Guest at Norwescon 32

I haven’t made a big fuss about it but I will be a guest at this year’s NorWesCon 32 here in the Seattle area over the weekend of April 9 – 12. I don’t yet know what my schedule will be but I’ve been accepted on the basis of my books about J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle-earth.

All my convention appearances have been based on my Tolkien-related work, although I have certainly engaged on other professional (and amateur) SF writing projects. NorWesCon doesn’t get much programming relevant to Tolkien so I’m looking forward to participating on panels where Tolkien discussion will be welcome.

I tried to get John Rateliffe (The History of the Hobbit) onto the guest list but I suppose I waited too long to contact him. By the time he responded to my message it was too late, I think. It would have been fun to sit a panel with him focusing on Tolkien. Maybe next year. We did get to speak together at MerpCon in Spokane last summer. He’s a cool guy and has a deep appreciation of fantasy role-playing games as well as Tolkien.

Rateliff’s work has opened my eyes (and those of many other people, I am sure) about some surprising things in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fiction. Until I read The History of The Hobbit I had no idea of just how closely related to The Silmarillion Tolkien’s Hobbit originally was. Of course, the book evolved through the years and through several editions. The official story today is very different from the original story Tolkien composed for his children.

As happens with so many of Tolkien’s stories, fans have engaged in some pretty silly arguments about the minutiae of The Hobbit. I was amused and somewhat disappointed to learn that The History of The Hobbit didn’t lay to rest some of the more esoteric controversies, but that was the thing about J.R.R. Tolkien: he was more concerned with writing stories than he was with anticipating and resolving conflicts that would arise decades after his death.

I’m looking forward to the convention. It should be fun. And if my schedule permits I’ll try to do some more conventions in the great Northwest. I hope to see you there.

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