN'S LAVINIA AND VERGIL'S AENEID

Discussion of Ursula K. Le Guin's novel Lavinia (2008) and its source, Vergil's Aeneid (available in numerous translations).

 

AUGUST 9– SUMMER MOVIES

Many summer movies are science fiction or fantasy, we all see one or more of them, and it has become a tradition to devote one meeting to discussing them. Possibilites this time include the new beginning of Star Trek directed by J. J. Abrams, Wolverine, Transformers 2, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, perhaps some films released earlier this year such as Inkheart, and probably others that people will bring up.

 

Spring Semester, 2009

 

FEBRUARY 8 – WATCHMEN

Discussion of the graphic novel, Watchmen (1987) by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

 

MARCH 8 – EMMA BULL AND TOBIAS BUCKELL

Discussion of the two author guests of honor at Odyssey Con (to be held April 24-26 in Madison). Emma Bull's novels include War for the Oaks (1987), Falcon (1989), Bone Dance (1991) and Territory (2007). She is also one of the creators of the shared fantasy world of Liavek. Tobias Buckell's novels include Crystal Rain (2006), Ragamuffin (2007), and Sly Mongoose (2008).

 

APRIL 19– TOLKIEN AND HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS

Discussion of the languages Tolkien loved and studied (Old and Middle English, Old Norse, Gothic, Welsh, Finnish) and their relation to his work.

 

 

MAY 17– ELLEN KLAGES AND GEOFF RYMAN

This meeting will be held in Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street. Discussion of the author guests of honor at WisCon (to be held May 22-25 in Madison). Ellen Klages' novels include The Green Glass Sea (2006) and White Sands, Red Menace (2008). Geoff Ryman's novels include Was (1992), Air (2003), Lust or No Harm Done (2003), and The King's Last Song (2008).

 

Fall Semester, 2008

 

 

SEPTEMBER 14– CELTIC AND NORSE IN TOLKIEN

Discussion of J. R. R. Tolkien's use of Celtic and Norse elements in his fiction. Focus on the critical study by Marjorie Burns, Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien's Middle-earth(2005).

 

OCTOBER 12– PHILIP PULLMAN

We will show selections from one or more DVD documentaries on fantasy author Phillip Pullman. Discussion of Once Upon a Time in the North (2008), his prequel to the "His Dark Materials" trilogy.

 

NOVEMBER 9– TALES BEFORE NARNIA

Discussion of an anthology of stories relating to C. S. Lewis, Tales Before Narnia (2008), edited by Douglas A. Anderson.

 

 

DECEMBER 14– MELIES [Postponed to January 4, 2009 due to icy weather]

We will show selections from a DVD of movies by pioneering French filmmaker Georges Melies (1861-1938). You may wish to read Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007), an illustrated novel in which Melies is a major character.

 

 

Summer Semester, 2008

 

 

JULY 13– H. P. LOVECRAFT

Discussion of the work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) in our ongoing series on "Older Authors." Focus on At the Mountains of Madness and "Rats in the Walls."

 

AUGUST 10—RECENT FANTASY FILMS


Discussion of movies released recently that have a fantasy content. Each summer brings a goodly crop, and usually everyone has seen at least one or two of them. Possibilities include:

Iron Man (May 2 opening)

Prince Caspian (May 16 opening)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22 opening)

Kung Fu Panda (animated) (June 6 opening)

The Incredible Hulk (June 13 opening)

Wall-E (animated) (June 27 opening)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (3-D) (July 11 opening)

Batman: The Dark Knight (July 18 opening)

Space Chimps (animated) (July 18 opening)

X-Files 2 (July 25 opening)

The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Aug. 1 opening)

 

Spring Semester, 2008

 

 

JANUARY 13– THE GOLDEN COMPASS

Discussion of the movie version (New Line, December, 2007) of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass.

 

FEBRUARY 10—BOTANY & OTHER SCIENCES OF MIDDLE-EARTH


Discussion of Dinah Hazell, The Plants of Middle-earth: Botany and Sub-creation (2006) and Henry Gee, The Science of Middle-earth (2004).

 

MARCH 16– MARTIN AND BAKER

George R. R. Martin and Kage Baker will be the author guests of honor at Odyssey Con (to be held at the Radisson Inn in Madison from April 4-6). Perhaps read one of the very long novels in Martin's very long series he calls the Song of Ice and Fire, beginning with A Game of Thrones (1996), or, for a shorter entry in that series, his novella "The Hedge Knight" published in the anthology Legends (1998) edited by Robert Silverberg. Martin also has many other novels and short story collections. Baker is the author of the Company series, beginning with In the Garden of Iden (1997). Many of her short stories are collected in Black Projects, White Knights (2002).

APRIL 20– TIME TRAVEL

Discussion of The Time Machine (1895) by H. G. Wells (1866-1946) and the subgenre of science fiction it pretty much started.

 

MAY 18– DUCHAMP AND McHUGH

L. Timmel Duchamp and Maureen F. McHugh will be the author guests of honor at WisCon (to be held at the Concourse Hotel in Madison over the Memorial Day weekend). Read something by each, e.g., Duchamp's Renegade (2006) or McHugh's Nekropolis (2001).

 

JUNE 8– MAKING OF TOLKIEN'S MYTHOLOGY

Discussion of Verlyn Flieger, Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien's Mythology (Kent State University Press, 2005).

Fall Semester, 2007

 

SEPTEMBER 16 – CHILDREN OF HÚRIN

Discussion of J. R. R. Tolkien’s latest posthumous (2007) novel, put together by Christopher Tolkien from the extant versions (see especially Unfinished Tales, Lays of Beleriand, and The Silmarillion) into one continuous narrative. This is not yet available in paperback but numerous book clubs have selected it. There is also an audio version forthcoming, read by Christopher Lee.

OCTOBER 14—THE LOST WORLD


Discussion of The Lost World (1912) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) and its long and lasting legacy in popular culture, from Edgar Wallace's King Kong to James Gurney's Dinotopia. There have been numerous movie adaptations, with the role of Prof. Challenger being played by such acting luminaries as Wallace Beery (1925), Claude Rains (1960), Bob Hoskins (1991), and John Rhys-Davies (1992). A television series loosely based on the novel lasted for three seasons and 66 episodes from 1999-2002. Leonard Nimoy directed an audio version in 1997 for Simon and Schuster's Alien Voices series of audiocassettes. Greg Bear wrote a sequel, Dinosaur Summer (1998). Oskar Lebeck and Gaylord DuBois borrowed heavily from the novel for The Hurricane Kids on the Lost Islands (1941), and Doyle's work was also the basis for the long-running Turok Son of Stone comic book (mostly written by DuBois and Paul S. Newman). There are many other examples, so come with some of your own.

 

NOVEMBER 18– WILLIAM MORRIS

British author William Morris (1834-1896) was notable for a great many things (political and social commentary, crafts such as the Morris chair, printing his own illuminated books, etc.). He was very influential on the Inklings, especially for his interest in the Middle Ages: e.g., his Kelmscott Press editions of Beowulf and Chaucer, his translations from Old Norse such as Volsunga Saga, poems such as "The Defence of Guenevere," and the romances he wrote late in his career, of which House of the Wolfings (1888) and Roots of the Mountains (1893) are particularly important for Tolkienists. C. S. Lewis specially admired Wood Beyond the World (1895), Well at the World's End (1896), and Water of the Wondrous Isles (1897). Many works by Morris were reprinted in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, and by publishers of classic fantasy such as Newcastle and Borgo Press. Some are available online via Project Gutenberg or NetLibrary.

DECEMBER 9– THE HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT

Discussion of The History of The Hobbit (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), a two-volume edition and study by John Rateliff of the early manuscripts and development of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

 

 

Summer Semester, 2007

JULY 22—PETER S. BEAGLE


Discussion of Peter Beagle’s most recent collection, The Line Between (2006), which contains eleven stories, including Two Hearts (a sequel to The Last Unicorn which won the Nebula for best novelette of 2006) and Quarry (a prequel to The Innkeeper’s Song).  

 

AUGUST 19 – SUMMER FANTASY FILMS

Possibilities include Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End, Ratatouille, Shrek 3, and Spider-Man 3, and perhaps others. Everybody see one or two and come prepared to share impressions.  

 

Spring Semester, 2007

JANUARY 14—RECENT FANTASY FILMS


Discussion of recent movies with a science-fictional or fantasy element, such as Charlotte’s Web, Children of Men, Eragon, Happy Feet, The Prestige, The Librarian II: Return to King Solomon’s Mines.


FEBRUARY 4 – LORD OF THE RINGS: A READER’S COMPANION

Discussion of the study by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), which recently won the Mythopoeic Society award for best work of scholarship published in 2005. Do not confuse this with J. R. R. Tolkien: Companion and Guide by the same authors, which was also published by Houghton Mifflin late in 2006, as that is a more general study (and a topic for another meeting). The earlier book we’ll be discussing focuses on The Lord of the Rings, and annotates it extensively.

MARCH 11 – JACK McDEVITT

Discussion of the science fiction of Jack McDevitt, who will be one of the guests of honor at Odyssey Con (April 13-15 in Madison). Read one of the novels by this prolific author and come prepared to share your impressions.


APRIL 15 -- SAKI

Discussion of the fantasy stories of Saki (pseudonym of H. H. Munro, 1870-1916). Examples include “Sredni Vashtar” and “Tobermory”.


MAY 6 – KELLY LINK

Discussion of Magic for Beginners (2005) by Kelly Link, who will be one of the guests of honor at WisCon (Memorial Day weekend in Madison).


JUNE 10 – SNERGS

Discussion of The Marvellous Land of Snergs (1928, but reprinted a number of times, most recently by Dover), by E. A. Wyke-Smith. This was a favorite book of Tolkien’s children and influenced The Hobbit.



 

Fall Semester, 2006

 

SEPTEMBER 17—40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION


The Tolkien Society at the University of Wisconsin had its first meeting in September, 1966 and has been going strong ever since. We’ll share memories and memorabilia from our forty years. We’ll have chocolate cake with butter cream frosting! Come help us celebrate!

OCTOBER 1 – BEOWULF AND TOLKIEN

In August the University of Wisconsin Press published Beowulf: The Complete Story: A Drama, with Richard Ringler (Emeritus Professor of the UW Departments of English and Scandinavian Studies) narrating his translation, and actors from American Players Theatre and Wisconsin Public Radio performing various roles. This is a set of three CDs, too long to play at one meeting; we will listen to the Grendel section. For background, read Tolkien’s seminal essay, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”, which is widely available in collections of Beowulf criticism and in Christopher Tolkien’s edition of his father’s scholarly work, The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays (1983). Michael D. C. Drout’s Beowulf and the Critics (2002) is an edition and study of Tolkien’s drafts of his essay.  Many critics have written about the influence of Beowulf on Tolkien’s fiction, notably Bonniejean Christensen and T. A. Shippey.

NOVEMBER 12 – TURTLEDOVE’S CIVIL WAR

Discussion of Harry Turtledove’s Sentry Peak (2000), Marching Through Peachtree (2001) and Advance and Retreat (2002), set in a fantasy world based on the American Civil War (the northern provinces in the kingdom of Detina secede rather than free their blond serfs).

DECEMBER 10 – THE DRESDEN FILES

Richard West will introduce and lead a discussion of Jim Butcher’s ongoing series about hard-boiled private eye and wizard, Harry Dresden: Storm Front (2000), Fool Moon (2001), Grave Peril (2001), Summer Knight (2002), Death Masks (2003), Blood Rites (2004), Dead Beat (2005), and Proven Guilty (2006). Butcher cites Tolkien and C. S. Lewis as two major influences. See the author's website at http://www.jim-butcher.com.


Summer Semester, 2006

 

JUNE 4 – JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL


Discussion of Susanna Clarke’s novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2005) (about two English magicians in the time of Napoleon).

 

JULY 16 – JOHN HOWE

 

We will show a documentary on John Howe: Lord of the Brush (2005), and discuss his work and that of other illustrators of Tolkien. The documentary was written by Werner Aellen and directed by Gretchen Jordan-Bastow; it is available on DVD.


AUGUST 13 –SUMMER MOVIES

 

Have you seen Superman Returns? X-Men 3: The Last Stand? Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest? Over the Hedge? Others? Come discuss the fantasy and science-fiction films of summer, 2006.

 

Spring Semester, 2006

JANUARY 8 – THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

Discussion of the movie released in December, 2005.



FEBRUARY 12 – THE LORD OF THE RINGS AND THE FILM INDUSTRY

Kristin Thompson will talk on the influence of the Peter Jackson movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings on the international film industry, part of her forthcoming book on Frodo, Fantasy, and Franchises: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood (University of California Press).

 

MARCH 12 – JANE LINDSKOLD

Read one of her novels and come share your impressions, prior to her being one of the guests of honor at Odyssey Con VI.

 

Firekeeper series: Through Wolf’s Eyes (2001), Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart (2002), The Dragon of Despair (2003), Wolf Captured (2004), with Wolf Hunting due out in April, 2006

 

Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls (1994)

 

Marks of our Brothers (1995)

 

The Pipes of Orpheus (1995)

 

When the Gods Are Silent (1997)

 

Donnerjack (1997) (in collaboration with Roger Zelazny)

 

Changer (1998)

 

Legends Walking (1999)

 

Lord Demon (1999) (in collaboration with Roger Zelazny)

 

The Buried Pyramid (2004)

 

Child of a Rainless Year (2005)

 


APRIL 9 – ANANSI BOYS


Discussion of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys (2005).

 

 

MAY 14 – KATE WILHELM


Wilhelm will be one of the guests of honor at WisCon. Read one of her science fiction or mystery novels, or some of her many short stories. She won a Hugo for Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1977) (about cloning).

 

Fall Semester, 2005

 

SEPTEMBER 11 – THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE MAKING OF THE MOVIES

Note this was earlier scheduled for Sept. 18 but has been moved a week ahead.


Kristin Thompson will present part of her forthcoming book on
Frodo, Fantasy, and Franchises: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood (University of California Press).


Kristin will also be doing a presentation on videogames based on
The Lord of the Rings movies for the Department of Communication Arts on Thursday, September 22, at 4:00 p.m. in 4070 Vilas Hall.

 

OCTOBER 9 --GEORGE MacDONALD

Focus on The Golden Key.

 

NOVEMBER 13 -- CHARLES WILLIAMS

Focus on The Place of the Lion.



DECEMBER 11 -- TOLKIEN AND RELIGION


There have been a number of books, especially during the last few years,

on religious resonances in Tolkien's work. Examples include:


Arthur, Sarah. Walking With Frodo: A Devotional Journey Through The Lord

of the Rings (2003)


Birzer, Bradley J. J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth (2002)


Bruner, Kurt D. and Jim Ware. Finding God in The Lord of the Rings

(2002)


Dalton, Russell W.
Faith Journey through Fantasy Lands: A Christian

Dialogue with Harry Potter, Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings (2003)


Garbowski, Christopher. Recovery and Transcendence for the Contemporary

Mythmaker: The Spiritual Dimension in the Work of J. R. R. Tolkien (1st

ed., 2000; 2nd ed., 2004)


Loy, David L. and Linda Goodhew. The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons:

Buddhist Themes in Modern Fantasy (2004)


Wood, Ralph C. The Gospel According to Tolkien (2003)


And some earlier titles include:


Begg, Ean C. M. The Lord of the Rings and the Signs of the Times (1975)


Dickerson, Matthew. Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in

The Lord of the Rings (1993)


Purtill, Richard L. J. R. R. Tolkien: Myth, Morality, and Religion (1984)


Urang, Gunnar. Shadows of Heaven: Religion and Fantasy in the Writing of

C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and J. R. R. Tolkien (1971)

 

Also, out-of-town member Matthew Fisher has given permission to read his paper on “Working at the Crossroads: Tolkien, St. Augustine, and the Beowulf Poet” originally given at the Marquette conference last fall.

 

Summer Semester, 2005

JUNE 19 – RAY BRADBURY

            Discussion of the work of Ray Bradbury with focus on his recent novel, From the Dust Returned: A Family Remembrance (William Morrow, 2001).  The stories range over most of his career from the 1940’s to the present, and show his typical method of gathering a number of shorter pieces to form a novel. The “family” is a fictional one, the Elliots. The dust jacket was illustrated by his friend, Charles Addams.

JULY 17 – FOUNDATION “TRILOGY”

            Discussion of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953). These three books constitute what was long known as “the Foundation trilogy” and won a special Hugo Award in 1966 for best all-time science fiction series.  Asimov later (1982-1993) continued the series, and other authors have added to it subsequently, but we will focus on the early books. (The term “trilogy” is as much a misnomer here as it is for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, however. All three books are collections of earlier stories published between 1942 and 1949. There were eight stories: four in the first volume, two in the second, two in the third.  The titles were all changed between their magazine and book appearance. Part 1 of the first volume was written as a prelude to the book edition and is the only part not previously published.)

AUGUST 14 – SUMMER MOVIES

            Discussion of fantasy movies due for release over the course of summer, 2005: e.g., Batman Begins, Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Fantastic Four, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, George Lucas’s Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith, and Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.

Spring Semester, 2005

FEBRUARY 20 – TOLKIEN’S ILLUSTRATORS

            Discussion of illustrations of the work of J. R. R. Tolkien by the author himself and by numerous other artists.

MARCH 13 – MILES VORKOSIGAN SERIES

            Discussion of the Miles Vorkosigan series of Lois McMaster Bujold, with emphasis on the Hugo Award-winning novella, “The Mountains of Mourning” (in Young Miles).

APRIL 17 – TOLKIEN AND THE GREAT WAR

            Discussion of Tolkien and the Great War (2003), John Garth’s study of Tolkien’s military service during World War I and its influence on his fiction.

MAY 15 – MCKINLEY’S SUNSHINE

            Discussion of Robin McKinley’s vampire novel, Sunshine.

Fall Semester, 2004

SEPTEMBER 19 -- ARWEN, WARRIOR PRINCESS?

            Discussion of the differences between the presentation of Arwen, daughter of Elrond, in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson's movie adaptation.

OCTOBER 24 – THE DOOM OF ARWEN

          Richard C. West will present a paper, "Her Choice Was Made and Her Doom Appointed: Tragedy and Divine Comedy in Tolkien's 'Tale of Aragorn and Arwen.'

NOVEMBER 11 -- BONE

            Discussion of Jeff Smith’s graphic novel , Bone, complete in 55 issues, or 8 volumes (some available in the Madison Public Library  system) or one mega-volume.

DECEMBER 19 – FRENKEL ON SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY

            Noted editor James Frenkel will talk about his career working with numerous authors (e.g., Terry Goodkind, his wife Joan Vinge, et al.), in particular the amazing changes in the way we think of computers since the initial publication in 1981 of  Vernor Vinge’s True Names and its most recent edition from Tor in 2001.

JANUARY 9 – MOVIE WEBSITES

            Kristin Thompson will talk about the numerous websites that focus on Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of

Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

Summer Semester, 2004

JUNE 20 -- ANGEL IN MEMORIAM

            Joss Whedon created a number of well-regarded television series.  Angel  was

unexpectedly cancelled after five seasons (October, 1999 to May, 2004).  Some of our group

who followed this series will lead us in a discussion of Angel, with perhaps some hindsight

on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Whedon's earlier series on which the character of Angel, the

vampire with a conscience, was introduced.  One can still see re-runs of Angel Monday through

Friday on TNT (cable channel 32 in Madison) from 4:00-5:00 p.m., and on the WB network (cable

channel 15) from 700-8:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at midnight and 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. 

Reruns of Buffy can be seen on FX (cable channel 55) Monday through Friday from 6:00-8:00 a.m.

(two episodes back to back), and on WB on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at noon. (All times

CST.)  Many episodes are also available on VHS videocassette and DVD.   

JULY 11 -- LEIGH BRACKETT

              As part of our occasional series on older authors, we shall discuss the work of

Leigh Brackett (1915-1978).  A prolific author, she wrote hard-boiled mysteries as well

as science fiction and fantasy.  Her books are in libraries and used bookstores, and

she's been much anthologized (e.g., Pamela Sargent's Women of Wonder, Gardner Dozois's

The Good Old Stuff).  She also contributed to screenplays (notably The Empire Strikes Back,

The Big Sleep, various Westerns directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne).

There is a bibliography of her work in the Reference section of Memorial Library on campus,

call number PS 374 S35 A7.  Everybody try to read one or two of her books (whatever you can find)

and come share your impressions.

AUGUST 15 -- RETURN TO EARTHSEA

            Ursula K. Le Guin published two more books in her Earthsea series in 2001,

 Tales from Earthsea and The Other Wind .

 

Spring Semester, 2004

JANUARY 11, 2004 -- RETURN OF THE KING

            Discussion of Peter Jackson's movie version of Return of the King  (released in December 2003).

 

FEBRUARY 29, 2004 – THE OSCARS

            Private meeting at a member’s home to watch the telecast of the Academy Awards and root for the Peter Jackson version of

Return of the King, which was nominated in eleven categories (and, in the event, won all of them), including best picture, best screenplay adapted from another medium, and best director.

 

MARCH 28 -- HONOR HARRINGTON

           David Weber will be one of the guests of honor at Odyssey Con (the weekend following this meeting, April 2-4).  Everybody try to read one of the books in Weber’s Honor Harrington series (the character is described as a female Hornblower in space).  The series began with On Basilisk Station (1993) and includes The Honor of the Queen (1993), Field of Dishonor (1994), The Short Victorious War (1994), Flag in Exile (1995), Honor Among Enemies (1996), In Enemy Hands (1997), Echoes of Honor (1998), Ashes of Victory (2000), and War of Honor (2003).  There are also a number of collections of short stories, with contributions by Weber and other authors writing about his fictional world: More Than Honor (1998), Worlds of Honor (1999), Changer of Worlds (2000), and Service of the Sword (2003).         

APRIL 18 -- SONG FOR THE BASILISK 

          Patricia McKillip will be one of the guests of honor at WisCon (Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31). It has been some time since we discussed one of her novels.  Suggested reading: Song for the Basilisk (1998).

 

MAY 16 – LYRA’S OXFORD

           Discussion of Lyra’s Oxford (2003) by Philip Pullman, ancillary to the His Dark Materials trilogy.

 

Fall Semester, 2003

OCTOBER 5 -- ANDRE NORTON

              Focus on her diversity (following an essay in the forthcoming

anthology Dark Matters II which discusses her use of many ethnicities and cultures

throughout her career, from the fifties--when this was not common--up to the

present day).  Major critical studies of Norton include Sandra Miesel's excellent introductions

to the Gregg Press editions of Witch World and Sargasso of Space, Carl Yoke's Roger

Zelazny and Andre Norton: Proponents of Individualism (State Library of Ohio, 1979), and

Andre Norton: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography by Roger Schlobin and Irene R.

Harrison (NESFA Press, 2nd ed., 1994).

 

NOVEMBER  2 -- NEAL STEPHENSON

            Focus on Snow Crash (1992).  His other novels include Zodiac (1988),

Diamond Age (1995), and Cryptonomicon (1999), while with the just-released

Quicksilver (2003) he is beginning a massive new series. 

 

DECEMBER 7 -- TALES BEFORE TOLKIEN

            Discussion of the stories in Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy,

 ed. Douglas A. Anderson.  This collection has just been published in trade paperback by

Ballantine Books.

 

Summer, 2003

July 13 – Favorite Fantasies

            People recommended these books from among those they have read recently:

 

            Michael Chabon, ed. McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales (Vintage Books, 2003)

 

            Jasper Fforde, Lost in a Good Book (Viking, 2003)

 

            Gregory Maguire, Mirror Mirror (Regan Books, 2003)

 

            Garth Nix, Mister Monday (Scholastic, 2003)

 

            Terry Pratchett, Monstrous Regiment (Harper Collins, 2003)

 

August 17 – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

            Discussion of the graphic novel League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, and the comic books published so far in the second series.  See also Jess Nevins, Heroes and Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Monkey Brain, Inc., 2003).  See also the current movie based on the graphic novel, starring Sean Connery as Alan Quatermain and Peta Wilson as Mina Harker.  There is also a novelization of the movie, written by K.  J.  Anderson (Pocket Star Books, 2003).

 

September 14 – Kavalier and Klay

            Discussion of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay (Random House, 2000), a novel by Michael Chabon.

 

 

Spring Semester, 2003

JANUARY 19 -- THE TWO TOWERS

           Discussion of the movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Two

Towers, directed by Peter Jackson.  There have been numerous reviews, articles, 

and comments on the movie in newspapers, magazines, and websites. See, for

example, the January issue of Mythprint for pithy comments pro and con from many

Tolkien fans. Michael Wilmington's review in the Chicago Tribune called the film "A

Towering Triumph"; other reviewers have also been enthusiastic, but far from

everyone. Just about every magazine that could find an excuse to do so has published

an article (e.g., the current issue of Blade has a cover article on commercial replicas

of the swords used in the movie).  Jude Fisher's The Two Towers Visual Companion

is now out.  The first book-length study of the director we know of has been published:

it's in Italian: Peter Jackson by Andrea Bordoni and Matteo Marino (Il Castoro

Cinema, 2002) (ISBN 88-8033-225-2) (yes, it has a chapter on The Fellowship of the

Ring movie).   

 

 

FEBRUARY 16 -- QUESTIONS ABOUT TOLKIEN  

             Kristin Thompson has started work on a book on Tolkien and would like our

group to help by brainstorming about some textual questions she has.  For example:

what the heck is Tom Bombadil doing in this book?  why does Gandalf wait so long to

reveal who he is when he returns as the White?  Kristin is preparing a list of such

questions, which we'll send out soon.  Feel free to e-mail replies if you can't come in

person.

 

 

MARCH 23 -- OSCARS!

             Our 2nd Oscar party at Kristin's, assuming (as seems likely enough) that            

The Two Towers or other F&SF films are among the nominees.

 

APRIL 13 -- CATHERINE ASARO 

            Some of us will have met SF author Cathering Asaro the week before

at Odyssey Con, where she will be one of the guests of honor.  Perhaps by then we'll

have picked a book or two of hers on which to focus (does anyone have any

recommendations?), but meanwhile just each read whatever we can find.  Her

major books include:

           

            Primary Inversion (1995)

            Catch the Lightning (1996)

            The Last Hawk (1997)

            The Radiant Seas (1998)

            The Veiled Web (1999)

            The Phoenix Code (2000)

            Ascendant Sun (2000)

            Spherical Harmonic (2001)

            The Quantum Rose (2002)

            Moon Shadow (scheduled for 2003)

            Skyfall (forthcoming, per Books in Print)

 

MAY 11 -- CAROL EMSHWILLER

             Noted SF author Carol Emshwiller will be one of the guests of honor two

weeks later at WisCon.  Our advice on reading is the same as for Catherine Asaro. Her

major books include:

 

            Joy in Our Cause (1974) (short stories)

            Verging on the Pertinent (1989) (short stories)

            The Start of the End Of It All (1990) (short stories)

            Carmen Dog (1990)

            Ledoyt (1995)

            Leaping Man Hill (1998)

            The Mount (2002)

            Report to the Men's Club & Other Stories (2002)

 

Gwyneth Jones has a review-essay on the last two titles in the January issue of The

New York Review of Science Fiction.

 

 

JUNE 9 -- THE X-MEN FRANCHISE

            Marvel Comics' X-Men  has a long and very chequered history, and is

the series against which sales of other comic books are measured. Does anyone know

all of the complicated storyline(s)?  Has the franchise been so successful because of

its flexibility? 

 

Fall, 2002

SEPTEMBER 8 -- TOLKIEN & THE KALEVALA       

            A paper by Richard C. West on "Setting the Rocket Off in Story: Tolkien and

The Kalevala".  At an early age, J. R. R. Tolkien was deeply impressed by the

Finnish language and by Elias Lonnrot's compilation of the folklore and myths of his

country in The Kalavala.  Tolkien set out to retell the story of Kullervo from the

Finnish epic, but this grew enormously in the telling, and became radically transformed

into the tale of Turin Turambar.  He said later that it was this experience that "set thje

rocket off in story."  This paper examines the influence of the Finnish Kalevala on

the stories (such as those of Turin and of Beren & Luthien) that became the

centerpieces of Tolkien's legendarium and shaped the development of his own

"mythology for England."  [This essay was later published in Tolkien and the Invention

of Myth, ed. Jane Chance, University Press of Kentucky, 2004.]

 

OCTOBER 6 -- A TRIBUTE TO CHUCK JONES

            Kristin Thompson will lead a memorial discussion of the great cartoonist and

filmmaker, who died earlier this year.  He wrote two autobiographies, Chuck Amuck

(1989; this is also the title of a documentary on his career, available on video) and

Chuck Reducks (1996).  His cartoons include numerous Warner Bros. shorts

(featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, et al.), How the Grinch Stole

Christmas, The Phantom Tollbooth, and adaptations of Rudyard Kipling (such as

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and The White Seal).  PBS stations will be televising Chuck

Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens: A Life in Animation this fall.  Madison's PBS

station is scheduled to show this on Wednesday, September 25, 9:30 to 11:00 p.m.,

repeated on Saturday, September 28, 11:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

 

NOVEMBER 17 -- AMERICAN GODS

            Discussion of Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods (2001).

 

DECEMBER 15 -- THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT

            Discussion of Douglas A. Anderson's revised and expanded edition of The

Annotated Hobbit (2002).

 

 

Summer, 2002

JUNE 16 -- A. MERRITT

            This topic was postponed from the March 24th meeting.  As part of our ongoing

series on older authors, we will discuss the work of pulp author and editor Abraham

Merritt (1882-1943).  BURN, WITCH, BURN (1933) was made into THE DEVIL DOLL

(1936), a movie directed by Tod Browning.  Other major works include THE MOON

POOL (1919) [an electronic version is available in NetLibrary; this can be accessed

from MadCat, the online catalogue of the campus libraries], SHIP OF ISHTAR (1926),

SEVEN FOOTPRINTS TO SATAN (1928), THE FACE IN THE ABYSS (1931),

DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE (1932), and CREEP, SHADOW, CREEP (1943).  There

is a collection of shorter works in FOX WOMAN AND OTHER STORIES (1949).

Starmont published a guide on A. MERRITT (1989) by Ronald Foust.  Sam Moskowitz

devotes chapter 12 of his book EXPLORERS OF THE INFINITE: SHAPERS OF

SCIENCE FICTION (World, 1963) to "The Marvellous A. Merritt" and also wrote a

longer study, A. MERRITT: REFLECTIONS IN THE MOON POOL: A BIOGRAPHY

(Oswald Train, 1985).

 

JULY 7 -- DINOTOPIA

            Discussion of the work of James Gurney, including DINOTOPIA: A LAND

APART FROM TIME (1992), DINOTOPIA: THE WORLD BENEATH (1995), and

DINOTOPIA: FIRST FLIGHT (1999).  Donald Dale Jackson has a  profile of Gurney in

the September, 1995 issue of Smithsonaian Magazine

 

            Gurney has allowed a number of other writers to set novels in Dinotopia.  Alan

Dean Foster has two novels for adult readers, DINOTOPIA LOST (1996) and HAND

OF DINOTOPIA (1999).  There are also several shorter works for children: Scott

Ciencin's LOST CITY (1995), WINDCHASER (1995), THUNDER FALLS (1996), SKY

DANCE (1999), and THE EXPLORERS (2001); Peter David's THE MAZE (1999);

FIRESTORM (1997) by Wisconsin's own Gene DeWeese; RESCUE PARTY (1999) by

Mark A. Garland; CHOMPER (2000) by Donald F. Glut; HATCHLING (1995) by Midori

Snyder; SURVIVE (2001) by Brad Strickland; and John Vornholt's RIVER QUEST

(1996), SABERTOOTH MOUNTAIN (1996), and DOLPHIN WATCH (2002).  None of

these are illustrated by Gurney.

 

             A 6-hour mini-series (or "mega-series" as it was advertised) set in present-day

Dinotopia was broadcast last May 12-14, the pilot for a television series to debut this

fall.  There are numerous magazine articles relating to this, including three in

Starlog no. 299 (June, 2002) (one is an interview with Gurney).    

 

             There is a website at http://www.dinotopia.com

 

AUGUST 11 -- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VIDEO ON TOLKIEN

             This meeting will be at the home of Kristin Thompson.  Consult a member for

directions.

 

Spring, 2002

JANUARY 13 -- THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

            Discussion of the movie directed by Peter Jackson, which

opened nationwide on Dec. 19, 2001.  Consider also Jude Fisher,

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

VISUAL COMPANION and Brian Sibley, THE LORD OF THE

RINGS OFFICIAL MOVIE GUIDE, both published by Houghton

Mifflin in late 2001.

 

FEBRUARY 17 -- C. S. LEWIS: THE MAGIC NEVER ENDS

            We may be able to get a room in Vilas Hall for this, or meet in

the home of a member.  Discussion of THE MAGIC NEVER ENDS;

THE LIFE AND WORK OF C. S. LEWIS, narrated by Ben

Kingsley.  This hour-long documentary is to be shown nationwide

on PBS stations beginning in January, but has already been

televised in some places (e.g., Chicago).  It is available

commercially on videotape.

 

MARCH 24 -- OSCAR TELECAST

            We had scheduled a discussion of  A. Merritt, but postponed that 

To June 16 so that we could gather at Kristin Thompson’s house and watch the

Oscar telecast. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

was nominated in 14 categories and won four.

 

APRIL 14 -- DISNEY CENTENARY

            Discussion of Walt Disney's movies on the occasion of his

centenary, focusing on his studio's adaptations of fairy tales and

other fantasy-related films.  Tolkien very much disliked the Disney

touch: why, and do you think he was justified or not?

     

MAY 12 -- BROWN GIRL IN THE RING

            Discussion of the first novel by Nalo Hopkinson, BROWN GIRL

IN THE RING (1998).  She is one of the guests of honor at WisCon

on May 24-27.  Her fiction makes use of Caribbean folklore.

 

 

Fall, 2001

SEPTEMBER 9 -- TOLKIEN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

            Reading (by gracious permission of the author) of a preprint of

Douglas A. Anderson's essay on "Tolkien After All These Years,"

to be published in MEDITATIONS ON MIDDLE-EARTH, ed. Karen

Haber (St. Martin's Press, November, 2001).

 

OCTOBER 7 -- THE FANTASY OF POUL ANDERSON

            Discussion of the works of fantasy of the late author, rather

than of his science fiction, including: THE BROKEN SWORD

(1954, 1971), THREE HEARTS & THREE LIONS (1961), A

MIDSUMMER TEMPEST (1975), WAR OF THE GODS (1997),

OPERATION CHAOS (1971) and OPERATION LUNA (1999), et al.

 

NOVEMBER 4 -- FAVORITE FANTASY

            Discussion of MY FAVORITE FANTASY STORY (DAW, 2000),

ed. Martin H. Greenberg, in which a number of fantasists choose a

favorite story and explain why.

 

DECEMBER 9 -- SARANTINE MOSAIC

            Discussion of Guy Gavriel Kay's SAILING TO SARANTIUM

(1998) and LORD OF EMPERORS (2000).

 

Summer, 2001

JUNE 17 -- H. RIDER HAGGARD

            Sir Henry Rider Haggard is best-known for his novels KING

SOLOMON'S MINES (1885) and SHE (1886).  He wrote many

sequels to both, such as ALLAN QUARTERMAIN (1887) and

WISDOM'S DAUGHTER (1923), even bringing these two major

characters together in SHE AND ALLAN (1920).  Another novel of

interest to fans of fantasy is one dealing with Odysseus and Helen

after the fall of Troy: THE WORLD'S DESIRE (1890), written in

collaboration with Andrew Lang (reissued in the Ballantine Adult

Fantasy series in 1972).

 

            For background, consult Morton Cohen, RIDER HAGGARD:

HIS LIFE AND WORKS (Hutchinson, 1960) or Norman Etherington,

RIDER  HAGGARD (Twayne, 1984).  C. S. Lewis wrote a review-

essay on Cohen's book called "Haggard Rides Again" for TIME

AND TIDE, most easily found reprinted (under the title "The

Mythopoeic Gift of Rider Haggard") in his collection ON STORIES

AND OTHER ESSAYS ON LITERATURE, ed. Walter Hooper

(Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1982) pp. 97-100.

 

            Jared Lobdell argues for Haggard's influence on Tolkien in his

book ENGLAND AND ALWAYS: TOLKIEN'S WORLD OF THE

RINGS (Eerdmans, 1981), and William H. Green does so even

more forcefully in his essay "King Thorin's Mines: THE HOBBIT as

Victorian Adventure Novel," EXTRAPOLATION v. 42, no. 1 (Spring,

2001), pp. 57-64.   Check them out and see if they persuade you!

 

JULY 15 -- JULES VERNE

            There has been an immense amount written about Verne, both

in French and English.  See Edward Gallagher, JULES VERNE: A

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY BIBLIOGRAPHY (G. K. Hall, 1980).

A good introduction is JULES VERNE AND HIS WORK by I. O.

Evans (Arco, 1965).  His grandson, Jean Jules-Verne, wrote JULES

VERNE: A BIOGRAPHY (English translation, Taplinger, 1976). 

See also THE JULES VERNE ENCYCLOPEDIA by Brian Taves

and Stephen Michaluk, Jr., with Edward Baxter (Scarecrow Press,

1996).  Arthur B. Evans has written many informative essays, such

as "The Illustrators of Jules Verne's Voyages Extraordinaires,"

SCIENCE FICTION STUDIES v. 25, no. 2, whole no. 75 (July,

1998), pp. 291-270. 

 

            There have been numerous adaptations in movies and on

television.  See Thomas C. Renzi, JULES VERNE ON FILM: A

FILMOGRAPHY OF THE CINEMATIC ADAPTATIONS OF HIS

WORKS, 1902 THROUGH 1997 (McFarland, 1998).  We might

also consider THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF JULES VERNE, a

series on the Sci-Fi channel (which perhaps owes more to THE

AVENGERS and THE WILD, WILD WEST than to Verne!).

 

 

AUGUST 12 -- COMPUTER ANIMATION

      Kristin Thompson will lead the discussion.  We'll use the new

movie SHREK as our focus, so everyone should try to see

it beforehand.

 

 

SPRING, 2001

January 21 -- Patricia McKillip, THE TOWER AT STONY WOOD

February 18 -- DUNE

Discussion of the DUNE mini-series on the Sci Fi Channel (2000), the David Lynch DUNE movie (1984), and the novel by Frank Herbert (1965).

March 18 -- VERNOR VINGE

Vinge will be one of the guests of honor at Odyssey Con in Madison (March 30-April 1). Discussion will focus on his novel, A FIRE UPON THE DEEP.

April 8 --- J. R. R. TOLKIEN: AUTHOR OF THE CENTURY

We will use as our focus the book by Tom Shippey, J. R. R. TOLKIEN: AUTHOR OF THE CENTURY, to be published by Houghton Mifflin in April. The British edition was published last year.

May 13 -- NANCY KRESS

Nancy Kress will be guest of honor at WisCon in Madison on Memorial Day weekend. We plan to concentrate on PRINCE OF MORNING BELLS, but any of her books may be discussed.

 

Fall, Year 2000

SEPTEMBER 10 -- TOLKIEN'S LETTER TO WALDMAN    

            Discussion of no. 131 in Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, in which

Tolkien expounded on his artistic intentions to Milton Waldman of

Collins Publishers,

 

OCTOBER 8 -- EDWARD EAGER  

            Discussion of the fantasy novels of Edward Eager, which have

recently been reissued in a matched set.  These include HALF

MAGIC (1954), KNIGHT'S CASTLE (1956), THE TIME GARDEN

(1958), MAGIC OR NOT? (1959), THE WELL-WISHERS (1960),

MAGIC BY THE LAKE (1962), and SEVEN-DAY MAGIC (1962).

 

NOVEMBER 5 -- THE LATHE OF HEAVEN

            Discussion of this 1971 novel by Ursula K. Le Guin and of the

1982 telefilm based on it (recently issued on videotape).

 

DECEMBER 10 -- THE AMBER SPYGLASS               

            Discussion of this final novel in Philip Pullman's His Dark

Materials trilogy.  It is scheduled to be published on October 10.

 

Summer, Year 2000

JUNE 11-- EDWARD D. HOCH -- this meeting in GRAINGER

HALL, room 1070

            Discussion of the short stories of this prolific author.  There is a

checklist of his work at

http://www.hycyber.com/MYST/hoch_edward_d.html

 

JULY 9 -- THE LION, THE WITCH, & THE WARDROBE

            This year is the 50th anniversary of the first of the Chronicles of

Narnia to be published. Discussion will focus on The Lion, the

Witch, and the Wardrobe and its various adaptations.

 

AUGUST 13 -- CHICKEN RUN

            Discussion of the new Nick Parks film, soon to be in general

release.  For all us fans of Wallace & Grommit.

 

 

Spring Semester, Year 2000

January 23 -- PRINCESS MONONOKE

            Discussion of this Japanese animated film (English dialogue by

Neil Gaiman).  For background, see Hayao Miyazaki: Master of

Japanese Animation by Helen McCarthy (Stone Bridge Press, 1999)

and The Princess Mononoke: The Art and Making of Japan's Most Popular

Film of All Time (Talk Miramax Books, 1999).  There are also numerous

websites.

 

February 13 -- FARMER GILES OF HAM

            Discussion of the 50th anniversary edition by Wayne Hammond

and Christina Scull, recently published by Houghton Mifflin. 

This includes the earliest extant text, what exists of an unfinished sequel,

and much other fascinating material.

 

March 19 -- H. G. WELLS AND THE WAR OF THE WORLDS

            Discussion of Wells's seminal 1898 novel of interplanetary war,

its various radio and film adaptations (such as Howard Koch's script

performed by  Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre and by John

De Lancie and what subsequently became Alien Voices), and its continuing

influence.

 

April 9 -- TAMSIN

            Discussion of the recent (1999) fantasy novel by Peter S. Beagle.

               

May 14 -- CHARLES DE LINT

            Discussion of the work of this year's guest of honor at

WisCon (to be held on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-29)

 

 

Fall, 1999

September 19 -- CRUSADE CONSIDERED

            Discussion of the 13 episodes of Babylon 5: Crusade

televised on TNT from June 9 through September 1.  It had been

planned to have a full season of 22 episodes but TNT cancelled the

series before anything had been broadcast.  Should this series be

continued?  Episode guides can be found on the Babylon 5

website, http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/lurker.html

 

October 24 -- THE LANGUAGE OF FANTASY

            Dorothea Salo will reprise her talk from Bree Moot 4 /

Mythcon 30 on the use of invented languages in fantasy fiction,

with special attention to Tolkien, Lord Dunsany, and Ursula K. Le

Guin.

 

November 21 -- TOLKIEN, FAERIE, AND REALITY

            Prof. Verlyn Flieger has given us permission to read her

paper (not yet published) on "Fantasy and Reality: Tolkien's World

and the Fairy Stories Essay."  See Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-

Stories," which has been reprinted frequently but is perhaps most

easily accessible in Tree and Leaf or The Tolkien Reader.

 

December 12 -- STARDUST

            Discussion of Stardust, written by Neil Gaiman with

illustrations by Charles Vess.  This won the Mythopoeic Society

Award for best fantasy novel of 1998.

              

 

Summer, 1999

June 20 -- WRAPT IN CRYSTAL

Discussion of Wrapt in Crystal by Sharon Shinn (Ace, 1999).

Reports on WisCon (May 28-31) from those who attended.

July 18 -- THE END OF DEEP SPACE 9

Retrospective on the seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, concentrating on the concluding episodes.

In Madison (and probably in other places), the final, 2-hour show, "What You Leave Behind," will be broadcast on channel 3 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 3. This will also be shown in two parts from 10:30-11:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 5 and 12.

August 15 -- FARMER GILES OF HAM

Houghton Mifflin has scheduled for publication in November a 50th anniversary edition of J. R. R. Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham (1949), edited by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, which will include previously unpublished material from the earlier drafts. We probably won't be able to read and discuss this before the spring semester, 2000. Meanwhile, in honor of the 50th anniversary and to prepare for the special edition, we will discuss the published version of this wonderful story.

 

Spring 1999:

Sunday, January 24 -- FAFHRD AND THE GRAY MOUSER

Discussion of the sword-and-sorcery series by Fritz Leiber recounting the adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. The first story, "Adept's Gambit", appeared in 1947. The first collection was Two Sought Adventure (Gnome Press, 1957). The whole series was collected by Ace Books:

1) Swords and Deviltry (1970)
2) Swords Against Death (1970)
3) Swords in the Mist (1968)
4) Swords Against Wizardry (1968)
5) The Swords of Lankhmar (1968)
6) Swords and Ice Magic (1977)
7) Knight and Knave of Swords (1988)

Gregg Press reprinted 1-6 in hardcover in 1977. White Wolf has recently reprinted 1-2 as Ill Met in Lankhmar (1995), 3- 4 as Lean Times in Lankhmar (1996), 5-6 as Return to Lankhmar (1997) and 7 as Farewell to Lankhmar (1998). We will focus in particular on the 2nd volume, Swords Against Death (included in Ill Met in Lankhmar). You might also want to read the title essay in Leiber's Fafhrd and Me: A Collection of Essays (Wildside Press, 1990), and Bruce Byfield's supplement to this called "Fafhrd and Fritz," published in The New York Review of Science Fiction no. 104 (April, 1997), pp. 1, 8-14. Two studies, both called Fritz Leiber, by Jeff Frane (Starmont, 1980) and by Tom Staicar (Ungar, 1983), include sections on the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series.

February 14 -- TOLKIEN AND SIR GAWAIN

Tolkien co-edited (with E. V. Gordon) what is still the standard scholarly edition of the 14th-century Middle English poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and throughout his life it remained one of his favorite medieval works. Richard West will read a paper by Roger Schlobin on "The Monsters Are Talismans and Transgressions: Tolkien and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Dr. Schlobin (Purdue University, English Dept) originally presented this paper at the 1998 International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, and has given permission for it to be read to our group. [It is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming anthology of essays on Tolkien, date not set.]

March 14 -- TURTLEDOVE AND ALTERNATIVE HISTORY

We will focus on Harry Turtledove's novel, How Few Remain (1997), about a second War Between the States after the South won the first one. (This is available in paperback from Del Rey.)

April 11 -- C. S. LEWIS: WAR EXPERIENCE AND CHOICE OF METAPHORS

Phil Kaveny will talk about his work-in-progress researching how C. S. Lewis was marked by his service during World War I, affecting his frequent choices of military metaphors in his writing.

May 10 -- THE SPARROW

Mary Doria Russell will be author guest of honor at this year's WisCon. We will prepare by discussing her novel, The Sparrow (1996).

Fall 1998:

Sunday, September 13: "Real World Myth in a Secondary World: Mythological Aspects in the Story of Beren and Lúthien"

This is a paper Richard West presented to the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. A quick summary:

J. R. R. Tolkien both studied and taught the stories of gods and heroes of world mythology, legend, and folklore, and naturally his own private mythos grew from this fertile soil. The story of Beren and Lúthien is one of the central ones of the legendarium of the Silmarils or Jewels of Power, and that the names of these star-crossed lovers are carved on the tombstone he shares with his wife suggests that this tale was one of the dearest to Tolkien's heart. The several recensions of the story, though no single version was completed to the author's satisfaction, all share a wide ranging over mythic motifs. At times the story recalls aspects of Volsunga saga or the Calydonian Boar Hunt, at others Robin Hood or Rapunzel, Orpheus or Ishtar. There are the common themes of the disapproving father, the rival lover, the quest, the bride-price, the magical animal ally, the tragic victory of death over love and the triumph of love over death. Yet the story is not a mere patchwork of mythological borrowings but a carefully wrought and self-consistent tale that is deeply moving and has great aesthetic power.

Sunday, October 11: Journey to the West, or the Monkey King

While many have read and studied the deservedly famous Chinese writings of Wu Ch'eng En regarding Sun the Enlightened One, also known as the Monkey King, few have examined the work under the aegis of fantasy. Is Journey to the West fantasy? What connects it with the modern genre? What is there in modern fantasy that is like this work?

Arthur Waley's translation/abridgement of Journey to the West can be found in the Memorial Library and in College Library, call number PL2697 H75 E5 (or E59), or PZ3 W948. If you care to tackle the entire work (it's long!), try Anthony C. Yu's translation, available in Memorial Library, call number PL2697 H75 E596.

Websites of interest:

·         http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Towers/8153/ This is a wonderful set of book descriptions and Web links regarding the Monkey King legend. Start here!

·         http://www.chinapage.org/monkey.html

·         http://www.china-guide.com/monkey.htm

·         http://www.wsu.edu:8000/~dee/MING/LIT.HTM Contains a brief but helpful description of the outlines of the Monkey King story.

Sunday, November 22: Two by C.S. Lewis: Pilgrim's Regress and Till We Have Faces

On the anniversary of the death of Clive Staples Lewis, we will be discussing two of his lesser-known works. One, Pilgrim's Regress, is a reaction to the well-known allegory Pilgrim's Progress. The other, Till We Have Faces, is a reworking of the Cupid/Psyche legend.

Pilgrim's Regress is available in Memorial and College Libraries, call number BV4515 L37. Several copies of Till We Have Faces are available in both locations, call number PZ3 L58534.

Memorial Library has a couple of scholarly studies of these books: Reason and imagination in C.S. Lewis : a study of Till we have faces by Peter J. Schakel, call number PR6023 E926 T5437, and Finding the landlord : a guidebook to C.S. Lewis's Pilgrim's regress by Kathryn Lindskoog, call number PR6023 E926 P535.

Sunday, December 13: The Babylon 5 Wrap Party!

The five-year arc of Babylon 5 was a genuine novelty in science-fiction television. Now that the arc has finally reached its close, we will examine the plot twists, character development, and thematic complexity of Babylon 5. Several Tolkien Society regulars are huge B5 fans, so this should be a great discussion!

 

Summer 1998:

June 21 -- ROVERANDOM

                 Discussion of J. R. R. Tolkien's children's story,

edited by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond.

 

          

July 12 -- NEVERWHERE

                  Discussion of Neil Gaiman's novel, Neverwhere

This was originally a television serial in the U.K.  Neil Gaiman will

be one of the guests at Mad Media Con 5 in Madison (September 25-27).

 

 

 August 23 -- THE PETER WEIR & TRUMAN SHOW

                     Discussion of The Truman Show.  Kristin

Thompson will provide background on the career of director Peter Weir

(Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Last Wave, Witness, et al.)

 

Spring, 1998:

January 18 – THE SUBTLE KNIFE

            Discussion of the second novel in Philip Pullman’s fantasy series, His Dark Materials.

 

February 15 – BEAGLE’S SHORT FICTION

            Discussion focusing on two recent collections of short fiction by Peter S. Beagle: Giant Bones (set in the world of his novel, The Innkeeper’s Song) and The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances (a miscellany of essays and stories, some previously published and some new).

 

March 15 – THE NOTION CLUB PAPERS

            Discussion of Tolkien’s unfinished novel (published in Sauron Defeated, vol. 9 in the History of Middle-earth series edited by Christopher Tolkien) that may have begun as a pastiche of the meetings of the Inklings but evolved into something much grander.

 

April 19 – SHERI TEPPER

            Discussion of the oeuvre of Sheri Tepper, who will be guest of honor at WisCon in May.

 

May 17 – OWEN BARFIELD AND POETIC DICTION

            Barfield’s book, Poetic Diction (1928) had great influence on Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.

 

Fall, 1997:

September 7 – A FILM PORTRAIT OF TOLKIEN

          A private showing of a British documentary, J. R. R. T.: A Film Portrait of Tolkien. This 110-minute video is narrated by Judi Dench and includes commentary from family members (John, Christopher, and Priscilla Tolkien), Baillie Tolkien, friends Fr. Robert Murray and Raynor Unwin, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, scholars Tom Shippey and Verlyn Flieger, and clips from earlier interviews with the author himself.

October 12 – GARTH NIX

          Australian Garth Nix counts Tolkien and C. S. Lewis among writers he admires and would like to emulate, according to an interview in the April, 1997 issue of Locus. His Sabriel, which won the 1995 Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel, tells of the eponymous heroine striving to rescue her father, a sort of anti-necromancer, from the Land of the Dead. His other books are The Ragwitch (1994; Tor, 1995), in which an evil power absorbs a young girl, and her brother follows to another dimension to rescue her, told from their alternating points of view; and The Calusari (Harper Trophy, 1997), a novelization of an X-Files episode of the same title.

November 16 – EGYPTIAN TALES OF MAGIC

          Kristin Thompson provided translations from hieroglyphs of ancient Egyptian tales of magicians (dating from the Middle Kingdom but set in the Old Kingdom) and of the gods Horus and Seth. Kristin will provide historical background and lead the discussion.

December 7 – LETTERS OF TOLKIEN

          Members will recommend their favorites from that treasure trove, Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (1981).

 

Summer, 1997:

June 15 – THE GOLDEN COMPASS

          Discussion of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass (1995), also known by its original British title, Northern Lights. This is the first volume in a new fantasy series set in an alternate Earth with witches and armored polar bears, in which people have daimons reflecting their inner souls (one’s daimon can take many shapes during one’s childhood but settles into one form with physical maturity).

July 20 – WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST

          Discussion of Wicked (1996) by Gregory Maguire, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz from the point of view of the misunderstood Witch.

August 17 – TALES FROM WATERSHIP DOWN

          Discussion of Tales from Watership Down (1996) by Richard Adams, a new collection of short pieces set in the interstices of his novel, Watership Down (1972).

 

Spring, 1997:

January 26 – WAKING THE MOON

          Discussion of Elizabeth Hand’s novel, Waking the Moon (1995), which last year won the Mythopoeic Society’s award for best fantasy novel. In addition, we shall listen to the first side of an audiocassette of J. R. R. Tolkien: The Man Who Invented Hobbits, a BBC Radio documentary produced by Humphrey Carpenter in the early 1970s.

February 16 – THE SILENT STRENGTH OF STONES

          Deborah Daemmrich will lead a discussion of Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s fantasy novel, The Silent Strength of Stones (1995). And we shall listen to the last half of the BBC Radio documentary, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Man Who Invented Hobbits.

March 16 – FAIR PERIL

          Discussion of Nancy Springer’s fantasy novel, Fair Peril (1996).

April 6 – THE PEOPLES OF MIDDLE-EARTH

          Discussion of the latest (and final) volume in the “History of Middle-earth” series, vol. 12, The Peoples of Middle-earth edited by Christopher Tolkien. This volume deals mostly with the Prologue and Appendices to The Lord of the Rings, and some later writings, notably the unfinished sequel, The New Shadow.

 May 4 – FANTASY FILMS OF HONG KONG

          This will be a private meeting at the home of member Kristin Thompson. Kristin's husband, David Bordwell, will speak on his research into Hong Kong fantasy films, which mainly fall into the ghost sub-genre.

Fall, 1996:

September 8 – TURIN'S OFERMOD

          This month marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the UW Tolkien Society in 1966. Richard West will give a paper on "Túrin's Ofermod; Túrin Turambar as Tolkien's Speculation on the the Limits of the Heroic Ethos: An Old English Theme in the Development of the Túrin Saga."

October 20 – THE BOOK OF ATRIX WOLFE

          Discussion of The Book of Atrix Wolfe (1995) by Patricia McKillip.

November 10 – PRINCE VALIANT

          Discussion of Hal Foster's long-running graphic narrative, Prince Valiant.

December 22 – UNICORN SONATA

          Discussion of The Unicorn Sonata (1996) by Peter S. Beagle.

 

Summer, 1996:

June 9 – OWEN BARFIELD: AN OVERVIEW

          Guest speaker John Rateliff will give an overview of the work of Owen Barfield, the Inkling whom C. S. Lewis called the "best and wiwsest of my unofficial teachers," focusing on Barfield's fiction, including the unpublished novels, English People and Eager Spring, and This Ever Diverse Pair (the last title is available in libraries, and a chapter from it is reprinted in Owen Barfield on C. S. Lewis).

July 14 – TOLKIEN AND THE CRITICS

          Guest speaker Dan Timmons from the University of Toronto will give a talk on "J. R. R. Tolkien: His 'Monstrous' Status and the Critics."

August 18 – LIONS OF AL-RASSAD

          Discussion of The Lions of al-Rassad (1995) by Guy Gavriel Kay.

Spring, 1996:

January 21 – TOLKIEN: ARTIST AND ILLUSTRATOR

          Basis for the discussion will be the recent book of the same title by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, and the essay by Richard Schindler on "The Expectant Landscape: J. R. R. Tolkien's Illustrations for The Hobbit" published in the catalogue of the exhibit of Tolkien's drawings at Marquette University in 1987.

February 18 – WALT KELLY

          A number of Kelly fans in our group will pool their various collections to enable us to discuss his work on Our Gang, The Brownies, Christmas With Mother Goose, Santa Claus Funnies, Peter Wheat, and other comics, including, of course, Pogo. Also consult the fanzine, Fort Mudge Most, and Norman Hale's All Natural Pogo.

March 17 – LIFE AND TIMES OF UNCLE SCROOGE

          Discussion of Don Rosa's "Life and Times of Uncle Scrooge" published in Uncle Scrooge numbers 285 (April, 1994) through 296 (February, 1996) by Gladstone Comics (to be reprinted in a graphic album later this year).

April 21 – NARRATIVE STRUCTURE OF GROUNDHOG DAY

          Kristin Thompson will give a paper on the narrative structure of the Bill Murray film, Groundhog Day.

 May 12 – URSULA K. LE GUIN: ESSAYIST AND STORYTELLER

          Ursula K. Le Guin will be one of the guests of honor at Wiscon 25 on Memorial Day weekend. Our discussion this time will focus on her essays in Dancing At the Edge of the World and stories in her recent collections, A Fisherman of the Inland Sea and Four Ways to Forgiveness.

Fall, 1995:

September 10 – CAXTON'S MALORY

          Phil Kaveny will talk on the cultural significance of William Caxton's 15th-century edition of the Arthurian stories by Sir Thomas Malory.

October 15 – NARRATIVE CHOICES IN TOLKIEN

          Discussion of artistic decisions made by Tolkien to structure his narratives as he did, including his concept of evil, his sparing use of the Eagles, etc.

November 19 – CHARLES G. FINNEY

          Guest speaker Douglas Anderson (editor of The Annotated Hobbit and of The Dragon Path: Collected Stories of Kenneth Morris) will talk on the oeuvre of Charles G. Finney. Finney is best known for The Circus of Dr. Lao, but his other works include The Unholy City, The Magican Out of Manchuria, and The Ghosts of Manacle.

December 10 – FATHER CHRISTMAS LETTERS

          Discussion of letters that Tolkien wrote to his young children, as from Father Christmas.

Summer, 1995:

June 11 – W. H. LEWIS CENTENARY

          In honor of the birth of Warren Hamilton Lewis on June 16, 1895, we shall discuss his writings, including The Splendid Century and his other histories of 17th-century France, but particularly his diaries, published as Brothers and Friends, which have many references to Tolkien and the other Inklings.

July 9 – JOHN CROWLEY

          Discussion of the fiction of John Crowley, particularly Aegypt, Love and Sleep, and Little, Big.

August 20 – BABEL

          An all "news and notes" meeting, looking particularly at the 1996 Tolkien Calendar and printouts from the Babylon 5 website.

Spring, 1995:

January 15 – PORCELAIN DOVE

          Discussion of Delia Sherman's novel, The Porcelyn Dove, which last year won the Mythopoeic Society's award for best fantasy.

February 12 – TOLKIEN'S AESTHETIC

          Discussion of Tolkien's aesthetic of fantasy with particular reference to his essay "On Fairy-Stories" and his letter to Milton Waldman (no. 131 in Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien).

March 12 – GROUNDHOG DAY

          Discussion of the Bill Murray film, Groundhog Day.

April 2 – VONNEGUT AND THE TRAFALMADORIAN NOVEL

          Phil Kaveny will lead a discussion of Kurt Vonnegut's science fiction, including Hocus Pocus, Sirens of Titan, and Slaughterhouse Five. See also Understandng Kurt Vonnegut by William Rodney Allen.

 May 14 – WAR OF THE JEWELS

          Discussion of the latest volume in the "History of Middle-earth" series, vol. 11, dealing with the Grey Annals and later revisions to the legends of Beleriand.

Fall, 1994:

September 11 – TOLKIEN'S NARRATORS

October 2 – LEWIS CARROLL'S ALICE BOOKS

November 6 – PETER S. BEAGLE, THE INNKEEPER'S SONG

December 11 – JAMES TIPTREE'S SHORT FICTION

 

Summer, 1994:

June 5 – FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION IN CARL BARKS

          Richard West will show slides of paintings and illustrations by Carl Barks, with emphasis on his fantasy and science fiction stories.

July 17 – ROBIN McKINLEY'S BEAUTY

          Discussion of Beauty (1978) by Robin McKinley and other versions of the story of "Beauty and the Beast" (Jean Cocteau, Walt Disney, Ron Koslow), with some animadversions on other fantasy by McKinely: Door in the Hedge, The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown, Outlaws of Sherwood, Deerskin, A Knot in the Grain.

August 14 – WILL THE REAL BARBARA MERTZ PLEASE STAND UP?

          Kristin Thompson will lead a discussion on the works of Barbara Mertz, who writes as Elizabeth Peters (e.g, the Amelia Peabody series, Devil-May-Care) and as Barbara Michaels (e.g., Witch, House of Many Shadows

 

Spring, 1994:

January 9 – VERSIONS OF FRANKENSTEIN

          Discussion of Mary Shelley's seminal novel, Frankenstein (1816), and the fiction that has grown from it, especially the film starring Boris Karloff (1931) and its sequels, and the anthology edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Frankenstein: The Monster Wakes (DAW, 1993).

February 20 – TOLKIEN AND FANTASY ILLUSTRATION

          Discussion of Tolkien's World (HarperCollins, 1993) and other illustrations of fantasy and science-fiction. See the review-article on this subject by Gary Wolfe in Locus no. 396 (January, 1994), pp. 49-51.

March 13 – DOROTHY L. SAYERS

          Report on the Sayers Centenary Conference held in Madison in September, 1993, and discussion of her life and work. Suggested sources: biographies such as Barbara Reynolds' Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul (St. Martin's Press, 1993); Dorothy L. Sayers: The Centenary Celebration, ed. Alzina Stone Dale (Walker, 1993); Seven vol. 10 (1993) (Special Issue on Sayers); and any other books by or about Sayers.

April 10 – SCIENCE FICTION FILM

          Discussion of science fiction film, with focus on Beetlejuice (1988), directed by Tim Burton.

May 8 – MORGOTH'S RING

          Discussion of the latest volume in the "History of Middle-earth" series, vol. 10, dealing with later revisions to the legends of Aman.

 

Fall, 1993:

September 12 – JURASSIC PARK

          Discussion of the novel by Micahel Crichton, the movie directed by Steven Spielberg, and dinosaurs in fact and fiction.

October 3 – A SONG FOR ARBONNE

          Discussion of Guy Gavriel Kay's novel, A Song for Arbonne, and its Provencal sources and background.

November 14 – THE HELLENISM OF MARY RENAULT

          David Sweetman's biography Mary Renault will serve as the basis for our discussion of her historical novels set in ancient Greece, from The King Must Die to Funeral Games

December 12 – JAPANIMATION

          Deborah Daemmrich will lead a discussion of the "bubble gum crisis" genre of Japanese animated films.

 

Summer, 1993:

August 15 – TRIBUTE TO AVRAM DAVIDSON

          Discussion of the oeuvre of the late Avram Davidson in memory of this underappreciated author. His fantasy novels include The Island Under the Earth, The Phoenix and the Mirror, Vergil in Averno, Peregrine: Primus, and Peregrine: Secundus.

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 


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