eldritchhobbit: (Scully/Outer Space)
I'll shortly be off to Asheville, and I look forward to seeing some of you at my "The Dystopian Tradition: What Worlds Gone Wrong Can Teach Us" weekend event.

Before leaving I had to make a quick post to say how very excited I am that The X-Files is returning (excited is an understatement!) and to share this Honest Trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, which says it all as far as I'm concerned. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cookiefleck!)



I'll catch you on the flip side, folks!

Miscellany

Nov. 10th, 2014 09:56 am
eldritchhobbit: (Star Wars/Obi-Wan/Not Defeat)
* Huge congratulations to Glass Hammer's Stephen R. Babb on the publication of his gorgeous The Lay of Lirazel in paperback, ebook, and audiobook form. The Lay Of Lirazel is narrative poetry told in epic fashion, but it is poetry fully equipped with fangs and enough terror to keep a reader turning pages till the last curse falls and death and doom claim their prize! Inspired by the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson, the paintings of John W. Waterhouse, and the writings of George MacDonald, William Morris, and Lord Dunsany, The Lay of Lirazel is the essence of the mythopoeic set to verse. I'm proud to have written the foreword for this remarkable work. Highly recommended!

screen-shot-2014-10-07-at-4-14-57-pm


* I'll be offering a two-weekend-long intense lecture series called "The Dystopian Tradition: What Worlds Gone Wrong Can Teach Us" in Spring 2015 in Asheville, NC (minutes from where much of The Hunger Games was filmed). Accepted undergraduate/graduate students will have hotel and meals provided without cost. Interested students may apply here.

* Sean Pertwee's Halloween costume made me go all mushy inside. (Incidentally, he's my favorite thing about Gotham, and there's a lot to love about that show.)

* So Star Wars Episode VII will be The Force Awakens. I didn't realize that the Force had dozed off. That said, I hope the latest speculations have some truth to them. If so, it could be good, even great. (Anthony Daniels certainly seems pleased with it.)

What do u think? Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens #starwars #disney


* I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Elizabeth Peña. She starred in a film I dearly love, Lone Star, and several other great ones (Jacob's Ladder, anyone?). So sad.

* I'm looking forward to Billy Boyd's "The Last Goodbye" for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. (We can hear a clip now here and via iTunes.)

Have a great day!
eldritchhobbit: (TOS/Banned from Argo)
My resistance was futile!


ConCarolinas is coming up this weekend! George R.R. Martin is the guest of honor, and the organizers are expecting quite a crowd. I understand registration for Saturday is completely sold out!

I'll be an author-scholar guest on the following panels:

Saturday
9am: Breakfast and Books
10am: I Am SHERLocked (I'm also moderating this panel.)

Sunday
12pm: The Hobbit Movies
1:30pm: The Hunger Games

I hope to see some of you there!

And speaking of parties, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] gondoriangirl, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] vivien529, [livejournal.com profile] senket, [livejournal.com profile] chorale, [livejournal.com profile] nakeisha, [livejournal.com profile] poenari, [livejournal.com profile] ebonange, [livejournal.com profile] primroseburrows, [livejournal.com profile] gbsteve, [livejournal.com profile] eowynmaiar, [livejournal.com profile] sally_maria, [livejournal.com profile] magicwondershow, [livejournal.com profile] groovekittie, [livejournal.com profile] eveningblue, [livejournal.com profile] peadarog, [livejournal.com profile] thehornedgod, [livejournal.com profile] baylorsr, [livejournal.com profile] lin4gondor, [livejournal.com profile] caitri, [livejournal.com profile] belleferret, [livejournal.com profile] valancourtbooks, [livejournal.com profile] potboy, [livejournal.com profile] alex_beecroft, [livejournal.com profile] nurdbunny, [livejournal.com profile] lisa_marli, [livejournal.com profile] graashoppa, [livejournal.com profile] toddlyles, and [livejournal.com profile] pktheater. May you enjoy many happy returns of the day, my friends!
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo corner wonder)
Hello, everyone!

Fun things...
* From Medievalists.net: "The Hidden History of Christmas Carols." Well worth reading. (Thanks to James!)
* From Thirdroar: The Art of Amy L. Rawson: Santa Cthulhu 2013. Fantastic. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wellinghall!)
* Today is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug day! Woohoo!

Reminders...
* My free Hunger Games event begins on Monday, December 16, and registration is still open: "On Tyrants and Tributes: Real World Lessons from The Hunger Games." (Watch the trailer here.)
* Registration is also open for my Mythgard Institute Spring 2014 course on "The Gothic Tradition." (Watch the trailer here.)

Happy belated birthday to [livejournal.com profile] tuesday_darling, [livejournal.com profile] juliakarr, and [livejournal.com profile] janellemadigan. Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] mguibord and [livejournal.com profile] gypsyjr. And happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] ericadawn16, [livejournal.com profile] tuilelindowen, [livejournal.com profile] whswhs, [livejournal.com profile] arkhamdenizen, [livejournal.com profile] irisbleufic, [livejournal.com profile] i_llbedammned, [livejournal.com profile] internet_sampo [livejournal.com profile] pambachorz, [livejournal.com profile] cyloran, and [livejournal.com profile] mamomo. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo corner wonder)
Thanks to everyone who took part in my Peter Cushing poll! The poll is still open, in case anyone else would like to participate.

Here, have a new The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer!

eldritchhobbit: (Cabin Pressure/Airport)
I'm off to Santa Fe for a conference -- and apparently some snow. (My brain insists on playing "You can drum a gentle drum, and I can seat guests as they come, chatting not about Heidegger but wine..." on continual loop. Silly brain.) But before I leave...

* Three brilliant and important science fiction novels appear to be headed to the small screen. Variety reports that SyFy will be adapting Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle as a miniseries (with Ridley Scott and Frank Spotnitz at the helm, which rather eased my initial panic at the news), and Mary Doria Russell reports that her novels The Sparrow (one of my all-time favorites) and Children of God may become a full-fledged series for AMC.

* Not even Gabriel "You've Loved Me Since Excalibur" Byrne and his fantastic greying wig could salvage the shipwreck that was Vikings. I can't bear to watch another episode. Woe. At least I have Ripper Street for one more week. We may give the new shows Bates Motel and Orphan Black a test drive when they debut later this month.

* How is one supposed to choose among all of these competing versions of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on DVD?

* Happy belated birthday to [livejournal.com profile] bluerocean and [livejournal.com profile] mizz_history, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] thewordoffred, [livejournal.com profile] lovefromgirl, [livejournal.com profile] artwhisperer, [livejournal.com profile] jasonbsizemore, [livejournal.com profile] dannyboy8406, and [livejournal.com profile] _snitchbitch. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!


I just adore this still from the forthcoming Star Trek into Darkness. Admiral Pike/Bruce Greenwood FTW.

stid-img-010
eldritchhobbit: (Cabin Pressure/Dames and Horses)
* Hi there, everyone! Just a reminder, FYI: my Goodreads giveaway of the new Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy ends tomorrow.

* Random goodness: "15 Must-See Historic Cemeteries Across the United States."


* I now have my schedule for StellarCon 37 and SONAR: The Symposium on Nerdy Academic Research. (I'm really looking forward to the weekend, so I'm hoping my current feeling-under-the-weather-ness is very short-lived.)

Saturday, March 2
10am Panel: Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, and Power Rangers: A 20-Year Retrospective

2pm Panel: The Hobbit, Filler, and You

3pm Panel: The British Invasion (Sherlock and Doctor Who)

4pm SONAR Solo Presentation: "From Amerind to Dorvan: Star Trek's Uneasy History with Native America"

6pm Panel: Podcasting: How Does It Work?


Too Bad Georges Melies Never Directed A STAR TREK Episode
eldritchhobbit: (LOTR/Secret Gate)
I'm a very happy height-challenged, mushroom-loving Middle-earther, as I've been invited to be a guest scholar at one of the most anticipated international Tolkien events currently in the works, A Long-Expected Party 3. I do hope to see some of you there!

AL3P


Have you ever looked to the mountains and wondered what lay beyond - or even under them? Have you ever wanted to carry a sword instead of a walking stick? Then perhaps you are in need of an adventure. Take a trip to the Shire and live the adventure of a lifetime and create memories that can be retold around the fire for ages to come.

Find out more about A Long-Expected Party 3 here!
eldritchhobbit: (LOTR/Road Goes Ever)
Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] brighteyed_jill, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] scribblerworks, [livejournal.com profile] mjolnir1964, [livejournal.com profile] altariel, [livejournal.com profile] pwilkinson, [livejournal.com profile] lukeski, [livejournal.com profile] seemag, and [livejournal.com profile] pinkfinity, and [livejournal.com profile] thrihyrne. May you enjoy many happy returns of the day, my friends!

I'm doing the start-of-semester shuffle as my classes get underway.

I thought this might be of interest to some of you. It's a 2003 documentary narrated by Sir Ian Holm called The Real Middle-earth, and it investigates how actual locations that featured in J.R.R. Tolkien's life helped to inspire his created world. There are some lovely insights and visuals here, and since I was sharing it with some of my students, I thought I'd share it here, too.



And speaking of all things Tolkien, just in case anyone missed this...
* from Le Monde: "My Father's 'Eviscerated' Work - Son Of Hobbit Scribe J.R.R. Tolkien Finally Speaks Out"
* from TheOneRing.net: "Concerning Christopher – An Essay on Tolkien’s Son’s Decision to Not Allow Further Cinematic Licensing of His Work"
* from The Tolkienist: "A Commentary on 'Concerning Christopher'" (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jan_u_wine!)


“I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama..."
- J.R.R. Tolkien to Milton Waldeman, about his Middle-earth works
eldritchhobbit: (Maya)
Happy Winter Solstice! And happy beginning of the Fourth Age, according to the Long Count Calendar of the Maya!

(In case you're looking for some "holiday" listening, my analysis of the pop culture phenomenon surrounding 2012 - from history to science to fantasy - is available in two of my "Looking Back on Genre History" segments for StarShipSofa: "2012, Part 1" and "2012, Part 2.")


What 2013 films are you looking forward to the most?
[Poll #1886199]


Here's my list of the 2013 films I'm most anticipating and their opening dates:

Mama (January 18)
Beautiful Creatures (February 13)
The Last Exorcism, Part II (March 1)
The Host (March 29)
Oblivion (April 19)
** Star Trek into Darkness (May 17)
Much Ado About Nothing (June 7)
The Conjuring (July 19)
Red 2 (August 2)
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (August 23)
** The World's End (October 25)
** Ender's Game (November 1)
** The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (November 22)
** The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December 13)
** How I Live Now (2013 Date TBA)

** I plan to see this in the theater.
[Note: These days I much prefer watching films in our home media room, with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and my sweetheart and Boston terrier at my side, rather than in the theater, where I can only hope (in vain?) that the other audience members won't talk/text/arrive late. Don't I sound like an old curmudgeon? LOL. But now and again I make an exception, when I simply can't wait for the DVD. 2013 looks to be an especially promising year.]
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo)
Thanks so much to everyone who participated in my latest poll. It's still open, if anyone else wishes to take part!

And now, after three viewings, I think it's time for me to write up some thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Spoilers ahead!

Hobbit Bilbo Character Poster


What has it got in its pocketses, Precious? )
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo walking)
I've seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey twice now, and I'm planning to work up a proper review shortly. Nutshell version: it's definitely a flawed film (mostly related to the writing and special effects), but the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I enjoyed it more than any of Jackson's adaptations since The Fellowship of the Ring. The acting, in particular, is fantastic. Martin Freeman is J.R.R. Tolkien's, Ian Holm's, and his own Bilbo Baggins, all at the same time, brilliantly. Richard Armitage's Thorin Oakenshield and Ken Stott's Balin are both exactly how I always imagined them, only better.

A few notes:

* The Call for Papers is now available here for "The Future of Harry Potter: The 2013 PotterWatch Conference" at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (April 6, 2013). I was the Keynote Speaker for the 2012 PotterWatch Conference, and I had a fantastic time at the event. If you're interested, I highly recommend taking part. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] gods_lil_rocker.)

* Great news for fantasy lovers: G.L. Gregg's wonderful novel The Sporran is now available for Kindle.

* My narration of Jeff Carlson's novel The Frozen Sky is now available not only on Audible (where it's currently $12.97 for members as part of the site-wide sale), but also on Amazon and on iTunes.


POLL TIME! What new Spring 2013 TV programs (if any) are you going to watch?

[Poll #1885008]

We're planning to give The Following and Ripper Street a try in January.

For Fall 2012, we "test drove" several disappointing "clunkers" (Elementary, Revolution, 666 Park Avenue, and Copper), but we've ended up enjoying Last Resort thus far - which, of course, means it was cancelled.

(After living in Nashville for seventeen years and knowing so many people in the industry and locations where it's filmed - including my alma mater - we also have to watch Nashville. It's particularly fun to see the talented Kimberly Williams-Paisley in an interesting role. Her husband, Brad Paisley, not only graduated from and supports Belmont University, but he's also said publicly lovely things about the experience and impact of having my husband as his professor, so it's no surprise that I have a huge soft spot for him!)
eldritchhobbit: (LOTR/Hobbit)
* Last call for holiday cards! If you'd like one from me, please reply here. Many thanks!

* Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] tuesday_darling, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] juliakarr, [livejournal.com profile] janellemadigan, [livejournal.com profile] mguibord, [livejournal.com profile] gypsyjr, [livejournal.com profile] tuilelindowen, [livejournal.com profile] whswhs, and [livejournal.com profile] arkhamdenizen. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!


I've been thinking a lot about Bilbo Baggins, both because of the soon-to-be-released The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey film and in preparation for teaching my "J.R.R. Tolkien: Hobbits, History, and Heroism" seminar at Lenoir-Rhyne University in the spring. Being the fan and student of Tolkien-inspired world music that I am, my thoughts have turned to Bilbo-centric songs.

So here are a few of my favorite Bilbo Baggins-centric (as opposed to merely Tolkien-related) songs from musicians around the world.

(No, Leonard Nimoy's "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" doesn't make the list. Ha!)


1. "Bilbo's Last Song," words by J.R.R. Tolkien, music by Stephen Oliver for the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (British)
The words make this one of my favorite songs, period.



2. "Accanto al Fuoco" (Bilbo's "I Sit Beside the Fire" Song), words by J.R.R. Tolkien translated into Italian, music by Lingalad from Voci dalla Terra di Mezzo (Voices from Middle-earth) (Italian)



3. "Bilbo's Song" (a.k.a. "The Old Walking Song"), words by J.R.R. Tolkien, music by The Tolkien Ensemble from An Evening in Rivendell (Danish)



4. "Eärendil" (Bilbo's poem as performed in the Hall of Fire in Rivendell), words by J.R.R. Tolkien, music by Andi Grimsditch from The Tolkien Song Cycle, Vol. 1 (Argentinian)

This version of "Eärendil" is by far the best, most moving adaptation of Bilbo's poem I've heard. It's heartbreakingly beautiful. (You can hear an excerpt from it here.)


5. "One More Time," lyrics and music by Hobbit (from Bilbo's point of view) from All for the One (U.S.)
(You can hear it here.)

I feel the wind upon my face now.
There's something strange about today.
I have to say, I can't believe this feelin':
A new adventure's gonna come my way.
I think I've found a destiny across the Brandywine.
Yeah, passing undetected, just one more time...


Honorable mention goes to Kevin Henry's U.S. country-folk theme album Bilbo's Great Adventure, which is a hoot and worth a listen here.
eldritchhobbit: (A is for Amy)
I can't believe tonight's the final lecture of my twelve-week graduate course. What a fantastic group of students I've had the privilege of working with! Next up: I'm going to spend the next week or so putting to bed my two outstanding projects, both of which have been wailing for my attention.

A few notes:

* Reminder: if you'd like a holiday card from me, please respond here. Thanks!

* You may recall that I was part of the filming of the Italian documentary Oltre la Frontiera (Beyond the Frontier) in South Dakota - in fact, the filmmakers, Francesco and Massimo Piccioli, were kind enough to give me third "actor" billing behind the fabulous star, my friend Giuseppe Festa. (I've made a new tag to organize my older posts about the project.) The film was shown last night to an enthusiastic crowd in Mantova, Italy, and I couldn't be happier. Giuseppe sent me pictures of the poster at the theater...

Oltre La Frontiera poster with name credits

Giuseppe in front of the Oltre La Frontiera poster.


* Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] adamantrealm, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] sneezythesquid, [livejournal.com profile] m_stiefvater, [livejournal.com profile] bibliotrope, [livejournal.com profile] crazywritergirl, [livejournal.com profile] rymfireebooks, and [livejournal.com profile] darchildre. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

* The entire score for The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey is now available streaming here.

* Martin Freeman wins everything:



"Mike was not official name; I had nicknamed him for Mycroft Holmes, in a story written by Dr. Watson before he founded IBM. This story character would just sit and think--and that's what Mike did. Mike was a fair dinkum thinkum, sharpest computer you'll ever meet."
- Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
eldritchhobbit: (TOS/dead Jim)
Happy Monday, everyone!

I'm pretty much buried under a couple of projects at the moment (including the Secret One of [Temporary] Secretness), so please forgive me if I'm quiet for the next few days. I'll be catching up with everyone ASAP.

A few quick notes of possible interest...

  • Wiley now has the official book description and ordering information posted for Star Trek and History (edited by Nancy Reagin), which includes my essay "If This Is The (Final) Frontier, Where Are The Natives?" Here's the tag: A guide to the history that informs the world of Star Trek — just in time for the next J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie!

    Here's the detailed description. )

  • Daniel Nexon - Potter Pundit, Georgetown Professor of Political Science, and inveterate blogger at "Duck of Minerva" - is now doing New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy, a most promising new podcast. I look forward to listening!

  • It looks like I'll be teaching two graduate courses this Spring. For Mythgard Institute (online and worldwide), "Science Fiction, Part 2: From the New Wave through Tomorrow." For Lenoir-Rhyne University, "J.R.R. Tolkien: Hobbits, History, and Heroism." (The latter will be cross-listed for undergraduates, as well.) I'm delighted!

  • I now have a proper Author's Central page at Amazon. You can go there and "like" it... if, you know, you like it.

  • As expected, Neil Gaiman and his fellow storytellers were amazing on the Unchained tour. We laughed, we cried... you get the idea.

  • I adore the new poster for The Hobbit. Don't miss the alternate endings for the trailer, too!

  • Last but not least, happy belated birthday to [livejournal.com profile] shagungu, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] xanath, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] curtana and [livejournal.com profile] litlover12. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!


I'll leave you with my dear niece Kaitlyn, out and about and having grand adventures:

Kaitlyn
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo corner wonder)
Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

Today is the anniversary of the Long-Expected Party celebrating Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday and Frodo's coming of age in The Lord of the Rings. Happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! It was on this day that Bilbo gave his infamous birthday speech, saying "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve," before disappearing from the Shire forever.

Also on this day, according to the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, 99-year-old Samwise Gamgee rode out from Bag End for the final time. He was last seen in Middle-Earth by his daughter Elanor, to whom he presented the Red Book. According to tradition, he then went to the Grey Havens and passed over the Sea, last of the Ringbearers.

And now, in honor of the Baggins Birthdays, the departure of Samwise, and Hobbits in general, here are a few of my favorite quotes from The Hobbit:

Happy Hobbitversary!

Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.
***

To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful.
***

It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait.
***

“I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air, I am he that walks unseen.
I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number.
I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me.
I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.” (Bilbo Baggins)
***

“There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” (Thorin Oakenshield)
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo walking)
Hi there! *waves* Lots of interesting things are afoot. I can only make brief mention of a couple of them at present, as I'm getting ready to head off to D.C. to give a talk on U.S. American Indian policy at the Cato Institute. It's a super-fast trip; I'll be back straightaway!

Brief notes of interest...

* It's official: The Hobbit will be three films instead of two.

* Happy birthday to Harry Potter (and J.K. Rowling)!

* The Hunger Games: Catching Fire casting offers one great surprise after another. Wiress? Beetee? Plutarch Heavensbee? Brilliant!


I'll leave you with gratuitous picspam of my precious niece. Here's Kaitlyn enjoying her new wading pool. I love her sassypants expression. If I could choose a caption for this photo, it would be...

"No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die." *insert baby Kaitlyn giggles here* (See why they don't let me near the family album?)

In the Pool



"I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remuneration, and so forth" - by which he meant: "What am I going to get out of it? and am I going to come back alive?" - The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo)
So many fantastic people were born on or around this day. Happy birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble, [livejournal.com profile] arymetore, [livejournal.com profile] caster121, and [livejournal.com profile] syrcleoftrees! And happy early birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] ghislainem70, [livejournal.com profile] tudorpumpkin, [livejournal.com profile] xjenavivex, [livejournal.com profile] lizziebelle, [livejournal.com profile] zmaddoc, [livejournal.com profile] supermusicmad, and [livejournal.com profile] wiccagirl24. May all of you enjoy a brilliant day, my dear friends, and a fabulous year to come!

A few quick items:

* I was offline much of yesterday due to a fun series of thunderstorms. I'm catching up now!

* Reason Papers: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Normative Studies has published (online and for free) a very special issue, Imagining Better: Philosophical Issues in Harry Potter, edited by Carrie-Ann Biondi and including essays by some terrific scholars, several of whom I'm glad to call friends as well as colleagues. You don't want to miss these essays if you're a student or fan of Harry Potter. Check out this brilliant issue and/or download it here!

* Speaking of the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble, whose birthday is today, she's the mistress of two great websites, including CI5 Addict (for The Professionals) and...



* This month I'm part of a four-person scholarly roundtable dialogue on "Liberty, Commerce, and Literature" featured at Cato Unbound here. The other participants are literary critics Sarah Skwire and Frederick Turner and Heinlein biographer William H. Patterson, Jr.


And last, the new Hobbit video blog. Two words: Beorn's Hall! \o/



"I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen. I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number. I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me. I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider."
- Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

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