0n July 23, award‑winning author and New York
Times best‑selling author Neil Gaiman visited the Merril Collection,
reading from his new book, American
Gods, and signing Gaiman paraphernalia belonging to more than 200
Gaiman's appointment with what one HarperCollins
Publishers representative called his "hard‑core fans" at
the Merril was part of the American
Gods book tour, which began on June 17 and took him around the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The event at the Merril was announced at the end of
May on Gaiman's website http://www.neilgaiman.com,
shortly before the Merril Collection and Bakka Books ‑ the two ticket
agents for the show ‑ had confirmed the date with HarperCollins.
When an article and review of American Gods was published in the Globe and Mail newspaper two
days before the actual event (and long after all the tickets had been sold
out), Merril was getting about 10 calls per hour from people asking if any
tickets were still available.
One of those callers was Lucy DeJesus, who came to Toronto from Brooklyn by train to see her favourite
writer after she missed a signing in New York.
"I've been into Neil since I heard his name
through Tori Amos songs," said DeJesus. She got hooked to the Sandman comic books and read all his
other works. "I'm not an avid reader, so it became apparent that I
must love his work because I kept reading everything."
But DeJesus didn't know that because of the limited
seating available, she had to reserve a ticket in advance for $2.50. And
tickets had sold out within two weeks of the announcement of his tour date
at the Merril. Luckily for DeJesus, another patron cancelled their ticket.
really lucky to have gotten here," said DeJesus.
Gaiman arrived a little before
with his consort of HarperCollins reps and author Nalo Hopkinson, with whom
he had just had dinner.
Hopkinson took the podium to introduce Gaiman in what
Gaiman jokingly called in his blogg, an online on‑the‑road
journal, "a transparent and blatant attempt to get the people to go
out and buy her books." (If you
haven’t read it already, go read if. A great book! ‑‑ ed.)
Hopkinson's book Midnight Robber has
been nominated for a Hugo award.
Gaiman, a rather ominous‑looking figure in
black who is, to the contrary, quite charming and friendly, opened by
describing the American Gods tour,
which would end in two days time.
The itinerary described on his website often lists
more than one major signing location per day in some cities such as New York, and does not include drop‑in
signings and interviews with sundry media.
On that Monday in Toronto, Gaiman had already done
interviews with Parsec, canoe.ca, SPACE, U8TV, Reel to Reel, and TALK! TV;
had gone to the Beguiling for a drop-in signing; and had dinner with Nalo
A day earlier, Gaiman was at the Indigo!Books, Music,
and Cafe on Yonge and Eglington Streets signing books for about 300 people.
"So if I am punch drunk and braindead, this is
why," said Gaiman. "It's at moments like this when all you nice
people are here sitting comfortably that I realize important things are
missing ‑ um, can I borrow your book?" he asked DeJesus, who
was sitting front row centre.
For the next hour, Gaiman read the first chapter of
American Gods, which begins with
the release of a convicted criminal named Shadow from prison and his
encounter with a man offering him a "job."
Gaiman's fluent reading captivated the audience, as he
lent each character a voice and personality of their own.
He then read what he called a "Sam speech,"
a character in American Gods whose
skewed worldview and paradoxical beliefs are something you could print on
During the question and answer period, Gaiman was
asked questions about how he eliminated Anglo‑isms in his novels (he
tries hard, but sometimes lets a "car park" slip past instead of
substituting it with "parking lot"); the origins of his unique
character names (innovation supported by what "sounds cool," and
inspiration from people and places); and what he reads (currently, he's
into mystery author Harry Stephen Keeler.)
Gaiman also described dinners with author Harlan
Ellison, who read American Gods and
submitted a quote to Gaiman's website even though Ellison is adamant about
not giving quotes to promote other authors' books. (Audience members said
Gaiman's imitation of the famed author was dead‑on.)
Gaiman signed every piece of Gaiman‑ware each
fan brought before him—bagged comic books, dog‑eared paperbacks,
hardcovers missing dust jackets, and the more pristine versions of their
kind—until nearly 11 p.m.
After a pot of tea and handshakes all around, Neil
Gaiman left the building. He jumped on a plane to Vancouver the next morning for a
signing the next day.
DeJesus, meanwhile, went home glowing: she stayed
until the very end and had her picture taken with Gaiman. She even got a
mention on the website.
As this is the first of my"View From The Chair" columns, I must start
off by thanking my predecessor, Lucy White, for her outstanding efforts
over the past 3 years.
Her time as Chairman of the Friends was very
productive, and brought in many changes. Under Lucy's direction, the
Friends of Merril developed a web site www.FriendsofMerril.org,a fundraising committee, contributed to a new Merril
Collection brochure, and negotiated with the Toronto Public Library
Foundation, in order to be able to offer charitable receipts for donations
to the Friends of the Merril Collection, over and above the cost of the
membership. Lucy had a very successful term, and is a perfect example of
how important good leadership is to the Friends.
Any group which is run and supported solely by
volunteer members needs support of one kind or another. All such
organizations depend on members volunteering their time and skills, whether
it be in fund raising, legal aid, publicity, web page design or something
else. The Friends of Merril have a good core group of volunteers to draw
upon, who are always there to help out as needed at our events. Some of
these people have been helping for many years, others are relatively new,
but they all share a common bond: their appreciation of the Merril Collection.
This has lead to their willingness to donate their time, talents and energy
in support of the Merril Collection and the Friends of the Merril
Collection. I'd like to express my appreciation and the appreciation of all
of the members of the Friends of Merril Executive Committee to these
Often, when there is a change in leadership, there's
a tendency for immediate change, the new person wanting to put their own
stamp on things. I have no such intentions. I am quite satisfied with how the
Executive has operated over the last 5 years.
There are two areas I'd like to see more emphasis on,
one of them is fund‑raising, and the other is a greater public
awareness of the Collection. We've been considering various fund‑raising
ideas over the last few years including the idea of possible corporate
sponsorship/donations and even advertising in Sol Rising.
There are a number of ways in which we can build up
public awareness and interest in the Merril Collection. Cross‑promotion,
working with some of the Toronto Public Library's other
Special Collections, will benefit all. One such opportunity is the upcoming
Footsteps of the Hound conference, organized by the Arthur Conan Doyle
Collection. The exhibit will be at the Toronto Reference Library October 19‑21.
The Merril Collection has created their own exhibit of Conan Doyle material
We expect that the striking Kelly Freas cover of the
new Merril Collection brochure will gather a lot of attention and catch the
public's eye. A package including the brochure and a copy of SOL Rising
will be sent to every University in Canada. We'll also attempt to create
a list of scholars and academics who might be interested in receiving our
We've had great success with all our events this year,
in particular the recent Neil Gaiman reading and Dr. Elizabeth Miller's
lecture/slideshow. The turnout for both shows was excellent, and the
response from those attending was extremely positive.
I expect our next two events will receive similar
accolades. On September 13 we'll be having a launch for Robert Charles
Wilson's new novel, The Chronoliths,
which Locus is calling one of the year's most "Notable" books.
Also, the launch for Dark Things Are
Out There: The Best of Northern Frights, edited by Don Hutchison, is
set for early November. Mark your calendar, as these are two events you
don't want to miss. We're already rounding up volunteers to help with crowd
I'd like to remind everyone of the Christmas Cream
Tea, our annual and most popular social affair. I realize it's more than
two months away, but time flies and some people tend to commit themselves
to too many events during the holiday season, sometimes resulting in having
to miss the Cream Tea. It's set for December 1 or December 8, and I hope to
see you all there.
Before I go, I'd like to congratulate Bruce Ballon, a
member of the Friends of the Merril Collection and one of the six Canadians
who have been nominated for the World Fantasy Awards.
Prince Valiant: An American Epic, Volume one: 1937. Edited by Rick Norwood. Wayne, New Jersey: Manuscript Press,1982.
Limited edition, 558 of 1000.
As I was sitting at the Merril Information Desk,
admiring this donation, I was thinking about how fortunate public libraries
in general and the Merril Collection in particular are in their donations.
Most often, the public will offer any print material they are planning on
getting rid of to their friendly local library. Sometimes it is material
that public libraries can't use—school texts from the 1960s have very
limited applicability. Sometimes it is fabulous, as the item I described
The illustrations are large, dating back to a
philosophy of illustration which believed that in order to admire the
efforts of the illustrator, the reader had to be able to see them. From
edge to edge it is 22" by 17", individual panels are 4 5/8"
square. Someone took this book, carefully laid it flat somewhere in order
not to damage it, and left it there for nineteen years. Then the owner
decided that the best thing to do was donate it to a public library, from
which, by complicated means, it came to the Merril Collection.
This is not uncommon. When I first came to the Merril
Collection, I was expecting hordes of outraged people demanding to know,
"Why can't I take this first edition home with me?" But, with
very, very few exceptions, staff has always received understanding and
support from the members of the public. Not infrequently, on those shaming
occasions when the person asks for a book which is not present in the
Merril Collection, the same person will show up a couple of months later,
telling us "I found it and I would like to donate it!" The first
time this happened to me, the book in question was an out‑of-print
first edition of a fantasy written by Evangeline Walton. The patron had
found a signed copy, even more appreciated, as Walton had died some time earlier.
I was very happy to accept it for the Merril Collection.
A famous author phones and will consider donating all
of the original manuscripts for novels and stories long since famous. Are
we interested? Hot rats! Yes!
It isn't that I am totally fixated on text. Another
patron asked if it was possible to donate art, rather than text. "Do
you collect science fiction and fantasy art?" was the question. Well,
Another patron phones from Hawaii and wants to donate some
significant records. "Are we interested?" Of course. The
generosity of our users ensures a steady trickle of worthwhile material
into the reference collection, stretching our budget. The rare, the
beautiful, the exotic go into the reference collection.
Lest you wonder, materials not required for the reference
collection are passed on to the circulating resource collection on the
second floor of the Lillian Smith building, which houses over 8,000 circulating
science fiction and fantasy titles. Most paperback donations to the Merril
Collection will be funneled into the circulating collection, again
stretching the budget allowed for this resource. This circulating
collection serves all 98 branches in the system, and is extremely heavily
used. When staff find a paperback that has circulated 60 times, it sits on
the counter, cover ragged, pages moulting. It needs to be replaced. It
deserves to be replaced. If it was a horse, I would shoot it as a mercy
As I said, we aren't limited to text. Money is the
nicest donation of all, because that allows us to acquire materials which
we are offered and don't have the wherewithal to purchase. It has a
flexibility that even the best of the first editions lacks. Through the
Toronto Public Library's Foundation, donors can receive an income tax
deduction certificate for the value of the donation. Think of it as being
able to direct the use of your income tax dollar.
The only drawback to public generosity over the years
has been a health hazard. There was a regular user at the Merril Collection
who would drop in every day after class. The class was commercial baking
and she was bringing something chocolate with her every day for the staff.
By the time she graduated, we all had stopped eating lunch, by way of
In 1956 the literary world was stunned by the
unexpected success of an unlikely bestseller. The book was The Outsider: An enquiry into the nature
of the sickness of mankind in the twentieth century and was written by
the then 26 year old Colin Wilson. Its publication was concurrent with John
Osborne's play Look Back in Anger
and Kingsley Amis' novel Lucky Jim, and
marked the rise of a new generation of English working class writers,
collectively labelled the 'Angry Young Men.'
'Angry Young Man' Colin Wilson turned 70 this year,
and in the 45 years since The
Outsider was published, has produced more than 80 books, encompassing
a wide range of subjects including philosophy, psychology, criminology and
the occult, as well as 20 novels. Included in this output are a number of
science fiction and fantasy novels.
Wilson's first 'science fiction'
novel was written on a challenge from August Derleth, H.P. Lovecraft's
publisher. In his book of literary criticism The Strength to Dream, Wilson had been less than charitable
in his analysis of Lovecraft's work. Derleth took offense, and said to Wilson, in effect: If Lovecraft is
so bad, can you do any better? Wilson took up the challenge, and produced The Mind Parasites, a 'Lovecraftian'
novel in which "some mysterious parasite that has hidden itself deep
in the depths of the human mind, sucks up our vital energy, the energy we
create through optimism and courage. And when a small group of men have
found a way of defeating these parasites, they recognize that they now have
access to superhuman powers "
So effective was this premise, that Wilson still receives enquiries as
to the actual existence of the mind parasites!
Wilson returned at intervals to
'Lovecraftian' themes in later years, in his novels The God of the Labyrinth and The
Philosopher's Stone, and in the novellas The Return of the Lloigor and The Tomb of the Old Ones.
Colin Wilson's one 'hard' science fiction novel is The Space Vampires. In it, he
returns to the theme of the theft of vital energy, this time through
'energy vampires' from outer space. The idea for this novel came, Wilson says, one afternoon as he was
dozing on a friend's settee, and suddenly there floated into his head:
"an image of a vast space craft—fifty miles long and twenty
miles high—floating in space somewhere in the asteroid belt. It is
pockmarked all over with meteor holes, and a great rent has been torn in
it by some collision. A smaller space ship has discovered the derelict,
and as it approaches, the pockmarked sides tower up like cliffs of steel.
And inside SF movie fans will recognize this description as the opening
scene of Lifeforce, thefilm version of The Space Vampires, directed by Tobe
Colin Wilson stated in an essay in 1978 entitled Science Fiction and Existentialism
that:"It seemed to me, quite simply, that science fiction was perhaps
the most important form of literary creation that man has ever
discovered." He was referring to the fact that sheer unbridled imagination
is the driving force of science fiction. Given this, it is not surprising
that Wilson has returned time and again to SF, and that the 'fantasy' genre
has provided the vehicle for his most remarkable novels to date ‑ the
Spider World series ‑ in
which 25th century human beings cower in underground burrows while huge
death spiders rule the earth. Compared to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series by reviewers, it is fitting that, in
this year of the release of the first Lord
of the Rings movie, the Spider World novels are being reissued in the US in hardcover editions. And
added to the initial three volumes The
Tower, The Delta and The Magician, willbe a brand new fourth volume.
Yet Colin Wilson's greatest 'fantasy' novel remains
in manuscript. Titled Metamorphosis
of the Vampire, it was conceived as a sequel to The Space Vampires; in it the son of the original novel's
protagonist, Carlsen, discovers a colony of benign 'energy vampires' in New York City. These 'vampires,' however,
exchange each others' 'essences' which quickly leads the novel into a full‑fledged
treatment of the nature of sexuality, including journeys to other planets,
amazing biological transformations and gender‑swapping, all set in a
swirling, dream‑like atmosphere reminiscent of David Lindsay's
remarkable Voyage to Arcturus.
Paul Newman, editor of Abraxas
magazine, has written that Metamorphosis
contains: "some of the most thoroughgoing investigations of sensory
perspectives ever attempted in fiction." And writer Gary Lachman
states succinctly: "Metamorphosis
of the Vampire is to the average novel what Panavision is to a Kodak
It appears, then, that we have not yet read Colin
Wilson's masterpiece, and that the best is yet to come.
Ted Brown, Treasurer
Note: The Spider
World novels are currently being reissued by Hampton Roads in Virginia, and are available from
amazon.com, or the publisher, as they are published. All of Colin Wilson's
SF and fantasy novels are available from the Toronto Public Libraries, and
copies are held in the Merrill Collection.
“Pedro fell ill. There wasn't a vet in all of Chicago who dealt with parrots.
Besides, it was too cold to risk taking him outside. The zoo vet said it
sounded like pneumonia. Keep him warm and give him stimulants.”
“A cruel fate caused the boiler to quit during
Pedro's crisis. Everybody moved into the kitchen to keep warm. My father
stayed home from work to nurse him. I remember coming home from school upon
this scene: Pedro was wrapped in a dishtowel. To immobilize him, my father
had made a sort of cradle out of one of those black enamel oval roasting
pans. He had Pedro resting on the open oven door, and was in the act of
pouring Ballantine's scotch down Pedro's beak out of a shot glass.” ‑
Daniel Pinkwater, from "Polly Wants a Broad Spectrum Antibiotic"
in Fishwhistle (1989).
Hidden deep in the Merril stacks are some of the works
of one of the greatest American fantasy writers of our time. I refer to
Daniel Pinkwater, author of (among others) Author's Day (1993), Borgel (1990), The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (1982), The Moosepire
(1986), Lizard Music (1976), Alan Mendolsohn, Tthe Boy from Mars, Fat Men
From Space (1977), and The Worms
of Kukumlima (1981).
As the Merril Collection was designed to help adults,
and most of the adults we serve are notably unencumbered with children, you
may have managed to miss Pinkwater's amazing books.
Daniel Manus Pinkwater has written over seventy
books, mostly for kids, these being people who are neither young children
nor adults. He is a commentator for National Public Radio in the U.S., and two collections of his
columns, FishWhistle (1989) and Chicago Days, Hoboken Nights (1991) have been published. Briefly, he had a column in the New York Review of Science Fiction (issues
1‑4), so those of you who are sf purists, wondering why I am writing
about this man, can dig out your back issues and take a look.
I am telling you about Pinkwater because I think that
he is a genius, whose writings are easy to miss, because they are filed in
the YA (young adult) ghetto. It is difficult to explain the charm of a
Pinkwater novel; charm does not lend itself to analysis. As the old
expression has it, it is like trying to fluoroscope a ghost. However, I can
write of the moments of recognition, intense emotional spikes echoed in his
readers' lives. We all look for reflections of our own experience of life
in fiction, and in Pinkwater's books, complete with aliens, talking animals
and weird relatives, almost everyone finds it.
In The Snarkout books,
Walter Galt, disgusted student at Genghis Khan High School, snarks out, ie.
sneaks out of his parents' house after dark, in order to attend late night
showings of classic movies. While doing this, he also discovers food ‑
real food, not the tasteless mush his mother has been serving all of his
life. (You have to love someone who creates the Garden of Earthly Delights Drive‑in and Pizzeria).
Reading Pinkwater reminded me of one of the major
experiences of my life. This occurred in Doncaster, England, while I was taking care of
my two cousins, aged five and three. Doncaster was an industrial English
city; it looked pretty much like I thought that Mordor would, on a bad day.
All of the buildings were gray or brown or black, the plants looked as if
Lovecraft's Colour Out of Space had
sucked the life from them, and if any birds flew overhead in the gray sky,
you instinctively expected them to plummet to earth, dying.
My aunt announced that we were going out for Chinese
food. Chinese food, in my family, came in cans. My mother, always
supportive, knew that Chinese food was supposed to be a treat, and once or
twice a year, felt obliged to inflict it upon us. Canned vegetables,
accompanied by gray mystery meat, in a sauce which mostly tasted like the tin
it came in.
In any case, they made the announcement, and I went
into hunted animal mode. I am sure that my eyes shone with that red light
that all photographs of trapped animals show. I was reluctantly shepherded
into the vehicle, still trying to think of a reason for not eating food
tonight. An hour later, I reluctantly spooned something called curried
duck with cashews onto my plate and took a mouthful. My life has never been
the same since. I have talked to several other people, admirers of the Snarkout books, who shared that
moment of recognition the books engender, remembering when food stopped
being a regrettable necessity and became amazing.
(Anyone further interested in this topic should go to http://www.pinkwater.com and read the
article on Chicago sausage).
The same moment of recognition comes to the readers of
Author's Day, especially if the
reader is a published author. Many of the patrons of the Merril Collection
are authors. Occasionally, the staff, who are warm and sensitive human
beings, try to make individual writers feel better about a particularly
horrific book launch, one which thrust the author's brain child, the
creative endeavour upon which the writer laboured for many years, into a crass
and uncaring world.
In Pinkwater's book Author's Day, the school celebrating the book got the title
wrong, because they confused it with another book. Then the kindergarten
children, who have just eaten pancakes, all hug him. Then he has to wear a
funny hat, while he talks to the children. Other horrible things happen,
and by the time the class mascot bunny bites the author, he is resigned to
his fate. By this time, most of our writers are perking up. However awful
their book launch, it doesn't usually include maple syrup, sticky children
and funny hats.
Then they get to the section where a new writer trying
to get started wants the author to read his manuscript, which is 900 pages
long. This invariably strikes a chord of recognition. The writer shudders,
and either heads off to a bar, or enters a fugue state, which staff tryto counter with rich, caffeine‑laden
Pinkwater's columns, originally written for National
Public Radio, have titles like "And I Got This One For Clapping
Erasers" and "Like Mama Never Made." The first column
details the joys of private schools, or as Pinkwater put it, "School
was school, and in the private institution, I got to learn about class
snobbery, anti-Semitism, sadism, and the rich variety of sexual practices
in which humans indulge. Also, I got to go to class with future corporate
raiders, divorce layers and plastic surgeons. I had a fairly good
Reading Pinkwater, I am always aware that real life is
stranger, and just as wonderful, as fantasy. Some time ago, I began to buy
Pinkwater books for a young acquaintance of mine who is four years old.
Almost immediately, it became apparent that when these books were read
aloud to Cameron, all of the adults in the room wanted to listen as well.
Now I bring Pinkwater books written for somewhat older children, my
friends, mostly people in their late '30s and early '40s.
It is a truism amongst children's librarians that the
best YA fantasy is often enjoyed by adults, but only Pinkwater can do this
with picture books as well. I am seldom filled with messianic fervour, but
here I am, thrusting Pinkwater books at complete strangers. Aliens will be
your friends! Food will be interesting! Life will be different! Better!
All of a sudden, it's 2001, and the question
"have you seen the space station yet?" is something heard in
everyday conversation. Guess what? The future has arrived, and most of us
didn't even notice. In any case, the International Space Station (ISS) is
visible from most places on earth, if you know exactly where and when to
look for it. The SatPasses site at <http://www.bester.com/satpasses.htm>
gives information on when the ISS passes over a number of North American
cities, including Toronto. The data is arranged in
lists that show three weeks worth of orbits at a time. Of particular interest
are the visibility codes that indicate spacecraft lighting conditions when
the station passes overhead. The ISS is most visible shortly before sunrise
or after sunset, when it's in sunlight, but the ground is in shadow. The
visibility codes make those orbits easy to find. NASA has similar
information on their Human Spaceflight site at <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov>
(follow the "Sighting Opportunities" link under "Realtime
Data"), but the listings are far less detailed. On the other hand, the
NASA sight does have a wealth of other data about the ISS, as well as
historical information about their earlier manned spaceflight programs.
Remember all those great cover stories that ran in Popular Science magazine in the
1950s? The ones that predicted that by the 21st century we'd all be living
in domed cities, riding on moving sidewalks, and commuting to work in
flying cars? So maybe the future hasn't arrived after all, but Moller
International is working to change that. In business since 1983, their
stated purpose is to "to develop and put into use personal transport
vehicles that are as safe, efficient, affordable and easy‑to‑use
as automobiles." They intend to so this by manufacturing and
marketing personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which
they call "volantors." Their website at <http://www.moller.com/skycar>
shows a number of suitably exotic prototypes. I especially like the M150
Skycar, an amazing single‑seat, two‑engine volantor that will
fly at a maximum speed of 600 km/hr. Of course, the most amazing thing of
all about Moller International may be the fact that, after 18 years in
business, the only products they actually seem to have for sale are scale
models and t‑shirts…
Have you bought a GPS (Global Positioning System)
device, only to find yourself wondering what to do with it? If so, then you
should check out the Degree Confluence Project at <http://www.confluence.org>. The
goal of the DCP is to have participants visit each of the latitude and
longitude integer degree intersections on earth. The site contains pictures
taken at each visited location, along with a brief written description of
the area and the effort it took to get there. Since lines of longitude get
closer together as you approach the poles, the project only requires
pictures taken at two out of every three points of intersection above 48°
latitude, and one out of every two above 65°. Eliminating the points of
intersection that lie on water, out of the sight of land, reduces the
number further, but that still leaves over 11,500 places to visit, photograph
and write about. The site is updated frequently, so it's worth stopping by
on a regular basis: it's full of interesting stories and spectacular
photographs. (Check out the pictures of the Swiss Alps taken at 47° N, 9°
E). There's also lots of information for potential participants, including
a world map mosaic to give you a quick idea of which intersections are
still available. Many of the "easy" ones have already been
visited, so future updates should become more and more interesting.
Movies come and movies go, but few are as highly
anticipated as a pair of films scheduled to open later this year. On
November 16, Warner Brothers will release Chris Columbus's adaptation of
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the
Philosopher’s Stone, to the delight of 10-year olds everywhere
(and possibly a few adults, as well.) The movie's official website is
located at <http://www.harrypotter.net>.
However, the interest surrounding Harry Potter is nothing compared to the
buzz that's building for Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. On December
19, New Line Productions debuts The
Fellowship of the Ring, with the second and third parts of the trilogy
due to follow in 2002 and 2003, respectively. The official site for this
one is at <http://www.lordoftherings.net>.
Both sites will give you an advance glimpse at the cast and the sets,
behind-the-scenes photos and information, interviews, downloadable
trailers, and (of course) a chance to purchase Official Merchandise. As
might be expected, these state‑of‑the‑art sites are
graphically intensive, so don't even think about visiting them unless
you've got a high‑speed connection, and/or a lot of patience.