The Hobbit

hobbitSeptember 22 has been designated International Hobbit Day to mark The birthdays of the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, in 2890 and 2968 respectively of the Third Age (1290 and 1368 respectively in Shire-Reckoning.) It is part of Tolkien Week. Which also celebrates the anniversary of the publishing of the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien which was published 21 September 1937. Although Tolkien himself never expected his stories to become so popular,  “The Hobbit” came to the attention of publishers George Allen & Unwin and they persuaded him to publish it. it went on to attract adult readers as well as children, and became popular enough for the publishers to ask Tolkien to produce a sequel. The Hobbit ay is perhaps the oldest running day celebrated by fans.

There is some debate on the date that Hobbit Day should be celebrated on, due to the differences in the Gregorian and Shire calendars. Tolkien once said that the Shire calendar is ahead by about ten days. A suggested alternative date by hardcore fans is September 14th. Although the day was not officially designated until 1978 and has had many names and designations, it has been celebrated since 1973, shortly after J.R.R. Tolkien died on September 2nd 1973.The Hobbit is Set in a time “Between the Dawn of Færie and the Dominion of Men”, and follows the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting quest of home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins who joins the Wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves including Thorin Okenshield, Oin, Gloin, Nori, Ori, Dori. Kili, Fili, Bifor, Bofur and Bombur on a dangerous journey to the Lonely Mountain, to reclaim the kingdom of Erabor and the many treasures which have been stolen by the dragon Smaug. Helping them are Lord Elrond of Rivendell, Beorn, Lady Galadriel of Lothlorien and Saruman wisest of the Istari. Along the way they encounter many hazards including the Cave Trolls Bert, Tom and William, Giant Spiders, Hordes of Orcs and Imprisonment by the Forest Elves of Mirkwood Forest. As if that wasn’t enough something decidedly dodgy is also going on in the Fortress of Dol Gulder, to the South-East of Mirkwood where an old and formidable enemy is stirring. The story reaches its climax during the Battle of Five Armies, where The men of Dale, The Elves of Mirkwood, The Dwarves of Erebor, Hordes of Orcs and the Eagles all try to reclaim the treasure stolen by Smaug

Hobbits, are typically between two and four feet tall and are nothing like your usual ‘hero’, but nonetheless manage to accomplish great feats and amazing acts of courage During The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It is in honour of these creatures and those acts that the day is celebrated with events not unlike the birthday party described in the beginning of “The Fellowship of the Ring”.In the United States Hobbit Day has gained some measure of legal dignity due to the elected officials who support the day and the goals of the American Tolkien Society. The Day has also attracted Bipartisan Support from places as the U.S. County Courthouse, to the White House, to the U.S. Capitol. Fans celebrate by anything from going barefoot all day and having seven meals, to Literary discussions and readings, Lord Of The Rings Movie Marathons, and throwing parties in honour of the ‘Long Awaited Party’ at the start of the Fellowship Of The Ring with events such as feasts, games, costumes and fireworks.

Director Peter Jackson’s turned The Hobbit into an exciting film trilogy, starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Sir Ian Mckellen as Gandalf, Sylvester McCoy as Radagast, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel and Barry Humphies as The Goblin King. They have expanded the story by including some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings and Unfinished Tales, in order to tell more of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer and the Battle of Dol Guldur. However Some worried that while The Lord of the Rings which consisted of three parts totalling 1,008 pages could be adapted into three separate films, The Hobbit, is only 310 pages long and may require rewriting and the addition of new scenes and characters in order to stretch it over three films. Howard Shore did the Theme Music, and Alan Lee’s Concept art was used as well.

Stephen King

American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy Stephen Edwin King was born September 21, 1947 . His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books. King has published 50 novels, including seven under the pen-name ofRichard Bachman, and five non-fiction books. He has written nearly two hundred short stories, most of which have been collected in nine collections of short fiction. Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine.King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, British Fantasy SocietyAwards, his novella The Way Station was a Nebula Award novelette nominee, and his short story “The Man in the Black Suit” received the O. Henry Award. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his whole career, such as the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement (2004), the Canadian Booksellers Association Lifetime Achievement Award 2007 and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America (2007)

Some have suggested that king may have been psychologically inspired to write horror when, as a child, King apparently witnessed one of his friends being struck and killed by a train, after which King returned, speechless and seemingly in shock. Only later did the family learn of the friend’s death. King also compared his sudden inspiration for writing horror to his uncle’s successfully dowsing for water. He Was also inspired by an H. P. Lovecraft collection of short stories, entitled The Lurker in the Shadows, that had belonged to his father. The cover art featured an illustration of a yellow-green demon hiding within the recesses of a Hellish cavern beneath a tombstone.

King attended Durham Elementary School and graduated from Lisbon Falls High School, in Lisbon Falls, Maine. He displayed an early interest in horror as an avid reader of EC’s horror comics, including Tales from the Crypt. He began writing for fun while still in school, contributing articles to Dave’s Rag, the newspaper his brother published, and later began selling to his friends stories based on movies he had seen (though when discovered by his teachers, he was forced to return the profits). The first of his stories to be independently published was “I Was a Teenage Grave Robber”; it was serialized over four issues of a fanzine, Comics Review, in 1965. That story was published the following year in a revised form as “In a Half-World of Terror” in another fanzine, Stories of Suspense.

From 1966, King studied English at the University of Maine, graduating in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. That same year, his first daughter, Naomi Rachel, was born. He wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Maine Campus, titled “Steve King’s Garbage Truck”, took part in a writing workshop organized by Burton Hatlen, and took odd jobs to pay for his studies. He sold his first professional short story, “The Glass Floor”, to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967.After leaving the university, King earned a certificate to teach high school but, initially supplemented his wage by selling short stories to men’s magazines such as Cavalier. Many of which have been republished in the collection Night Shift. In 1971, King married Tabitha Spruce, whom he had met at the University’s Fogler Library after one of Professor Hatlen’s workshops. King was hired as a teacher at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. He continued to contribute short stories to magazines and worked on ideas for novels.

In the late 1970s, King began what became a series of interconnected stories about a lone gunslinger, Roland, who pursues the “Man in Black” in an alternate-reality universe that is a cross between J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and the American Wild West as depicted by Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone in their spaghetti Westerns. The first of these stories, The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, was initially published in five installments by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction from 1977 to 1981. The Gunslinger was continued as an eight-book epic series called The Dark Tower, which books King wrote and published infrequently over four decades ]In 1987, King released the second installment, The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three, in which Roland draws three people from 20th-century United States into his world through magical doors. A hardcover limited edition of the revised version of The Gunslinger along with a prequel story set in the Dark Tower world called “The Little Sisters of Eluria” was also published (which was originally published in 1998 in the collection Legends: Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy) in 2009.

In October 2005, King signed a deal with Marvel Comics to publish a seven-issue limited series spin-off of the series called The Gunslinger Born. The series, which focuses on a young Roland Deschain, was plotted by Robin Furth, with dialogue by Peter David, and illustrated by Eisner Award-winning artist Jae Lee. The first issue was published on February 7, 2007, and King, David, Lee, and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada appeared at a midnight signing at a Times Square, New York comic book store to promote it. The work had sold over 200,000 copies by March 2007. The success of The Gunslinger Born led to an ongoing miniseries published by Marvel, with Furth and David continuing to collaborate, featuring both adapted material from the Dark Tower books and new material approved by King; it also led to a second series of King adaptations in the same format, serializing the events of The Stand. In 2008, King published both a novel, Duma Key, and a collection, Just After Sunset. The latter featured 13 short stories, including a novella, N., which was later released as a serialized animated series And adopted into a limited comic book series.

In 2009, King published Ur, a novella written exclusively for the launch of the second-generation Amazon Kindle and available only on Amazon.com, and Throttle, a novella co-written with his son Joe Hill, and released later as an audiobook Road Rage, which included Richard Matheson’s short story “Duel”. On November 10 that year, King’s novel Under the Dome was published. It is a reworking of an unfinished novel he tried writing twice in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and at 1,074 pages, it is the largest novel he has written since 1986’s It. It debuted at No. 1 in The New York Times Bestseller List.

In 2010 King published a collection of four previously unpublished novellas called Full Dark, No Stars, an original novella called Blockade Billy, and A monthly comic book series called American Vampire, written by King with short-story writer Scott Snyder, and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque. In it King wrote the background history of the very first American vampire, Skinner Sweet, and Scott Snyder wrote the story of Pearl. King’s next novel, 11/22/63, was published November 8, 2011, and was nominated for the 2012 World Fantasy Award Best Novel. The eighth Dark Tower volume, The Wind Through the Keyhole, was published in 2012. King’s next book is Joyland, a novel about “an amusement-park serial killer”, was, published on April 8, 2012, followed by the sequel to The Shining (1977), titled Doctor Sleep, published September 2013. His novel Under the Dome has also been adapted for television.

H.G. Wells

war-of-the-worldsEnglish author, Herbert George “H. G.” Wells was born 21st September 1866 in Bromley, Kent. He is best known for his work in the science fiction genre but also wrote contemporary novels about, history, politics and social commentary, as well as textbooks and rules for war games. Together with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, Wells has been referred to as “The Father of Science Fiction”. His most notable science fiction works include The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau & his earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context.

Wells became interested in literature after an accident in 1874 left Him with a broken leg. To pass the time he started reading books from the local library, brought to him by his father. He soon became devoted to the other worlds and lives to which books gave him access; they also stimulated his desire to write. In 1874 he entered Thomas Morley’s Commercial Academy, until 1880. From 1880 to 1883, Wells had an unhappy apprenticeship as a draper at the Southsea Drapery Emporium. This later inspired the novels The Wheels of Chance and Kipps, which portray the life of a draper’s apprentice as well as providing a critique of society’s distribution of wealth. In October 1879 Wells joined the National School at Wookey in Somerset as a pupil-teacher. After a short apprenticeship at a chemist in nearby Midhurst, and an even shorter stay as a boarder at Midhurst Grammar School, Who offered him the opportunity to become a pupil-teacher, where his proficiency in Latin and science enabled him to continue his self-education in earnest. In 1880 Wells won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science (later the Royal College of Science in South Kensington, now part of Imperial College London) in London,

studying biology under Thomas Henry Huxley (Who was an English biologist known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution) and also entered the Debating Society of the school. Whilst at the Imperial College he read The Republic by Plato, whose ideas interested him. He also turned to contemporary ideas of socialism as expressed by the recently formed Fabian Society and free lectures delivered at Kelmscott House, the home of William Morris. He also helped establish the Science School Journal, which allowed him to express his views on literature and society, as well as trying his hand at fiction: the first version of his novel The Time Machine was published in the journal under the title, The Chronic Argonauts. Wells also entered the College of Preceptors (College of Teachers). He later received his Licentiate and Fellowship FCP diplomas from the College. Wells earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of London External Programme, In 1889–90 he managed to find a post as a teacher at Henley House School where he taught A. A. Milne.

Wells’s first non-fiction bestseller was Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought. Some of his early novels, invented a number of themes now classic in science fiction in such works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon, and wrote dozens of short stories and novellas, the best known of which is “The Country of the Blind” (1904) ands some of these also inspired Science Fiction Television- His short story “The New Accelerator” was also the inspiration for the Star Trek episode Wink of an Eye. Wells also wrote non fiction novels which received critical acclaim, including Kipps, Tono-Bungay, The Outline of History, A Short History of the World, The Science of Life and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind and wrote a number of Utopian novels including A Modern Utopia, which usually begin with the rushing to catastrophe, until a solution is found – such as abandoning war (In the Days of the Comet) or having a world council of scientists taking over, as in The Shape of Things to Come, which was later adapted for the 1936 Alexander Korda film, Things to Come. Wells also contemplated the ideas of nature versus nurture and questions humanity in books such as The Island of Doctor Moreau, where a person discovers an island of animals being vivisected unsuccessfully into human beings, and tries to escape,

Things to come

JEFF WAYNE’S WAR OF THE WORLDS (PART ONE)

JEFF WAYNE’S WAR OF THE WORLDS (PART TWO) 

In 1936, Wells called for the compilation of a constantly growing and changing World Encyclopaedia, to be reviewed by outstanding authorities and made accessible to every human being. In 1938, he published a collection of essays on the future organisation of knowledge and education, World Brain, including the essay, “The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopaedia”. Seeking a more structured way to play war games, Wells also wrote Floor Games followed by Little Wars which is recognised today as the first recreational wargame and Wells is regarded by gamers and hobbyists as “the Father of Miniature War Gaming”.

He was also an outspoken socialist, often sympathising with pacifist views and becoming increasingly political and often wrote about the ills of Society leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and wrote abundantly about the “New Woman” and the Suffragettes. His most consistent political ideal was the World State, which he considered inevitable. He envisioned the state to be a planned society that would advance science, end nationalism, and allow people to progress by merit rather than birth, Wells also believed in the theory of eugenics and Some contemporary supporters even suggested connections between the degenerate man-creatures portrayed in The Time Machine and Wells’s eugenic beliefs. Wells also brought his interest in Art & Design and politics together which led to the foundation of the Design and Industries Association. In his last book Mind at the End of its Tether he considered the idea that humanity being replaced by another species might not be a bad idea. He also came to call the era “The Age of Frustration”.

During his final years he began to be particularly outspoken in his criticism of the Catholic Church, he was also a diabetic, and in 1934 co-founded what is now Diabetes UK, the leading charity for people living with diabetes in the UK. On 28 October 1940 Wells was interviewed by Orson Welles, who two years previously had performed an infamous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, on KTSA radio in San Antonio, Texas. In the interview, Wells admitted his surprise at the widespread panic that resulted from the broadcast, but acknowledged his debt to Welles for increasing sales of one of his “more obscure” titles. Wells sadly passed away on 13 August 1946 at his home in London, aged 79. In his preface to the 1941 edition of The War in the Air, Wells had stated that his epitaph should be: “I told you so. You damned fools”. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 16 August 1946, his ashes scattered at sea. A commemorative blue plaque in his honour was installed at his home in Regent’s Park.