I had fun doing the “Raw Hobbit” session with Tolkien fans at the MERPCon V gaming event on Saturday. Hawke Robinson has now uploaded the audio (and I think video) to the MERPCon Web site.
You can listen to me interview members of the audience in “Raw Hobbit”, which was inspired by William Shatner’s “Raw Nerve” talk show, where he sits in a chair that faces past his guest’s chair and they discuss tough subjects.
I still don’t see the video as I write this, but you should be able to watch “Raw Hobbit” here when the video becomes available. Hawke had some technical problems with the camera and he said he thought the video would be a bit rough.
“Raw Hobbit” lasted about 47 minutes. I do hear static in the audio feed, especially when my guests were talking. I wore the microphone and they had none. You should be able to hear most of what is said.
“Raw Hobbit” was broadcast live from the event and there were no scripts or cue cards.
I did my solo panel yesterday at MerpCon V and decided at the last moment to shake things up a bit. Instead of just doing another talk (I’ve done so many through the years) I decided to borrow a page from William Shatner’s book and reinvent myself as a talk show host.
So on a whim I set up two chairs in the presentation room ala Shatner’s “Raw Nerve” set and invited members of the audience to sit and talk with me. I asked them hard, pointed questions (well, as hard and pointed as I could think of on the spot with no preparation).
The people seemed to like it. Hawke Robinson, the organizer for MERPCon, recorded the session and should make it available somewhere down the road.
I enjoyed speaking with other fans and sharing the limelight. Later this morning (10:00 PM Pacific Time) I’ll be hosting a panel with young Tolkien fans. That session will be broadcast live as all MERPCon events are.
Some representatives from SpoCon 2009 dropped by to check out MERPCon. They’re interested in building a Tolkien track next year and are talking with Hawke. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.
Hawke and I will also be doing a live broadcast of Middle-earth Talk Radio tonight at 5:00 PM (Pacific Time Zone) from MERPCon. I hope you can check it out.
UPDATE: Due to changes to URLs, the most current versions of links to Middle-earth Talk Radio episodes will be found at Xenite.Org’s Middle-earth Talk Radio category.
MERPCon/Tolkien Moot V, to be held in Spokane, WA the weekend of July 24 -26, is the last of the series of five free gaming conventions that Hawke Robinson is hosting in Spokane, WA. This little gaming convention focuses on Tolkien-related gaming and provides guest lectures.
Each MERPCon has been broadcast live (in part or completely) over the Internet. This year you’ll be able to monitor the gaming via chat room, live Webcam, and with audio feeds. As this year’s guest speaker I will have a special presentation on Saturday, July 25. You’ll be able to watch it live and submit questions via the chat room. You can check the Web site for the schedule.
Next year Hawke be launching a convention called Tolkien Moot (not to be confused with any previous gatherings of that name). This convention will be membership-supported and should have expanded offerings, although gaming will still be an important part of the convention.
Hawke and I will do our first live broadcast for Middle-earth Talk Radio on Saturday. We may try to set up a phone-in guest. We’ll also host a Young Tolkien Fans panel on Sunday morning. Be sure to tune in.
Hawke and I just wrapped another episode of Middle-earth Talk Radio which he plans to make available for download before MERPCon. We’ve both been busy but we wanted to make an effort to do at least one more pre-recorded show before the convention.
In addition to MERPCon and Middle-earth Talk Radio, I’ve also been working on the Hobbit News Newsletter this year. I haven’t found much interesting news recently so there haven’t been any updates for a while. Nonetheless, I’ll try to do a special edition before I go on vacation next week.
And you may have heard about Xenite’s Lord of the Rings movie news site. The site has recently been redesigned and expanded. Now it will cover Hobbit Movie News, Guillermo del Toro News, and Tolkien News. Each section has its own archive of news reports.
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.
SF-Fandom is a fan-run moderated Web discussion community devoted to science fiction, fantasy, history, and mythology. Founded in 2001, SF-Fandom is part of the Xenite.Org Network of science fiction and fantasy Web sites.