Midmoot 2015

Peasants Breaking Bread from Livre du roi Modus et de la reine Ratio, 14th century

from Livre du roi Modus et de la reine Ratio, 14th century

Note: This event took place in the past. This page is an archive of information about the event.

Mythgard Midatlantic Speculative Fiction Symposium on Facebook
Mythgard Midatlantic Speculative Fiction Symposium
When: Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, 10 am – 5pm EDT
Where:  University of Maryland
Tawes Fine Arts Building, Room 1100
College Park, MD (MAP)
Cost: $10 per person (additional donation suggested; does not include meals)

Join Mythgardians from all over for a full day of fun and fellowship as they discuss interesting aspects in the realm of speculative fiction.

Special guests will include Signum University President Dr. Corey Olsen and Mythgard professor Dr. Verlyn Flieger. Dr. Olsen has taught a number of courses on J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Chaucer, and fantasy literature, and he is the author of Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit. Dr. Flieger is a world-renowned Tolkien scholar, Mythgard lecturer, and the author of numerous works, including Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World.

The symposium will start begin with a set of talks and Q&A sessions in the morning. After a short break for lunch, additional talks will be held until about 5pm.

The topics of the three panels to be held during the symposium are:

  • Tolkien
  • Other Speculative Fiction
  • Speculative Fiction Across Media

After the symposium, participants who wish to do so will adjourn to a local eatery for a hearty meal, with lots of discussion and fellowship. (Meal location TBD.) Please note that meals are not included in the registration fee.

The cost of registration is $10 per person to help offset costs of the event. An additional donation of $10 or more is suggested for those who can afford it.

We hope to see you there!

Symposium Schedule

10-10:15 a.m.: Welcome and Introduction

Session 1: Tolkien

10:15 a.m. Dominic Nardi — “Feanor the demagogue: How to adapt politics in the Silmarillion for the SilmFilm Project”

10:40 a.m. Tom Hillman — “Hobbit Verses Versus Verses By Hobbits.”

11:05 a.m. Marie Prosser — “One Word Trivia!”

11:30 a.m. Trevor Brierly — “Last words on Faerie from Tolkien?”

11:55 a.m.-1:10 p.m. Break for Lunch

Session 2: Other Speculative Literature

1:10 p.m. Dr. Flieger on Kullervo (moderated by Carl Hostetter)

1:35 p.m. April Neal Kluever — “Gods and Aliens in Tolkien and Lovecraft”

2:00 p.m. Kevin Hensler — “Consideration of the Strange and Sophisticated Materialist Theology of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Series”

2:25 p.m. Dr. Dan McMahon — “Narrative Strategies in Ted Chiang’s Speculative Fiction”

2:50-3:10 p.m.: Break

Session 3: Speculative Fiction Across Media

3:10 p.m. Michael Therway — “The Sarlacc, The Rancor, and Jabba the Hutt–George Lucas’s Trifurcated Dragon”

3:35 p.m. Neil Ottenstein — “Prophecy from Oedipus Rex to Babylon 5”

4:00 p.m. Thomas Johnson — “Into the Woods and Adaptation: An Anti-Disney Musical becomes a Disney Film”

4:25 p.m. Brandon Minich — “Those Perilous Peaks: Twin Peaks as a dark faerie story”

4:50-5:00 p.m. Thanks, wrap-up, directions to dinner

Speaker Bios

Verlyn Flieger is an author, editor, and professor emerita in the Department of English at the University of Maryland at College Park. She teaches courses in comparative mythology, medieval literature and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Flieger holds an M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1977) from The Catholic University of America, and has been associated with the University of Maryland since 1976. In 2012, Flieger began teaching Arthurian studies at Signum University.  Her best-known books are Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World (1983; revised edition, 2002); A Question of Time: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Road to Faerie, which won the 1998 Mythopoeic Award for Inklings studies; Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien’s Mythology (2005) and Green Suns and Faërie (2012), a collection of her published essays on Tolkien. She has edited a critical edition of Tolkien’s short work “Smith of Wootton Major” and is co-editor with Douglas A. Anderson of the critical edition of “On Fairy-Stories,” Tolkien’s seminal essay on myth and fantasy. She is also editor of Tolkien’s early short story, The Story of Kullervo, which was published on August 27 by HarperCollins. She won the Mythopoeic Award for Inklings Studies a second time in 2002 for Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth, which she co-edited with Carl F. Hostetter. Flieger has also published young adult fantasy novels, including Pig Tale and The Inn at Corbies’ Caww, as well as short stories. With Michael D. C. Drout and David Bratman, she is co-editor of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review.”

Corey Olsen is the President of Signum University and the Mythgard Institute. On his teaching website, The Tolkien Professor, Professor Olsen brings his scholarship on Tolkien to the public, seeking to engage a wide and diverse audience in serious intellectual and literary conversation. His website features a series of detailed lectures on The Hobbit, and recordings of the weekly meetings of the Silmarillion Seminar, which has been working its way through the Silmarillion chapter by chapter, as well as more informal Q&A sessions with listeners. His book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, was published by Houghton Mifflin in September 2012. Corey Olsen obtained his B.A in English and Astrophysics from Williams College in 1996, going on to Columbia University where he obtained his M.A. in 1997, M.Phil in 2000, and his Ph.D in medieval literature in 2003. Upon graduation from Columbia University, Olsen obtained teaching positions at Temple University, Columbia University, Nyack College and Washington College. His undergraduate and graduate teaching subjects included J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthurian literature, Chaucer, and Sir Thomas Malory.

Carl F. Hostetter is a Computer Engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Since 1989, he has been the editor and publisher of Vinyar Tengwar, a journal devoted to the scholarly study of Tolkien’s invented languages. He also serves as a member of the appointed group of editors of Tolkien’s linguistic papers, whose ongoing work is published in Vinyar Tengwar and (chiefly) in Parma Eldalamberon, edited by Christopher Gilson.

N. Trevor Brierly tells computers what to do for a living, but has wide-ranging interests in literature (especially Tolkien), religion, history, science, technology and art. He has a BA in English from George Mason University and an MLIS from University of Texas-Austin and is working on a degree from Signum University. He is currently working on a book of meditations for people who are recovering from spiritual abuse and a monograph on Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright. He lives in Northern Virginia with 4 miniature tigers, 3,000 books and an extremely patient spouse.

Kevin Hensler is a doctoral student in Biblical Studies at the School of Theology and Religious Studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., as well as an adjunct professor of religious studies at Marymount University, where he currently teaches courses entitled Theological Inquiry and The Religions of the World. He is also a lifelong Tolkien fan. Most of his work focuses on ancient Near Eastern mythology, but he is pleased to use the skills he has developed working in his field to dig deeper into the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and other speculative fiction, which has made such a large impact on him.

Sørina Higgins is a writer, editor, English teacher, and Inklings scholar. She has edited The Chapel of the Thorn by Charles Williams and an academic collection entitled The Inklings and King Arthur. She has published one full-length poetry collection, Caduceus, and one poetry chapbook, The Significance of Swans. She is Book Review Editor of Sehnsucht: The C. S. Lewis Journal and the host of a local writers’-and-artists’ fellowship.

Born and raised in New York City, Tom Hillman took his undergraduate and graduate degrees at NYU and Fordham University. For some years he had the great pleasure of teaching Latin, Greek, and Ancient History at colleges in the northeast. Currently he is working his way through Beowulf in Old English, and looking forward to Old Norse. He loves baseball and books and the music of the sea.

Thomas Johnson earned his Master of Arts in English Literature from the Catholic University of America in May 2014. His interests (both in the classroom and out of it) include speculative fiction, film adaptation, and the study of serialized television and its relationship to literature. Thomas has been taking this year to publish academically and attend conferences like this one, in preparation for applying to PhD programs this Fall. His essay “‘Live in the lie for a while’: Closure in Angel: After the Fall” is featured in The Comics of Joss Whedon: Selected Essays, which was published by McFarland this past June. His article “‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’: The Corporate Transformation of The Little Mermaid” is forthcoming from Journal of American Studies of Turkey. His article “‘Now that I see him, I do pity him’: Gollum’s literary and cinematic development(s)” has been accepted in proposal form by the Journal of Tolkien Research for its upcoming special issue on Tolkien and adaptation. Thomas has presented at the last two Mythmoot conferences, participated in the Mythgard Academy classes on Watership Down and The Princess Bride, and has written articles for the Signum Eagle. He currently works as an online writing tutor for Smarthinking, a subsidiary of Pearson Publishing.

April Neal Kluever received her dual Bachelor of Arts degrees (history and biological chemistry) from Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA) and her Ph.D. in Toxicology from Johns Hopkins University. By day, April works as a board-certified toxicologist specializing in the unique characteristics of the infant lifestage. By night (and weekends) she has extensive hands-on training with master infant Evelyn Curie Kluever. When not under Evie’s tutelage, April dabbles in speculative fiction through participation in the classes and events held by Mythgard and Signum University. April initiated her speculative fiction journey by attending Mythmoot 2013 and has completed 5 Signum University courses (Chaucer 2014, Harry Potter, 2014, LotR: Cultural Studies 2014, Beowulf 2015, and Lovecraft 2015) as well as several Mythgard Academy offerings. She was also the first literary presenter at DC NerdNite (nerdnite.com) in January, 2014, when she presented on the topic of Tolkien’s Remarkable Subcreation.

Daniel McMahon is the principal at DeMatha Catholic High School, where he teaches World Literature. Dr. McMahon did his undergraduate work at Mt. St. Mary’s College and he received degrees in philosophy and English. He did graduate work at University of Notre Dame, Yale University, and Columbia University before receiving his doctorate in English from the University of Maryland with a dissertation on mythology and utopia directed by Verlyn Flieger. Dr. McMahon has been the recipient of five National Endowment for the Humanities grants and a Japan Fulbright Memorial Teacher’s Award Dr. McMahon has reviewed extensively for Washington Post and scholarly journals; he has presented numerous papers on literary scholarship across the country, refereed articles for scholarly journals, and has given workshops on pedagogy and writing throughout the region. This past April he was one of a select group of Catholic high school teachers nationwide to receive an award for Educational Excellence from the National Catholic Educational Association. His blog on education and pedagogy is found at pulpteacher.wordpress.com. Dr. McMahon and his wife share their home with Copper, a three-legged Chesapeake Bay Retriever with questionable hygiene and remarkable narcissism, and Milo, a Fox Red Lab of boundless energy and dubious judgment. Copp_n_Doc_n_Milo is an Instagram account that tells of their adventures.

Brandon Minich is a computer programmer who has been interested in Tolkien ever since his dad read the Hobbit to his family. This lead to an interest in fantastic literature and media of all kinds, including mysterious and slightly creepy stories like Twin Peaks. He lives in the Frederick area of Maryland with his two cats.

Dominic J. Nardi, Jr., is a lawyer and political scientist who specializes in constitutional law and human rights. He has worked as a consultant in Southeast Asia on political reform for NGOs and USAID. In his spare time, Dominic studies political institutions in speculative fiction. He recently wrote an article analyzing the politics of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth for Mythlore (Vol. 33(1)). He also writes about Star Wars for Legendarium Media. More of Dominic’s writing can be found at domnardireviews.wordpress.com or on Twitter @NardiViews.”

Neil Ottenstein received a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from University of Maryland at College Park (1990) and since then he has been working in flight dynamics for one Goddard Space Flight Center contractor or another. Neil has been reading science fiction and fantasy for most of his life, and going to science fiction conventions since 1980. When he was President of the Swarthmore Warders of Imaginative Literature – the science fiction and fantasy club at Swarthmore College – his title was “Ghod Emperor of SWIL.”

Marie Prosser first read The Lord of the Rings when she was 12, and you all can figure out what happened from there.

Mike Therway is a Senior IT project manager with the FDIC. Mike lives in Alexandria, VA, with his wife and 7-year-old son. He enjoys reading, gardening, swimming, and the Boston Red Sox. He’s a Silmarillionaire, a base-born mortal, and has never missed a MythMoot.