SOL Rising
Number 26, April 2002


Fantastic Art Show: The Friends of the Merril Collection’s First Fantasy & Science Fiction Art Show
View From The Chair: Programming A Merril Collection Event
Collection Head: The Great Divide
Interview: Ed Greenwood
Ed Greenwood’s Bibliography
Colin Wilson and the Royal Ripper Rumpus
Nothing But ‘Net: Websites of Interest

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Fantastic Art Show: The Friends of the Merril Collection’s First Fantasy & Science Fiction Art Show

January 27th, 2002 saw the launch of the Friends of the Merril Collection's first Fantasy and Science Fiction Art Show, organized by Claudiu Murgan of the Friends of the Merril Collection Executive Committee. This remarkable exhibition of fantasy and science fiction art features art work by Francois Baril, Dominic Bercier, Heather Bruton, Eric Burt, Sergiu Grapa, Ron Kasman, and Aurel Manole. All twenty-nine pieces in the show are available for purchase and will be on display in the Merril Collection's reading room until April 26.

 

This year's exhibition is the start of what we know will become a popular recurring event on the Friends future agenda. And just how do we program our events? The Chair of the executive committee explains...

 

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View From The Chair: Programming A Merril Collection Event

The Fantastic Art Exhibit currently being held at the Merril Collection is remarkable and those of you who haven't yet viewed it, should. Featuring a wide variety of high quality art by renowned artists, both Canadian and European, the show will be on until April 26. Aside from being the first art show at the Collection, it was also the first time an event was organized by one person, Mr. Claudiu Murgan. This was one of the few occasions where most of the groundwork in creating an event was done for us; thank you Claudiu for all your hard work.

 

Each year the Collection has at least six events. We have annual events like the Pulp Show and the Christmas Cream Tea, as well as various book launches, author readings and lectures. None of these occasions are easy to organize. The process begins with the executive committee choosing an event. At each monthly meeting various ideas for programming are discussed.

 

Once an idea is under serious consideration, someone is given the responsibility of further exploring the idea's, pros & cons, and its appeal to Merril members and to the community. A report is given at the following meeting where the idea is either scrapped entirely or scheduled as a future event. Once scheduled, we then decide which executive member is most qualified to work on the project ‑ working closely with the staff of the Merril Collection to organize the event and a possible accompanying display. This includes frequent dealings with authors (and their agents, publishers and publicists), caterers, and the promotional details of the event. Events are publicized within the TPL system, on our web site, and by such media as Space Television.

 

Most importantly, the Merril Collection events are publicized by promotional flyers, designed by Givago Silva, and are posted at the Merril Collection, the TPL, and businesses such as Bakka & Siren. If it's a book launch or reading arrangements are made with a vendor to have copies of the author's books available for sale.

 

Theme events such as our J.R.R. Tolkien or 2001 exhibits are more involved and require considerable time and effort ‑ especially if done in conjunction with another group such as the recent Footsteps of the Hound Conference put on by the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection. The amount of time and research involved in preparing this type of event can be staggering.

 

Everyone works together to produce highly enjoyable events. We owe the volunteers and the staff our thanks and appreciation for their efforts over the years, in particular Annette Mocek and Kim Hull who create the stunning displays and wonderfully creative decorations.

 

I'd like to remind everyone of the 6th annual Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale—Saturday, April 27 from 10-5. It will be held on the lower level of the Lillian H. Smith Branch, TPL, 239 College St. The dealers room will have it's usual great selection of Pulp magazines and ephemera, including rare and collectable sf. Upstairs in the Merril Collection there will be a display of Pulps and a slide show of Pulp artwork. It's a marvelous show and I urge everyone to attend.

 

Jamie Fraser, Chair

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From the Collection Head: The Great Divide

Recently, when I asked the students in a grade 6 class touring the Merril Collection if they had seen The Fellowship of the Ring, they all had. Then I asked if they had all seen the Harry Potter movie and they giggled at me.

 

"Oh, yes, "several of them said. "Twice," others assured me.

 

So, finally, there is an excellent fantasy movie—The Fellowship of the Ring, and an extremely popular movie, Hany Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It made me wonder why it has taken so long to develop significant fantasy movies and TV, when fantasy in print has been wildly popular in North America since the 1960s.

 

Now, I have always thought that everyone yearns for fantasy somewhere in their life. I once talked to someone who felt the same way about professional football, and they were surprised, and quite hurt, to learn that I would rather bite off my head and spit down my neck, than watch an entire football game.

 

Science fiction has done better, but traditional fantasy on TV and in the movies has been mediocre at best until quite recently, when Buffy the Vampire Slayer appeared on TV, and now, The Fellowship of the Ring, in the theatres. When I refer to fantasy movies, I am talking about fantasy which follows the basic quest model, and which may or may not involve mythical creatures and imaginary kingdoms. Until the advent of Harry Potter and The Fellowship of the Ring, the best fantasy movie which I had ever seen was Being John Malkovitch.

 

Earlier fantasy movies were misfires to a greater or lesser degree. Many were produced; none of them worked particularly well. Willow comes to mind. The problems weren't necessarily due to budgetary or technological limitations. The creators failed to grasp the essential element of fantasy, common to both The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, wherein the protagonist hero is the person who pays the price to defeat the dark. Magic is not a plot device to make the hero's life easy; magic amplifies the reach and impact of hard decisions. When the writer uses magic to make all of the protagonist's problems go away, all of the story's dramatic tension goes with them.

 

One popular theory suggests that the people who grew up reading fantasy—hence have a clearer understanding of why it works—finally achieved sufficient experience and influence to become this generation's myth-makers. Testing this theory: if you accept that science fiction achieved mass popularity during the forties and fifties, this would go some way to explaining why science fiction succeeded in the mass media so far in the advance of fantasy. Fantasy in print-form really didn't become hugely successful until the 1960s. So, the children of the counterculture of the '60s embraced the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as did their more conservative children, and now their grandchildren read, write and watch fantasy as well as science fiction in the media. Think critical mass.

 

This may be part of the answer, but surely not all of it. The X-Files was successful in the mainstream, with people who were not otherwise interested in the fantastic. People working in mass media considered it significant, because it was a successful show that combined very dark elements with a hero who was not always victorious. As the number of people reading fantasy increased the potential audience for fantasy in movies and TV over time, contemporary events created a population which was prepared to accept extreme conspiracy theories and inconclusive endings. Another element of the critical mass, perhaps? In order to deal with the triumph of good over evil, you have to deal with some depiction of evil.

 

So now, science fiction and fantasy are no longer separated from the mainstream; we (the members of the sf community) are the mainstream; or we could be the mainstream, if the "we" in question lumps people who read together with people who watch movies and TV.

 

Print materials never achieve the mass audience numbers that the more accessible video forms acquire, and I think it unlikely that they ever will.

 

Bemoaning the advent of mass media, as opposed to text, is not only a lost cause, but tedious, the current equivalent of the Victorians whining about the servant problem. The great divide is the text/visual media gap. Both sides benefit if we find ways of bridging the distance. While I remain unalterably devoted to text, I believe that the popularity of fantasy in the movies makes it more likely that publishers will take a chance and print more fantasy, in the hopes of finding the next Lord of the Rings.

 

Therefore, fantasy movies are a good thing. I'd like to see Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds, Neil Gaiman's Sandman books, Andre Norton's Witch World books, Martha Wells' Ile-Rien books and Caroline Stevermer's College of Magics all in movie form, forthwith, preferably made by Mr. Jackson, who gets it right. Fantasy is inherently an optimistic form of literature. It tells you that if you are hard-working, if you are brave and if you are intelligent, you can make a difference in your society. Therefore we should travel optimistically, enjoying the good movies and evading the bad, in the same way that we have been doing with books for centuries.

 

Loma Toolis, Collection Head

 

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Interview: Ed Greenwood

Ed Greenwood may well be Canada's best selling fantasy writer. Since he sold his Forgotten Realms campaign to TSR in 1986, Forgotten Realms has become TSR's best selling product with sales in the millions. He has since written numerous novels, adventures and short stories. His biography and bibliography follow the interview.

 

When did you decide that you were going to write a book? How long did it take you to actually get your first book written?

 

I can't remember a time when I wasn't being read to, or reading books on my own, or making up "what happened next" imaginary sequels to favourite works of fiction.

 

From childhood, I wrote just to please myself. I hazily recall asking my parents and my aunt, "What happened next?" (plus specific queries about this or that character, and their aims) when a story they read to me came to its end. I know I started making up such answers once I was reading by myself (around age four, I'd guess). Eventually I started writing those answers down.

 

I had no idea the Realms would eventually be a game setting, and a playground for millions of other folks; I started to create it just to please me.

 

By the time I was eight, I was regularly writing fantasy short stories for my own entertainment. I was nine when I wrote my first novel, in longhand. It took about a month, and was about 90,000 words long in its initial form.

 

My first Realms novel, Spellfire, written in 1986, also took a month to write in longhand, and was published a year later—after a change in editorial staff at my publishers resulted in a different desired length, and over a third of it was rather roughly chopped out (by them). A rewritten version will appear in Spring 2002 (not restored to its original length, but with some of the worst wounds of the first published edition smoothed over).

 

Did you ever think that you might want to write science fiction instead of, or as well as, fantasy?

 

I've written several science fiction short stories, a handful more of what might best be called "space opera," and am puttering away on some "hard" sf ideas (which will probably someday become short stories, because I don't consider them sufficient to carry to novel length). My agent probably wants me to stay with fantasy novels, but I'd be very happy if I could at some future time pull together a collection of sf shorter fiction that could even faintly echo some of the delights I've read in collections by, say, Roger Zelazny, John Varley, and Spider Robinson. Worldbuilding is my thing, and I appreciate the settings painted so vividly in the Heechee and Ringworld books, Windhaven, Jack Vance's Alastor series, and of course I could go on listing memorable works. I'm not sure I'm worthy or ready to write good sf yet—and I'd rather write no sf than add to the ranks of bad or "me too" sf.

 

How did your gaming affect your writing? Did you turn gaming scenarios into novels?

 

Putting things in game terms (where one has to be specific, and spell out exact amounts and strengths, without any of the "I'll just leave this impression and move on" fudging available to the fiction-only writer) forced me to detail aspects of the world (trade flows, localized scarcities and abundances—and therefore, the "character" of the land in this or that area, and history to explain "how things got that way," and so on). The driving impetus for doing this were my excellent groups of players, who asked the same sort of questions about the world that I'd asked my family when they were reading to me.

 

When I was asked to write Realms novels, I was careful to keep them entirely fictional (created new, that is, not based on accounts of game play sessions), because good roleplaying has many, many subplots going on simultaneously, and rarely has neat or tidy endings. There was a brief period in which fictionalized roleplaying sessions were popular as fantasy "novels"—and most of them are pretty bad, because they tend to fall into an endless succession of "And then this happened, and then that happened, followed by this other thing" sequences rather than having a plot and any satisfying climaxes or conclusions.

 

I used my early Realms novels as opportunities to introduce many interesting characters, sayings, descriptions of locales, and so on, to give other Realms writers and fans more "toys to play with." This was enormously satisfying.

 

When did you realize that the Forgotten Realms was enormously popular? How did it feel?

 

I knew from the wild sales figures and floods of mail (all paper mail in those days (1981-1987); TSR staffers would tell me how many bags of mail had come in during phone calls) that the Realms was an instant hit once it was released as a campaign setting. There's nothing "instant" about an instant hit, of course; the purchasers were DRAGON readers who recognized the Realms from seven years of articles, and pounced on it.

 

I was and am delighted that folks loved the Realms and wanted to know ever-more about it. I knew from editorial comments that the Realms was very popular. There was a series of Realms-only products released: novels, boxed sets of the setting and "dungeons," and slender paperback adventure "modules". By 1987 it was setting sales records.

 

I'm pleased that I can reach, delight, and entertain folks all over the world. To be regarded as a friend, and asked to name babies (even father babies!) at conventions, write blessings as myself or as Elminster at weddings (and even preside over weddings, regardless of my utter lack of religious credentials to do so!) by fans all over the world is both gratifying and a little overwhelming. I've been offered the keys to a city, had a local business owner drop everything to want to give me a tour of "his" city, been asked by parents of terminally-ill children to write a letter as Elminster or a few paragraphs of fiction to say "what happened next" to this or that character, found myself talking about my writing to almost an entire small town who've turned out to see this foreigner because their kids wanted them to—these are all honours that leave me awestruck, a little embarrassed, and touched. If I can make folks happy—well, what higher achievement is there?

 

When do you write? Do you set a schedule and keep to it? Or how does it work for you?

 

My writing life is far too busy to either "wait to be inspired" or keep to a schedule, unless one calls "sitting down and typing at a keyboard for the majority of every day" a schedule.

 

For instance, during the week in which I'm typing these words, I'm finishing one full-length novel; starting another; writing the outline for a third; expanding a 100,000-word gaming product (a complete invented fantasy city) with more text and maps; correcting the galleys of both a short story in a science fiction anthology and my next-to-be published novel; drafting a concept for a series of novels; writing three magazine articles; writing three Web columns for one of my publishers; reading manuscripts from three other writers to "blurb" them for my publishers (write little dustjacket comments); drafting an "idea arc" for a television series; and writing individual topic proposals for a dozen monthly magazine articles.

 

Many writers create fiction and submit it to publishers, either directly or through agents, in hopes of getting it published; I'm always running like the Red Queen in Alice just to keep up with projects I already have contracts—and deadlines!—for. I haven't time to wait for ideas to strike me; instead, I haven't time to get all the ideas I have into written form.

 

When did you start gaming? What did you play?

 

From earliest childhood I've enjoyed games—games involving strategy ("played on boards with cool maps") in particular. I grew up playing chess and during my school years enjoyed Featherstone-style miniatures wargaming; but the game that shaped my writing life was Dungeons & Dragons, for which I've written articles, boxed game sets, sourcebooks, adventure modules, novels, computer games, short stories, and television treatments. Many of them feature a world setting I originally developed for my own "home" D&D campaign play, known as The Forgotten Realms.

 

Do you still find time to game?

 

My steadily-decreasing time (a situation shared by my regular players) has meant that our gaming sessions have become fewer and fewer. Like all old friends, we can pick right up where we left off years ago if need be, but that's not the same as "regular" play. For the record, I prefer mixed-gender, mixed-age groups of players at least four strong, probably 4-6. I can handle more, but above eight or so, the DM becomes a bottleneck and the quieter players don't get as much "involved time" as they should. Remember, if I'm running a game, I'm taking up three or four hours of my players' lives—I owe it to them to give them good entertainment value for that time.

 

Every GenCon I try to game in three ways: I do my share of "gaming celebrity" events to raise money for charity, usually set up by the RPGA; I try to participate in a once-a-year play session with Peter Adkison as DM (my fellow players include Margaret Weis, Don Perrin, Tracy Hickman, Troy Denning, and Jeff Grubb); and I try to hold at least one "open" gaming session for folks who can't get tickets or spend big coins on the charity event, to "just hang out" and game in the Realms with me—something special for kids who've traveled halfway around the world to get to GenCon. Most GenCons have also involved short demonstration play sessions for local television media ("this is D&D") or to introduce new games (for example, I recall a CBC crew from The Nature of Things filming me one year as I was wearing Rocky & Bullwinkle hand puppets and happily portraying characters from the game of the same name, funny voices and all).

 

Was there a specific genesis for Elminster? Someone or some series of events that started you thinking in a particular direction?

 

Aside from a few Realms short stories written back in 1967 through 1969, Elminster was originally a mouthpiece for my DRAGON articles; he was a less arrogant way of introducing a new article topic than saying, "Hi, you don't know me, but my name's Ed Greenwood and I've just thought of a new way of rolling dice that all of you didn't, so pay attention, now..."

 

He was also a way of keeping DRAGON articles useful. In those days, everybody interested in D&D read every issue of the magazine as it came out, so players knew everything in an article as well as Dungeon Masters did. If you're writing with an omniscient voice, as rules designers must ("If artillery fires across the Rhine, use Table 1, but night firing is subject to the effects of Table 2 due to the effects of darkness"), you can't build in any uncertainty.

 

A fiction narrative (at least, to be publishable in today's market) has to tell a single story; rarely do we get to tease by exploring all possible outcomes. You're expected to tell a story.

 

For maximum play possibilities in gaming, however, an "unreliable narrator" such as Elminster can say, "There are rumours that trolls infest the abandoned ruins of the castle, but no less an authority than the adventurer Steeleye insists that Firefall Castle is actually the abode of a necromancer who has been creating zombies surgically made to look like trolls—and the Lord of Firefall insists that there are no monsters in the ruins, just thieves and brigands who tell wild tales to keep honest but overly curious folk away from their lair."

 

Note that I as the author have said nothing definite in the passage above, but I've tossed a lot of ideas to the reader. That's what I needed my unreliable narrator to do. I've used a dishonest and lazy young idiot named Volo in game products a time or two, but Elminster was older and wiser than that, so he could say more.

 

I wanted a sly old wizard (later used in game play as an NPC, but never a PC) so that he could have an agenda of his own (that is, an ongoing reason for lying beyond sheer personal nastiness, so a DM could change things freely and not be "contradicting official Realms material") and so that he could ignore let alone survive the onslaughts of furious player characters (if someone stuck a sword through him, he could say, "That's nice. Finished? Feel better now?"). So Elminster was born. He's more Merlin than he is Gandalf or Belgarath—in fact, if you look at Nicol Williamson 's portrayal of Merlin in the movie Excalibur, remove the skullcap, and change the red hair to dark brown, the result will be pretty close to Elminster's whimsical behaviour and general looks; Old El of course predates the movie, too.

 

Left to my own devices, I'd never have written a series of books starring Elminster. I'd have left him a supporting character, like Gandalf in LOTR, so he can stay mysterious and the story can concentrate on heroes/heroines who are less old, knowledgeable, and capable—folks who don't have to take on Sauron personally just to find a good match.

 

However, my publisher, my readers, and Realms gaming fans keep clamouring for more Elminster tales (Elminster.. The Making Of A Mage had 75,000 copies printed in its initial hardcover run, came out on Boxing Day, and was sold out by New Year's Day!), so ...l guess he's my Sherlock Holmes. By the way, I never chose the plotlines of any of my Elminster books—I was assigned them. Not until Elminster In Hell was I able to really twist the format to do the sort of storytelling that I wanted to do. And yes, there will be more Elminster books unless I get run over by a truck tomorrow.

 

So Elminster has a little bit of every old wise mysterious male character I'd read in my childhood in him. He sprang to life in 1967, in the tale "One Comes, Unheralded, To Zirta"—the very first Realms fiction, published as a chapbook in 2000 and on the Wizards of the Coast website in 2001.

 

He owes a little bit to the Old Storyteller of Thornton W. Burgess, a little bit to Merlin, a little bit to Gandalf, a trifle to Fagin, a trifle to the literary character Glencannon, a little bit more to the real-life (and long since sadly deceased) English comedian Michael Flanders, and so on.

 

What do you read? Both for fun and for professional interest? Do you have a top five or ten favourite books? Please list a couple. Do you re-read?

 

I read, and have always read, everything—and voraciously. A typical novel takes me about two hours, these days (slower than in my youth), and longer if it's particularly bad, or I'm copyediting it as I go, or if I'm slowing down to really enjoy it. The pressures of work have inevitably cut into my reading time—not since my teens have I been able to sit back and devour four books a day. However, I've been at this for some time now, have worked in libraries for nigh thirty years, get asked to read and "blurb" (those little quotes on the covers of books that say things like, "Best book I read this morning!" or "A masterpiece to rival Tolkien!") lots of genre titles, and have over 80,000 books crammed into my house. Darn near every author I read is an influence, in some small way, good or bad.

 

Here are the 'big influences' (writers I admire, have been inspired by, or studied to see how they pulled something off): Lord Dunsany, Rudyard Kipling, P.G. Wodehouse, J. R. R. Tolkien, Roger Zelazny, Fritz Leiber, James H. Schmitz, Guy Gavriel Kay, Edith Pargeter, Terry Pratchett, Alexei Panshin, Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Phil Stong, John Bellairs, Colin Watson, Avram Davidson, Randall Garrett, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Michael Moorcock, Spider Robinson, Leslie Charteris, Steven Brust, Julian May, Ursula K. LeGuin, Katherine Kurtz, Peter S. Beagle, H. Beam Piper, John Dickson Carr, Lin Carter, and Caroline Stevermer.

 

There are many, many others I enjoy reading, from Stephen Donaldson to David and Leigh Eddings, through Robertson Davies, Connie Willis, Dave Duncan and Tanya Huff to Bob Salvatore to Elaine Cunningham, and of course every writer who "transports" a reader adds to one's life and experiences.

 

I've listed these folks with roughly the largest influences first, but in no particular order thereafter. It's been my pleasure and privilege to get to know some of these writers as friends ‑ as well as many others in publishing. I read, and re-read, favourites all the time. It's impossible for me to choose a "ten best" or anything like it, but if the house was burning down and I was snatching and scooping books I wouldn't want to be without for the rest of my life, I'd be sure to grab:

 

  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien)
  • Tigana and A Song For Arbonne (Kay)
  • Nine Princes In Amber and A Night In The Lonesome October (Zelazny)
  • The Blue Sword and The Hero And The Crown (McKinley)
  • The Thurb Revolution (Panshin)
  • The Persistence of Vision (John Varley)

 

[ed: This list has been shortened for brevity]

 

As someone active on all sides of the "literary life" (academe, reviewing, publishing, as an archivist and collector, maker of indices, writing, editing, occasionally purchasing for bookstores or libraries, and sometimes collaborating with or rescuing the works of others) I can say that although dreck and gems can be found in all genres of fiction, fantastic literature in all of its forms (from science fiction through sword-and-sorcery and ghost and fairy tales to high fantasy) has during the latter half of the twentieth century embraced the majority of the most important, seminal, and satisfying published works of literature. I know many "mainstream" writers, critics, and academics who habitually look down their noses at "genre" work of all sorts, but the loss (and the deficiency in appraising what is "good" or "vital," to the detriment of those they teach or influence) is theirs.

 

I understand that you collect science fiction and fantasy art, as well as reading the books. How did you acquire this hobby?

 

I collect fantasy art for personal pleasure and for professional need. To explain the "need" part of that: in the early days of D&D it was often necessary to provide freelance artists unfamiliar with the game or the genre with "it looks like this" art orders (one artist, I recall, had apparently never seen a horse before!), so we all created our own clippings files, and also referenced books of art or book covers that the artist might have access to. As as result, I collected lots of fantasy images, pictures of weapons, castles, beasts, and sf themes. I've always been interested in the illustration, first and foremost—not its value, or in "having an original." I'm just as happy buying the annual Spectrum anthologies or posters to get my hands on the images as I am trying to buy limited-edition prints or originals and trying to get them home undamaged (somehow!) through customs and airports and all the rest of it. I want to know that someone, somewhere, is keeping the originals climate-controlled and safe for the rest of us to enjoy, down the years ...but I'll buy the postcards. My cottage walls, for example, are adorned with lots of 5"x8" postcards popped into $3.95 plain wooden frames bought at discount stores (why not? they fit above light switches, whereas the rest of the walls are covered with bookcases!). I like to be surrounded by favourite pieces of art when I write, but they're often just cheap annual fantasy art calendars. I do have some prints that bear inscriptions "to me" from the artists, and I treasure those ...but a person whose name doesn't happen to be "Ed" probably wouldn't. After years of cramming these things into portfolios and sliding them between, over, and under books in a crammed study, I've recently begun unearthing some of them and getting them framed—and the framing is costing me ten times what the art ever did!

 

You mentioned that there was some interest in turning Forgotten Realms into the next Xena. Can you tell us anything more about this?

 

This might well never happen. Hasbro, Inc. (who own Wizards of the Coast, Inc. who absorbed TSR, Inc. who own the rights to the Forgotten Realms) has signed an agreement with FireWorks Television, Inc. (part of CanWest Global) to create a live-action Forgotten Realms fantasy television series. FireWorks has produced television series such as Relic Hunter and films such as the comedy Rat Race.

 

This was announced in an August 2001 press release; I was privately told about it beforehand at the annual GenCon convention in early August.

 

Initial indications were that the series would probably be syndicated, would have exteriors shot in Ireland and interiors done around Toronto and since then, I've heard nothing more. (I've been too busy chasing deadlines to dare ask, in case folks want to fly me places and rope me into meetings and so on!)

 

My own guess is that many fantasy properties have recently been acquired, but that the box office for the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings movies will be looked at carefully before some of these things get made.

 

I'd love to see a good, character-based, multiple-intrigues-interweaving Realms series that features young, growing-up-and-learning-as-we-watch main characters with the "big names" like Elminster kept firmly in the background. I'd love to work on such a thing behind the scenes, and have offered to. I won't hold my breath waiting for it to appear, I'd hate to see a bad Realms adaptation—and no, I don't expect to be asked to play Elminster! (Or Xena, for that matter...)

 

Do you have a bibliography available for fans?

 

I have attached a bibliography. It omits all the journalistic, poetry, editing, "ghosting," charity, and suchlike writing I've done—as well as dozens of short stories (for example, one for last year's Ad Astra programme booklet; I do many such for various conventions). Sorry it's not complete, but down the years I've just been too busy to list everything (literally hundreds of magazine articles, for example), and it's literally too late now to recall everything!

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Ed Greenwood’s Bibliography

TSR/Wizards of the Coast:

 

by Greenwood:

 

  • CM8 / The Endless Stair (D&D adventure module, 1987)
  • FR1 / Waterdeep And The North (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1987)
  • Spellfire (Realms novel, 1987)
  • Secrets of the Sages (newsletter, 1988)
  • GAZ8 / The Five Shires (D&D sourcebook, 1988)
  • FR11 / Dwarves Deep (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1990)
  • FR13 / Anauroch (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1991)
  • FOR2 / The Drow Of The Underdark (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1991)
  • FRE1 / Shadowdale (AD&D adventure module, 1989)
  • FRE2 / Tantras (AD&D adventure module, 1989)
  • FRE3 / Waterdeep (AD&D adventure module, 1989)
  • FA1 / Halls Of The High King (AD&D adventure module, 1990)
  • SJR1 / Lost Ships (AD&D Spelljammer sourcebook, 1990)
  • 1060 / The Ruins of UnderMountain (AD&D Realms boxed game set, 1991)
  • FRQ1 / Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (AD&D adventure module, 1992)
  • 9379 / Volo's Guide To Waterdeep (AD&D sourcebook, 1992)
  • 1084 / The Ruins of Myth Drannor (AD&D Realms boxed game set, 1993)
  • FOR4 / Code of the Harpers (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1993)
  • 9393 / Volo's Guide To The North (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1993)
  • Crown of Fire (paperback Realms novel [sequel to Spellfire], 1994)
  • 9460 / Volo's Guide To The Sword Coast (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1994)
  • Elminster: The Making Of A Mage (hardcover Realms novel, 1994)
  • Shadows of Doom (Realms novel: Book One of The Shadow of the Avatar trilogy, 1995)
  • Cloak of Shadows (Realms novel: Book Two of The Shadow of the Avatar trilogy, 1995)
  • All Shadows Fled (Realms novel: Book Three of The Shadow of the Avatar trilogy, 1995)
  • 9475 / The Seven Sisters (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1995)
  • 9486 / Volo's Guide To Cormyr (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1995)
  • Elminster: The Making Of A Mage (paperback edition of earlier Realms novel, 1995)
  • 9524 / Volo's Guide To The Dalelands (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1996)
  • Stormlight (paperback Realms novel, 1996)
  • Elminster In Myth Drannor (hardcover Realms novel, 1997)
  • 9545 / Prayers From The Faithful (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1988)
  • The Mercenaries (paperback Realms novel, 1998)
  • The Temptation of Elminster (hardcover Realms novel, 1998)
  • 9575 / The City of Ravens Bluff (AD&D RPGA-Network Realms sourcebook, 1998)
  • Elminster In Myth Drannor (paperback edition of earlier Realms novel, 1998)
  • Silverfall: Stories of the Seven Sisters (trade paperback Realms novel, 1999)
  • TSR11430 / Secrets of the Magister (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 2000)
  • Volo's Guide To Baldur's Gate II (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 2000)
  • Elminster In Hell (hardcover novel, 2001)

 

Forthcoming:

  • Spellfire (revised edition trade paperback novel, 2002)
  • Crown of Fire (trade paperback edition, 2002)
  • Hand of Fire (trade paperback novel, 2002)

 

 

TSR /Wizards of the Coast:

 

Co-written by Greenwood:

 

  • 1031 / Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (boxed game set, 1987, with Jeff Grubb)
  • H3 /The Bloodstone Wars (AD&D adventure, 1987, with Michael Dobson & Douglas Niles)
  • FR4 / The Magister (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1988, with Steve Perrin)
  • 1040 / City System (AD&DRealms boxed game set, 1988, with Jeff Grubb)
  • REFS / Lords of Darkness (AD&D sourcebook, 1988, with six sub-contributors)
  • 2106 /Forgotten Realms Adventures (AD&D hardcover Realms sourcebook, 1990, with Jeff Grubb)
  • 1083 / Menzoberranzan (AD&D Realms boxed game set, 1992, with Douglas Niles & Bob Salvatore)
  • 1085 / Forgotten Realms 2nd Edition Campaign Setting (boxed game set, 1993, with Jeff Grubb)
  • 1109 / City of Splendors (AD&D Realms boxed game set, with Steve Schend)
  • 9491 / Pages from the Mages (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1995, with Tim Beach)
  • Cormyr: A Novel (hardcover bestseller, 1996, with Jeff Grubb)
  • 9535 / Volo's Guide To All Things Magical (AD&D-Realms sourcebook, 1996, with Eric L. Boyd)
  • Cormyr: A Novel (paperback edition of earlier Realms novel, 1998)
  • The Diamond (1998, novel, with J. Robert King)
  • Death of the Dragon (2000, hardcover novel, with Troy Denning)
  • Death of the Dragon (2001, paperback edition of earlier hardcover novel, with Troy Denning)
  • Forgotten Realms 3rd Edition Campaign Setting (hardcover book, 2001, with Skip Williams, Sean K. Reynolds, and Rob Heinsoo)

 

Forthcoming:

  • The Silver Marches (3E D&D Realms sourcebook, 2002, with Jason Carl)

 

 

Other:

 

TSR / Wizards of the Coast Publications Ed has contributed to:

 

  • REF4/The Book of Lairs II (AD&D adventure sourcebook, 1987)
  • 2022 / Manual of the Planes (AD&D sourcebook, 1987)
  • AC11 /The Book of Wondrous Inventions (D&D sourcebook, 1987)
  • FR5 / The Savage Frontier (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1988)
  • FR7 / Hall of Heroes (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1989)
  • FR9 / Bloodstone Lands (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1989)
  • 8442 / The Forgotten Realms Atlas (by Karen Wynn Fonstad, 1990)
  • FR 15 / Gold and Glory (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1992)
  • FR16 / The Shining South (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1993)
  • FRC2 / Curse of the Azure Bonds (AD&D adventure module, 1989)
  • MC3 / Monstrous Compendium, Volume Three (AD&D sourcebook, 1989)
  • MC11 / Monstrous Compendium, Volume 11 (AD&D sourcebook, 1991)
  • LC2 / Inside Ravens Bluff (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1990)
  • 1056 / Castles (AD&D boxed game set, 1990: "Darkhold" booklet)
  • Ravenloft Campaign Setting (AD&D boxed game set, 1991)
  • FOR3 / Pirates of the Fallen Stars (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1992)
  • 9358 / Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue (AD&D sourcebook, 1992)
  • DMGR4 / Monster Mythology (AD&D sourcebook, 1992)
  • 2126 / AI-Qadim Arabian Adventures (AD&D sourcebook, 1992)
  • DMR2 / Creature Catalog (D&D sourcebook, 1993)
  • Realms of Valor (Realms short story collection, edited by James Lowder, 1993)
  • 9912/1993 TSR Master Catalog-Collectors Edition (1993)
  • 2140 / Monstrous Manual (AD&D sourcebook, 1993)
  • 2138 / Book of Artifacts (AD&D hardcover sourcebook, 1993)
  • PG2/Player's Guide to the Forgotten Realms" Campaign (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1993)
  • FRS1 / The Dalelands (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1993)
  • 9410 / Cormyr (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1994)
  • 1111 / Elminster's Ecologies (AD&D Realms boxed game set accessory, 1994)
  • Realms of Infamy (Realms short story collection, edited by James Lowder, 1994)
  • 2145 / Monstrous Compendium Annual, Volume One (AD&D sourcebook, 1994)
  • 2141 / Encyclopedia Magica, Volume 1 (AD&D sourcebook, 1995)
  • 9474 / The Moonsea (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1995)
  • 9470 / Cutthroats of Lankhmar (AD&D sourcebook, 1995)
  • 2152 / Encyclopedia Magica, Volume 2 (AD&D sourcebook, 1995)
  • 1120 / Ruins of Zhentil Keep (AD&D Realms boxed game set, 1995)
  • 2157 / Encyclopedia Magica, Volume 3 (AD&D sourcebook, 1995)
  • 9484 / The Sword of the Dales (AD&D Realms adventure module, 1995)
  • 1121 / Spellbound: Thay, Rashemen, and Aglarond AD&D Realms boxed game set, 1995)
  • 9485 / The Secret of Spiderhaunt (AD&D Realms adventure module, July 1995)
  • 9488 / The Return of Randal Mom (AD&D Realms adventure module, 1995)
  • 2161 / Encyclopedia Magica, Volume 4 (AD&D sourcebook, 1995)
  • Realms of Magic (Realms short story collection, edited by Brian Thomsen, 1995)
  • 2158 / Monstrous Compendium Annual, Volume Two (AD&D sourcebook, 1995)
  • 9492 / Wizards & Rogues of the Realms (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 1995)
  • Realms of the Underdark (Realms short story collection, edited by J. Robert King,1996)
  • 9520 / The Vilhon Reach (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Jim Butler, 1996)
  • 1142 /The North (AD&D Realms boxed set, by slade with Steve Schend, 1996)
  • 2165 / Wizard's Spell Compendium, Volume 1 (AD&D sourcebook, 1996)
  • 2166 / Monstrous Compendium" Annual, Volume 3 (AD&D sourcebook, 1996)
  • 1147 / Netheril: Empire Of Magic (AD&D boxed set, by slade with Jim Butler, 1996) 2168 / Wizard's Spell Compendium, Volume 2 (AD&D sourcebook, 1996)
  • 9516 / Faiths & Avatars (AD&D Realms sourcebook, by Julia Martin and Eric L. Boyd, 1997)
  • 9525 / Heroes' Lorebook (AD&D Realms sourcebook, by Dale Donovan with Paul Culotta, 1997)
  • 9563 / Powers & Pantheons (AD&D-Realms sourcebook, written by Eric L. Boyd, 1997)
  • 1159 / Lands of Intrigue (AD&D boxed set, by Steve Schend, 1997)
  • 9562 / Hellgate Keep (AD&D Dungeon Crawl" adventure, by Steve Schend,1998)
  • Realms of the Arcane (Realms short story collection, 1998, edited by Brian Thomsen)
  • 9547 / Cult of the Dragon (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Dale Donovan, 1998)
  • 1165 / Cormanthyr, Empire of the Elves (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Steve Schend, 1998)
  • Realms of Mystery (Realms short story collection, 1998, edited by Phil Athans)
  • 9552 / Villains' Lorebook (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Dale Donovan, 1998)
  • 9558 / The Fall of Myth Drannor (AD&D Realms adventure, written by Steve Schend, 1998)
  • 9561 / Empires of the Shining Sea (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Steve Schend, 1998)
  • 9585 / Deities (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Eric L. Boyd, 1998)
  • 9589 / Calimport (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Steve Schend,1998)
  • 2173 / Monstrous Compendium" Annual, Volume Four (AD&D sourcebook, 1998)
  • 2175 / Wizard's Spell Compendium, Volume 3 (AD&D sourcebook, 1998)
  • 2177 / Wizard's Spell Compendium, Volume 4 (AD&D sourcebook, 1998)
  • 11348 / Skullport (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Joseph Wolf, 1999)
  • 11359 / Priests Spell Compendium, Volume 1 (AD&D sourcebook, 1998)
  • 11393 / Sea of Fallen Stars (AD&D Realms sourcebook, written by Steve Schend, 1999)
  • 11405 / Wyrmskull Throne (AD&D Realms adventure, by Steve Schend and Thomas Reid, 1999)
  • 11421 / Priest's Spell Compendium, Volume 2 (AD&D sourcebook, 1999)
  • 11509 / Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark (AD&D Realms sourcebook, by Eric L. Boyd, 1999)
  • 11611 / Priest's Spell Compendium, Volume 3 (AD&D sourcebook, 2000)
  • Realms of the Deep (Realms short story collection, 2000, edited by Phil Athans)
  • 11431 / Guide To Hell (AD&D sourcebook, written by Chris Pramas, 2000)
  • 11627 / Cloak & Dagger (AD&D Realms sourcebook, 2000)
  • The Halls of Stormweather (Realms short story collection, 2000, edited by Phil Athans) D&D Monster Manual (3E D&D rulebook, 2000)
  • Monsters of Faerun (3E D&D-Realms sourcebook, 2001)
  • Magic of Faerun (3E D&D-Realms sourcebook, 2001)
  • Lords of Darkness (3E D&D-Realms sourcebook, 2001)

 

Forthcoming:

  • Realms of Shadow (Realms short story collection, 2002 , edited by Phil Athans)

 

 

More on Ed...

 

Ed is at work on new novels and game projects for TSR, Inc/Wizards of the Coast, Kenzer & Co., Obsidian Studios, Cyber Realms Inc., and TOR Books. He also co-created the Mommist fantasy world (to be published by Vision Books) with noted fantasy author Lynn Abbey, and is developing more fantasy settings. His Geanavue: the Stones of Peace, a completely detailed D&D fantasy city for use in the Kingdoms of Kalamar fantasy world setting, will published by Kenzer & Company in February, 2002.

 

Ed has contributed articles and short stories to dozens of magazines, including Gameplay and Troll, and to fantasy short story anthologies such as Tales From Tethredril (Del Rey, 1998), Northern Horror (Quarry Press, 2000), Be Afraid.! (Tundra Press, 2000), The Doom of Camelot (Green Knight Publishing, 2000) and The Book of All Flesh (Eden Studios, 2001). Ed's short story 'The Dragonjaw Door' was included in the Souvenir CD-ROM published by the 2001 World Fantasy Convention, and his short fiction has been published in many collectible convention books, chapbooks, and programme booklets.

 

Ed has appeared on the CBC television programmes Petrie On Prime and The Nature of Things, and as a fantasy and gaming "expert' on television shows in Australia, England, Germany, Sweden, and the United States.

 

His novel Spellfire inspired a collectible card game, and he's kept very busy answering e-mails and letters from fans of the Forgotten Realms worldwide, many of whom ask him to name their newborns or preside at their (Realms-themed) weddings. There are over three dozen active "fan" Forgotten Realms websites, and at least one webzine, "Forgotten Trails."

 

Ed's Band of Four novels for TOR Books, The Kingless Land, and The Vacant Throne, are solid bestsellers, with two sequels on the way (A Dragon's Ascension will appear in March 2002). Ed will have a short story in the upcoming science fiction anthology Oceans of Space and another in the forthcoming Tundra Press horror anthology Be Very Afraid! and has been asked by American publishing firms to contribute stories to forthcoming Arthurian and period mystery anthologies.

 

Ed is a Lifetime Active Member of The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA), several other literary and writers' organizations, and serves on the Township of Cramahe Library Board. His website is currently under construction, but Ed contributes regular "Elminster Speaks" articles to the Wizards of the Coast website (www.wizards.com), where they are from time to time joined by "Ed Says" Realmslore articles, new Realms short stories and peeks at "background lore."

 

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Colin Wilson and the Royal Ripper Rumpus

Jack the Ripper is arguably the first serial killer on record. The name still evokes shudders, and, over the years, has inspired a plethora of books and films—some written as grisly entertainment, others concerned with the discovery of his still-unknown identity. In this tradition, writer Alan Moore and artist Eddie Campbell published a graphic novel titled From Hell, in 16 installments published between 1989 and 1999. The title came from the closing salutation on a number of letters to the police, allegedly written by the Ripper himself. The sixteen installments of From Hell were eventually gathered together and published in book form, and the book itself was adapted as a movie starring Johnny Depp.

 

In a delightful Appendix II to From Hell—"Dance of the Gull Catchers"—Moore & Campbell outline the history of researches on Ripper suspects, featuring frames of the major "Ripperologist" writer/researchers running about a beach in a pack, flailing about with butterfly nets. As each new theory or suspect is disproved, the writer or researcher who had championed it falls flat on his face in the sand—legs akimbo and butterfly net limp.

 

There is a little-known sf connection here. Colin Wilson, the English philosopher and writer of a few sf classics (featured in an article in the last issue of Sol Rising) is also a noted criminologist and Ripper enthusiast. He is credited with coining the phrases "ripperology" and "ripperologist". The most evocative theory of the Ripper's identity has involved Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence, aided by the court physician Sir William Gull. A royal scandal to be sure, if true, and a theory that has caught the public imagination and spawned a few blockbuster movies, including From Hell. The theory first came to light when a man named Thomas Stowell confided it to Wilson. Wilson agreed to keep silent, but some years later the details were revealed in Stephen Knight's book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, and caused a sensation. Wilson publicly supported the book and the theory. Some time later, he withdrew his support. What had happened?

 

In a three frame section, Moore shows Wilson in the Athenaeum Club, invited for lunch by "a Peer of the Realm", who informs Wilson that: "If you persist in linking that noble name with these sordid little murders ... then certain doors shall remain forever closed to you ... and you will never receive your knighthood."

 

Could this be true? Wilson "bought off" with knighthood? Intrigued, I showed the frames to Wilson. He looked puzzled for a moment and then said, "That's not what happened. We did go to lunch, but he was not a 'Peer of the Realm' and it was just a chat at my club. I withdrew my support for Knight because of inconsistencies that had arisen in the theory."

 

So there it was: no serious discussion of knighthood for Wilson—author of the sf classics The Space Vampires and The Mind Parasites—and another tantalizing rumour bites the dust. A pity, really—it was such a good story. But never mind, the DVD and videotape versions of the movie From Hell are due out any time now. We can all revel in the mystery and recoil from the horror, and, at least for the duration of the movie, believe that a mysterious Masonic conspiracy threatened a Royal scandal, and that Jack the Ripper was its instrument.

 

Ted Brown, Treasurer

 

Colin Wilson is the author (with Robin Odell) of Jack the Ripper. Summing up and Verdict (London: Bantam, 1987 and Corgi, 1988).

 

Ted Brown is the author of The Outsider & After: The Writings of Colin Wilson. 1956 to 1996. A Compilation (Toronto: Letters Bookshop, 1996).

 

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Nothing But ‘Net: Websites of Interest

Science fiction has a rich vocabulary of words and expressions that are finding their way into everyday usage. As this happens, the sf origins are threatened with obscurity. Fortunately, the Oxford English Dictionary is preventing this from happening by giving credit where credit is due. They have begun a series of pilot projects to find the earliest printed citations of words in a number of specialized fields; the first such project is science fiction literature. The project's website, located at <www.jessesword.com/SF/sf_citations.shtml>, contains information on how to submit a citation, and details on the earliest printed appearances—found to date—for terms like: bug-eyed monster (1952), faster than light (1941), genetic engineering (1949), little green man (1961), ray-gun (1931), space station (1936), teleportation (1951), terraforming (1949), xenobiology (1954) and zero-g (1952).

 

A look at the citations reveals that Robert A. Heinlein and Jack Williamson are amongst the most prolific coiners of new words. Other names that appear on a regular basis are Clifford Simak, Theodore Sturgeon and (more recently) Larry Niven. The project is also recording the earliest citation to critical words and terminology such as: cyberpunk (1983), dystopia (1952), New Wave (1968—the first usage in a science fiction context is credited to Judith Merril in the introduction to her anthology England Swings SF), sci-fi (1955) and space opera (1941). A third list catalogs the unique language of fandom: fanzine (1944), filk (1959), trekkie (no citations found prior to 1976, but the word was in use before then; the origins of "trekker" are even more obscure) and worldcon (1952). In any case, consider this possibility: with the resources of the Merril Collection at your disposal, a couple of hours of research could easily turn up a previously unrecorded citation that finds its way into the next edition of the OED.

 

Gerry Anderson is best known on this side of the Atlantic as the man behind the children's TV show Thunderbirds ("Filmed in Videcolor and Supermarionation"), and Space: 1999; shows appreciated more for their special effects than for their scientific verisimilitude. There's a bit of an Anderson revival underway here due to the fact that A&E is currently releasing DVD and VHS boxed sets containing pristine episodes of both series. However, in his native England it's a different story. There, Anderson is recognized as a prolific TV producer with a lengthy, diverse career. He has an active fan following whose activities center around the official website of the Gerry Anderson Appreciation Society located at <www.fanderson.org.uk>. From The Adventures of Twizzle (1957) to Lavender Castle (1996), the site contains information on almost 30 different movies and TV series produced under Anderson's guidance: most of them relatively unknown to North American audiences. In addition to the production guide, the site also contains a news page with word of a two-day Fanderson convention scheduled for May 2002. There's a guide to some of the actual locations used in filming episodes of shows like UFO. And, as you might expect, there's also a merchandise page, where you can order soundtrack CD's, books, videos, and back issues of FAB, the Fanderson club magazine. If all that isn't enough, then you can probably spend days exploring all the Anderson-related sites referenced on the Society's extensive Links page. If you used to race home after school like I did to watch episodes of Supercar or Fireball XL5, then the Fanderson site is an F.A.B. trip down Memory Lane.

 

I didn't even realize that there was such an organization as the Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society, until I stumbled across their website, <www.torontoghosts.org>. It's a fascinating compendium of stories about buildings and locations in and around the city that are alleged to be 'haunted'. Whether or not you believe in such things, you'll still be fascinated by the stories about places you thought were familiar. I once lived near the Bloor West Village, and went to movies at the Runnymede Theatre. I was never aware that the backstage area was rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who was killed onstage by a falling sandbag in the early 1900's. I wonder if she's still there, now that the theatre has been converted into a bookstore? In the summer, I sometimes ride my bike through the Humber River Valley, passing under the bridge by the Old Mill subway station. The next time I do, I'll slow down and see if I can spot the mysterious figure lurking near the security fence surrounding the ruins of the original mill, or the woman with the long back hair and the flowing white dress who haunts the mill itself. The stories go on and on. Many of them are first person accounts from people who claim to have had some sort of contact with the spirits they describe. Most of the reports concern public or government buildings, although there are also stories of haunted homes and businesses. Strangely enough, there are no reports of ghosts in any of the city's libraries. I would have thought that all those musty stacks of old books would have proved irresistible. Even so, there are more than enough other stories to make repeated visits to the site worthwhile. I know one thing: I'll never look at places like College Park or Massey Hall quite the same way again.

 

Jim Pattison, Vice Chair

 

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2000 Friends of the Merril Collection