Recent Rivendell Topics 1997-2007

Our scheduled monthly discussions during 1997 have included:
All Saturdays, 1:30 p.m., in Coffman Union 355 (U of MN-MPLS campus) unless otherwise noted:


Jan. 25. Topic: Owl in Love, by Patrice Kindl.
OWL IN LOVE is the 1995 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award-winning book, which received many very positive reviews. It was published as a "YA" book, a "young adult" children's book, though I think that many adults could read it without recognizing that (like Le Guin's Wizard of Earthsea). It's a little off-beat, the story of an adolescent were-owl, obsessed with her high school homeroom teacher. I was so taken with the opening paragraphs that I sat down and read it straight through, a couple of years ago after bringing it home from the public library--it only took a couple of hours or so. Kindl's book would be in most big children's departments of thepublic libraries, and there was also a paperback edition (try Uncle Hugo's or Dreamhaven or The Red Balloon if it's already vanished from the shelves of the big bookstore chains). I think that it will also make a good subject for a discussion, as it is the sort of book that could easily be read in different ways, and the decisions that Kindl made in creating the world of the story couldbe second-guessed in many respects. Indeed, we did have a pretty good discussion of this book.

Feb. 15. Topic: Exile's Song, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
We had a good discussion of the Heritage of Hastur sequence that includes this new book, I hope to write up a brief synopsis of our discussion in the near future.

March activities at Minicon, March 28-30, the annual Minnesota Science Fiction Convention, at the Radisson South Hotel..
Minicon was the last weekend in March, we held a discussion of Jane Yolen's new "Young Merlin" trilogy, beginning with the book Pasager, continuing with Hobby, and concluding with Merlin. Jane was present for the discussion. These are very short books, based originally upon stories that appeared in her colleciton Merlin's Booke. (Try that if you can't find the new books).

We also co-hosted (with Second Foundation) a discussion of C.J. Cherryh's fiction.

Our "Tolkien 101" panel discussion of one of our favorite authors, as an introduction to his works, to Tolkien fandom, and to our upcoming "BREE MOOT 3." featured authors Ruth Berman and Patricia C. Wrede, and book dealer and scholar Phil Kaveny, along with David Lenander.

April 12. Topic: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by Mark Twain, plus a film or two based on this book.
This is the classic ironic fantasy, or satire, by perhaps the greatest American writer--

admittedly, not his greatest work. But interesting and fun to read!

We'll probably look at one of the movies....

July 26 Special Meeting at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, , at Diversicon TOPIC: Tim Powers' Expiration Date.

August 23rd meeting at Mike's & Marianne's, Denny Lien will present an informal review of some Fantasy scholarship non-fiction reference works.

Sept. 20, we will be celebrating Bilbo's and Frodo's birthdays with another Birthday Party, including filksinging & other Tolkien fan activities. 1:30 p.m. in Fridley, MN. (a northern suburb of Mpls)

Special SUNDAY, September 28, Noon Rivendell discussion of one or more works by James Branch Cabell at Arcana, with guest of honor Neil Gaiman.




In this photograph by Mike Dorn (used by permission), Neil Gaiman's MFA statuette, (sometimes fondly known as the "Aslan") is pictured between two of his books, the unillustrated edition of Stardust--the award was made this year for the illustrated version--and his collection of short pieces, Smoke and Mirrors, which was also on the preliminary list this year for the MFA. (The candles were to match those on the Smoke & Mirrors cover). That's the Rivendell Group banner in the back. Sorry, I should've thought about the fact that a darker background would've set off the MFA better. Neil's previous novel, Neverwhere, was a finalist last year for the MFA. A good web-page devoted to Neil can be found at The Dreaming: the Neil Gaiman Page: Photo was taken at the September Rivendell Group discussion (the Bilbo Baggins Birthday Party). See a closeup photo of the award on the Bird & Baby site.

November 20 topic: Peg Kerr will join us for a discussion of her recent novel, The Wild Swans. Southeast Public Library, 1222 Fourth Ave. SE, diagonal from Dreamhaven in Dinkytown. Off-street parking available. 1 p.m. We've heard chapters from it at past "Readings from Rivendell" meetings. I certainly enjoyed reading it, and people are talking about nominating it for our Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, as well as other awards. Several Rivendellers are thanked in the author's note at the end of the book. Peg's been getting some amazing reviews, check some out from links on her web-page.



a panel discussion featuring experts on and writers of children's fantasy.

FROM HOBBITS TO HARRY POTTER: Children's Fantasy since Tolkien

Confirmed panelists as of this writing are:

This program will be co-sponsored by the Southdale Public Library, the
Rivendell Group of the Mythopoeic Society and The Minnesota Science Fiction
Society (Minn-Stf).



[Pictured in foreground: Angelo and Jason talk Tolkien at the 2002 Hobbits' Birthday Party].


FALL 2004


Photos from our discussion in January 2004, a joint meeting with Second Foundation and The Minnesota Tolkien Society:

We had a good discussion of Peter Jackson's Return of the King.




FALL 2005

Winter-SPRING 2006

FALL 2006

Winter-Spring 2007

June? July? what did we do?

Fall 2007



For which Rivendell was joined by the Minnesota Tolkien Society. This was at an Off-campus location.


Saturday, September 20, 1:00 p.m.

The Rivendell Group
met-partied with The Minnesota Tolkien Society
at a private home in. Fridley, MN 55413.  .


See photos from past years at

And here are some 2005 photos:

 The Rivendell Group assembled at a private home to celebrate and talk about things Tolkien, from the original Hobbit to the new films.  People began to arrive about 1:00, and talked for most of the afternoon.

For a program , I think we read one or two of Margaret Howes's short stories in her "Tales Told by the Lonely Mountain."  Margaret died earlier this year, but her stories in this series were probably the best things she wrote.  Three of them appeared in The Tolkien Scrapbook, and we read from that.  After that, people read their own Tolkien-inspired poems or sang songs, not necessarily pastiche or "set" in Middle-earth, but responding to or inspired by JRRT.  Ruth read her Tolkien memorium poems from The Tolkien Scrapbook. Others similiarly read or spoke. David Emerson accompanied us on a singing through of the Donald Swann-composed "Road Goes Ever On" song cycle, based upon Tolkien's Middle-earth poems (and approved by JRRT).
No need to bring anything (though Tolkien memorabilia to show off is always appropriate!  And bring any copies of the Swann/Tolkien Road Goes Ever On and The Middle-earth Song Book--or the like).  I expect to provide tea, coffee and probably other non-alcoholic beverages, and some form of snacks, and at some point I will probably have some more substantial food (in the past we've had lasagna and hot dishes) and you are welcome to bring something if you want to share.  In the past we've had some teenagers, possibly some younger, so bring kids if you like, there's lots of room to run around outside. They've tended to play board games or watch videos.  Any smoking will have to be outside.

If it rains or is too cold, we'll watch more Tolkien-related videos and/or listen to audio recordings, or just talk.  But if it's a fairly nice day, it may be perfect for watching the river flow by and walking around the Banfill Locke grounds, so perhaps some will go for a walk.  In the past we've often had music from such members as Mark Heiman or Greg Bohen, so feel free to bring along your guitar or tin whistle if you want to share your music, which need not be Tolkien inspired.


Saturday, May 8, 2010, at 1:30 at the Southeast Community Library, 1222 4th St. SE Minneapolis, MN (in "Dinkytown," near the U of M Mpls campus). Library phone: 952-847-2728. I previously sent a .pdf of a flyer for this meeting, so hopefully you were able to read the details there. Here are a few more. Plus additional news.

Sharin Schroeder read her paper-in-progress, working title is "'It is enough to make the dead rise out of their graves!': Tolkien, Oliphant, and Gendered Conventions of the Supernatural." She writes: "In my paper for the panel on Tolkien Un-bodied, I will begin with Oliphant's novella in order to discuss the gendered roots of discussions about the fantastic and the spiritual that spilled over into modern fantasy from eighteenth and nineteenth-century literary criticism. As we know from "On Fairy Stories," Tolkien saw a reason to intertwine the religious and the fantastic while at the same time wishing to separate the fantastic from the childish. Tolkien is attempting to counteract a narrative of the fantastic that associates both the religious and the preternatural with women and children. After framing the terms of the debate, I then examine moments in _The Lord of the Rings_ where the spirit meets the incarnate, particularly in the narrative of the Paths of the Dead."

Assuming that you've read the Tolkien, you might want to look at the novella by Margaret Oliphant, _A Beleaguered City_, which you can find on the web, since it was originally published in 1880 and is long out of copyright. Or I could probably send you the text as an attachment to an e-mail if you like. I found some notes about Margaret Oliphant on the web today--check out _A Beleaguered City_ is a pretty short novel, and I thought it wonderful. But it's written in Victorian language and style, and some readers today may be quite put off by it--at least one former Rivendeller was quite emphatic about that.

Return to Rivendell. Back to the Bird & Baby. This page is maintained by David Lenander, please forward comments or criticism to

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.