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March 08, 2004 - May 31, 2004

Monday, May 31, 2004
Upcoming Tolkien Seminar - maegwen @ 09:51 PST
The Tolkien Society sends word of their next scheduled seminar:

Tolkien: Influenced and Influencing
17th July 2004, 10am - 5pm.
St Martin's College, Fusehill Street, Carlisle

This year's Tolkien Society Seminar is being held at St Martin's College, Carlisle. The day promises to be of interest to all those who want to find out more about J.R.R. Tolkien and his work. Love him or hate him no one can deny that Tolkien and "The Lord of the Rings" have had a profound influence on many people. But what influenced the man himself? Speakers will be coming from all around the world to discuss the issues.

Trevor Reynolds, Membership Secretary of The Tolkien Society, who has jointly organised this year's seminar with local member Ian Collier, said "We are really exited to be able to bring together such a wide range of Tolkien fans and scholars in Carlisle"

Speakers currently scheduled include:

Colin Duriez: 'Tolkien and C S Lewis: a mutual influence' Colin has written many books about J R R Tolkien and his contemporaries. His most recent book is "J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S.Lewis".

Maggie Fernandes: 'The Theory of names in "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien' Maggie is a post graduate student at the University of Lisbon in Portugal.

Michele Fry: 'The Influence of Tolkien and "The Lord of the Rings" on Women Fantasy Authors' Michele is an independent scholar, from Oxford she has published articles on Harry Potter and Siegfried Sassoon.

Paul Kerry: "The Lord of the Rings" and Catholicism' Paul is from Queen's College, Oxford.

Alison Milbank: 'Tolkien and the Gift' Alison is an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia in the USA.

Nataliya Oryshchuk: 'Tolkien's reception in post-Soviet Countries' Nataliya is a post graduate student at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Jessica Yates: 'Tolkien's influence on fantasy films before Peter Jackson's Trilogy' Jessica is a children's book critic and librarian from London. She edited the fantasy collection "Dragons and Warrior Daughters".

Tickets must be booked in advance (by 2nd July). You can book on-line at www.tolkiensociety.org/seminar, or ask for a booking form from The Tolkien Society Bookings Officer, Jenny Curtis, 85 Woad Lane, Great Coates, Grimsby, DN37 9NB (enclose a SAE please).

The price is £15 and includes lunch.

Any queries regarding this Press Release should be addressed to:

e-mail publicity@tolkiensociety.org

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
More information on 'Lost' - maegwen @ 17:56 PST
This is some more in-depth info on the new ABC series "Lost" starring Dominic Monaghan.

“Lost” (one-hour drama, day and time) -- Out of the blackness the first thing Jack senses is pain. Then burning sun. A Bamboo forest. Smoke. Screams. With a rush comes the horrible awareness that the plane he was on tore apart in mid-air and crashed on a Pacific island. From there it's a blur as his doctor's instinct kicks in: people need his help.

Stripped of everything, the 48 survivors scavenge what they can from the plane for their survival. Some panic. Some pin their hopes on rescue. A few find inner strength they never knew they had. Like Kate who, with no medical training, suddenly finds herself suturing the doctor's wounds. The band of friends, family, enemies and strangers must work together against the cruel weather and harsh terrain. But the intense howls of the mysterious creatures stalking the jungle fill them all with fear. Fortunately, thanks to the calm leadership of quick-thinking Jack and level-headed Kate, they have hope. But even heroes have secrets, as the survivors will come to learn.

From J.J. Abrams, the creator of Alias, comes an action-packed adventure that will bring out the very best and the very worst in the people who are lost.

Matthew Fox (“Party of Five”): Jack
Evangeline Lilly: Kate
Dominic Monaghan: Charlie
Ian Somerhalder: Boone
Jorge Garcia: Hurley
Maggie Grace: Shannon
Malcolm David Kelley: Walt
Naveen Andrews: Djani
Harold Perrineau (“Oz”): Michael
Josh Holloway: Sawyer
Terry O'Quinn: Locke
Daniel Dae Kim: Jin
Yunjin Kim: Sun

Executive Producers/Writers: J. J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Executive Producer: Bryan Burk
Director: J. J. Abrams
Production Company: Bad Robot
Studio: Touchstone Television

Sunday, May 23, 2004
Attention: LOTR fans in France - maegwen @ 16:19 PST
Ringer Spy Divina writes: "I am a french professor at the Sorbonne University currently conducting an international research project on the reception of Lord of the Rings. I badly need your help to help me contact French fans, who would be likely to fill-in an on-line questionnaire for the project."

* * *


Pour accompagner la sortie du dernier film de la trilogie du Seigneur des Anneaux, des chercheurs de 20 pays dans le monde mènent une enquête sur sa réception par le grand public. Nous voulons savoir si les gens l¹ont apprécié ou s¹ils ont été déçus ou frustrés par la mise en images de la trilogie. Nous explorons plus particulièrement ce que l¹univers imaginaire créé par Tolkien signifie pour les générations nouvelles.

D¹après les magazines spécialisés, les sites de fans sur Internet, les conversations radiophoniques, nous savons que toutes sortes d¹idées circulent parmi les membres du public. Certains ont aimé les trois films sans réserve. D¹autres émettent des critiques. D¹autres encore disent préférer les livres. Pour beaucoup la trilogie donne le sentiment d¹un ensemble de films remarquables. Mais en quoi sont-ils remarquables? Qu¹est-ce qui les rend si impressionnants, selon vous? Nous voulons en savoir plus de votre part, que vous soyez fans ou pas. Vos idées nous intéressent.

Cette étude de réception est la plus étendue en son genre. Elle repose en grande partie sur un questionnaire en-ligne auquel tout le monde est invité à répondre. Nous avons déjà reçu plus de 20 000 réponses, mais très peu de la part du grand public français. Nous voudrions que ce public qui est allé nombreux au cinéma se manifeste.Vous pouvez exprimer vos vues en allant directement, d¹un clic, à l¹adresse suivante : http://www.lordoftheringsresearch.net/indexfr.html.

Soyez au rendez-vous! Faites partie de l¹enquête! Et faites le savoir à vos amis, en leur faisant suivre ce message!

Avec nos remerciements

Divina Frau-Meigs, professeur
Projet Seigneur des Anneaux.(France)

Monday, May 17, 2004
TVNZ's 'Test The Nation II' - Xoanon @ 19:31 PST
Robert Gatward Group Co-ordinator, for TVNZ writes: We are redoing The TEST THE NATION IQ programme and I am responsible for a section of contestants - Lord of the Rings Fans.

Once again Television New Zealand is looking for seven groups of 30 people to be part of the participating audience in an exciting new three-hour live television event called Test The Nation: The New Zealand IQ Test

The audience groups will need to be available from approx. 2:30pm until around 11:30pm on Monday 21th of June. The event will take place at Avalon. CAN YOU MAKE IT?

Test The Nation will be the biggest survey ever conducted to determine just how clever the nation is. The test of around 75 questions has been specially constructed and verified by a leading New Zealand psychologist, and features questions including memory, word tests, observation puzzles and logic, and needs to be answered within a set amount of time. People in the Wellington studio use state-of-the-art keypads linked to a purpose-built computer scoring system which tallies up the results throughout the night.
(As well, every person in the country will be able to take part by watching the show and using a pen and a piece of paper, or scorecard to write down their answers, or logging onto the internet where the questions will be streamed at the same time as TV.)

At the end of the evening, the results will be collated for the studio groups. While each studio group’s overall IQ will be announced (e.g. the taxi drivers group has scored an average of 109), individual IQ scores will NOT be revealed unless a person has the highest IQ out of the whole audience. (So you don’t need to feel exposed to the whole country!)

Participants will however, receive, a certificate a few weeks after the show if they wish, that states their IQ. (This kind of test can cost around $200 commercially!)

What’s in it for participants?

The group I have been assigned is Lord of the Rings fans. If you’d like to be involved, drop me an email (at rmgatward@xtra.co.nz) that says “Count me in!” in the subject line and contact details or call me on 233 2191 (please leave a message if no answer…). Please note that you are required to be over 18 years of age.

At that point I need to just get a few demographic details off you to make sure I have a good mix of people and later on we will meet up. Right now I’m just gauging interest. I’ll be your co-ordinator on the night too.

Hope you can help,

Robert Gatward
Group Co-ordinator, for TVNZ
Test The Nation: The New Zealand IQ Test
Phone 233 2191 or 021 673 660
Email: rmgatward@xtra.co.nz

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Peter S. Beagle thanks the multitudes! - Gamgee @ 20:57 PST
It's different when they scream. I was all right until they started

Over the course of forty-odd (quite odd) years as a free-lance writer and occasional singer/songwriter, I've spoken publicly in a lot of places and learned a great deal about show-business in the process. I've learned how to use a microphone properly, how to size up a crowd and recognize in a hurry just what they like about you, and - most vital of all - how to get offstage neither too soon nor a nanosecond too late. And I'm something of an expert on judging the quality of laughter and applause, from the decorous academic patter to the more generous clapping of an audience that has no stake in not liking you - and, once in a while, the genuine roar that comes when you've taken them by surprise and made them like it. I'm no standup
comic, but I know this stuff.

But screaming.

Screaming is twelve-year-old girls; screaming is the Beatles, the Stones, the Dead, James Brown, Jose Yglesias, Britney Spears. Screaming has always made me nervous, partly because I don't understand hysteria, or deal well with it; partly because screaming for the star's ties and undershirts never seems more than a skin away from howling for his head. When it started for me, I froze in my tracks.

The occasion was a post-Oscar party for The Lord of the Rings, thrown by TheOneRing.net, a website devoted to the work of J. R. R. Tolkien and other writers of epic fantasy. I was one of some twelve hundred guests hitting the cocktails and canapes and cheering, not only the landslide results of the Oscar voting, but the final cultural validation of a beloved tale; and, beyond that, of the other great stories still so often denied official designation as true literature. Once upon a time, in a world lit only by fire, all literature was what we now call fantasy; but then the fluorescents came on, and more than Tolkien's Elves dwindled and faded and was lost. Even so, the fantasy ghetto, set apart from "real" writing and visited only by geeks, weirdos and artistic slummers, is very largely a creation of the last half of the last century. The walls around it are crumbling steadily away these days, and us weirdos are out and storming the literary castles. The raucous cheers I shared were saying, Hurray, finally, for our side!

I knew in advance that, as a fantasist myself, I was likely to be introduced from the stage, and I expected my usual share of the mannerly applause I've grown used to over the years. It wouldn't be exactly Dionysian, but it was my due.
When the time came, the MC announced me as "a special surprise guest - the author of The Last Unicorn." He never got to my name.
The screaming went on and on. I've already said that I froze, but it was more than that; it was an internal paralysis as well as a physical one. A friend literally pushed me up the steps and onto the stage. He figured, more or less correctly, that reflexes would take over when I got there.

There's a show-business streak in my family; we may seem naively wide-eyed and spontaneous, but we know what we're doing. I wandered out to the microphone, waited for the ovation to die down slightly, and then said, "So that's what it's like. I always wondered."
And they did it again. Louder.

I don't know whether I've made adequately clear exactly how unused to this sort of reception I am. I do know that I haven't at all stressed just how addictive it is. Within seconds - seconds - I wanted, needed another dose, on demand, this minute. The violence of the desire was almost shocking, especially to someone whose lifelong self-image is that of a modest professional, in no need of limelight, content merely to get the work done right. But when I look back on that moment, all that comes to mind is a hunger and a reward, both more powerful than anything I think I've ever known. It must be like that for a new-made vampire getting his first taste of blood.

When I got off - which I managed properly; there's another reflex - I found myself surrounded for the rest of the evening by people who kept telling me what an honor it was to meet me, and how much my own novels and stories had affected their lives. A beautiful lady sat with me and sang me songs in Elvish - something else which had definitely never happened to me before. I fell promptly into my Gracious mode - every writer, no matter the sales figures, has one of those - determinedly making eye contact, telling little self-deprecating jokes, and, above all, showing personal interest by asking earnest questions. It's an old trick, one of my best - and, paradoxically, quite sincere - but this time I couldn't hear either them or myself, because the screaming was still going on in my head. I really don't remember much after the screaming.

But I do understand something now that I never did before. It's
no wonder that the standups, the singers, the matinee idols (is anybody ever called that anymore?) so often find it impossible to leave the stage after the very last farewell tour, the final comeback. It's no wonder that the stars and superstars so often turn into monsters; what's remarkable is that not all of them do. I've now had my one taste of blood - I've no idea what I might become if I should ever get more of it. Just remember, if you encounter me after my thirteenth appearance on Oprah, and I brush rudely by your proffered autograph book on my way back to trash my hotel room, that Iused to be a real sweetheart, a pussycat, an unpretentious regular guy. It's the screaming, I swear - I'm not really like that. It's just the screaming...

Friday, April 02, 2004
The Eowyn Challenge: One Year On - Tehanu @ 04:36 PST
The World Wide Eowyn Challenge is most widely known for its most popular challenge, The Walk to Rivendell. Walkers from around the world now participate in the Challenge (with thanks, in part, to TORn), and the site now coordinates the virtual walks in Middle Earth of groups from eight different websites, including TORn.

On March 12-14, 2004, 28 walkers from around the world, predominantly from the original WWEC, held a Moot in Nashville, TN at the Opryland Hotel. The Opryland Hotel was an ideal location for the gathering with its cascades and waterfalls covering 42 acres under roof. The location was chosen for its likeness to Rivendell.

The Shieldmaidens, as we like to call ourselves in honor of our most admired Shieldmaiden, Eowyn, gathered for fun and fellowship and to meet each other face-to-face. This group alone has collectively traveled over 20 thousand miles and lost over 850 lbs over the past year. We have provided virtual support to each other on a daily basis, and we are convinced that our success lies in our commitment to each other.

The Moot began with an opening ceremony that included a symbolic lighting of beacons to show our support for each other and a recitation of the Shieldmaiden Code. Other events during the Moot included the singing of hobbit songs and Into the West, a toast to the Professor, a viewing of ROTK, line dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon, and general fellowship and games in the "Moot" room.

Photos and more details of the Moot can be found at Eowyn Challenge.netWe hope to make this an annual event and to include many more walkers next year.

Monday, March 08, 2004
Monaghan Skips 'BOBW' - Xoanon @ 21:37 PST
Minnie writes: I received this email this morning referring to scheduling conflicts with Dominic Monaghan's appearance in Australia's Best of Both Worlds convention:

It is with huge regret that I must inform you that Dominic Monaghan has booked a pilot for Disney, titled “LOST” which conflicts with his appearance at BOBW. The pilot is scheduled to begin filming for 30 days in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 8, 2004.

(They have sent a proposal to fly him out of Hawaii for Saturday and Sunday or for one day at the very least. They are working very hard to have him appear at BOBW.)

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