News Archive from 2004

Holiday Gift Ideas
Posted on December 1, 2004

by Eleanor M. Farrell

You, of course, have already finished your holiday shopping (and have even sent out cards to far-flung loved ones, baked dozens of cookies and fruit cakes, and put together a menu for a sumptuous feast). So feel free to pass this on to your less-organized friends, to help with some last-minute gift ideas.


Of course. Everyone needs more books, even if they think they don't. The winners (and finalists) for this year's Mythopoeic Awards are a good starting point for newer titles, and are listed on the Society's web site (as well as some past issues of the newsletter when they were announced). Close Kin, the sequel (and second in a trilogy) to Clare Dunkle's MFA-winning young adult novel The Hollow Kingdom, is newly published, as are some 2004 titles from perennially-nominated authors Patricia A. McKillip (Alphabet of Thorn), Elizabeth Hand (Mortal Love), Ursula K. Le Guin (Gifts), Gene Wolfe (The Wizard) .... We also review some likely gift candidates, including a spiffy (and expensive) new edition of The Lord of the Rings, in the December issue of Mythprint. Another new Tolkien edition, of The Silmarillion, features artwork by Ted Nasmith (look for a review in an upcoming Mythprint issue).


The 2005 official Tolkien calendar (reviewed by Paula DiSante on page 6) features drawings by Tolkien himself, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings. (There's also a 2005 calendar featuring art by the Hildebrandts ....) As usual, any store with a large stock of calendars will offer alternatives: dragons, fairies, fantasy cover art by the talented Kinuko Y. Craft, Sandman art, Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket movie stills, and more.


Eschew the obvious-Peter Jackson's The Return of the King, in a variety of editions with bells and whistles-as fans will already have picked this up for themselves. Other video options include P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan, one of the best films of 2003, or a new DVD release of Neil Gaiman's BBC miniseries, Neverwhere (with audio commentary by the series creator). Both kids and adults will likely enjoy the popular Shrek 2. Miramax has just released their DVD version of the spectacular Zhang Yimou film, Hero, for U.S. cinemaphiles who haven't yet indulged in a region-free DVD player (I've had my copy of this film for a few years already ....) Also due out in December: a longer and unrated director's cut of Antoine Fuqua's summer epic, King Arthur, which, although lacking in Arthurian elements, boasts an attractive cast and at least one spectacular battle scene.

Tolkien's masterpiece novel isn't alone in celebrating a 50th anniversary: Godzilla also made his first appearance stomping Tokyo in 1954. Many of the classic kaiju eiga films from the 1950s and '60s are being re-released on DVD, many for the first time in the original Japanese with English subtitles. The latest addition to the canon, Godzilla: Final Wars from hot young director Ryuhei Kitamura-claimed as the "last" Godzilla film, but we all know that he's just taking a break-reaches theaters this month.

Still Weird, Still Wonderful

For those still obsessing over the Jackson films, pick up a pair of Lord of the Rings wine glasses etched with a leaf, the film logo, and (a bit iffy, if you ask me) the ring inscription around the rims. Or a Ringwraith sound bank-"Drop a coin in and hear the ghostly sounds, burning eyes, screams, hissing and wailing!" [Hmm ... how do you hear burning eyes??] The new "mini mate" figures from Art Asylum are really, um, precious; they come in pairs both likely (Legolas and Gimli, shown at left) and less likely (Aragorn and an Uruk-hai berserker), or in larger sets with more characters.

I didn't find any new Tolkien-inspired ornaments for this year, but there's a wide assortment of other fantasy-themed treehangers, such as Spiderman (either swinging or with gifts), Mr and Mrs Potato Head under the mistletoe, a flying Mighty Mouse, a set honoring the best of all holiday movies, A Christmas Story, and, for fans who still miss Buffy, a "three faces of Willow" ornament trio.

Accoutrements, which offered the Librarian Action Figure last year, expands its selection with Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe (who comes with his own raven), at a mere $8.95 each. Items are available from some of the retailers listed in the page of links (see below), or try local gift shops or book/comics stores specializing in pop culture items. My very favorite new gift selection idea, however, is a pair of Killer Rabbit bunny slippers, based on the character from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Support the Society

Give a fantasy fan a Mythopoeic Society membership or subscription, or a copy of one of the Mythopoeic Press books. (Our latest publication, Tolkien on Film, will be available soon!) Please, if you do any shopping at, use the links from the society's web site and help us cover our administrative expenses with this small commission.

Spread Good Cheer

The holidays are always an excellent time to plan get-togethers with friends and family. Take in a play, concert, or movie. Go ice skating, or check out a local Dickens-themed fair. Enjoy the seasonal spiced hot beverages-coffee, tea, cider, or just take advantage of the availability of eggnog-while sitting in front of the fire. Let the warmth of the season refresh your spirits for the year to come. Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year!

Gift Item Suggestions and Shopping Links

For those of you who shop online, here are some useful and fun links for finding the perfect gift. If you want to support the Mythopoeic Society through purchases from, we've included links for items that they carry. Don't forget to use your favorite search engine (or try Shopzilla) if you are hunting for something specific - you never know what treasures may pop up!

2004 Mythopoeic Award winners:
Clare B. Dunkle, The Hollow Kingdom
John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War
John Shelton Lawrence and Robert Jewett, The Myth of the American Superhero
Robin McKinley, Sunshine
New fiction (adult):
Alma Alexander, The Secrets of Jin-shei
Orson Scott Card, The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker Book 6)
Elizabeth Hand, Mortal Love
Patricia A. McKillip, Alphabet of Thorn
Gene Wolfe, The Wizard
New fiction (children/young adults):
Clare B. Dunkle, Close Kin
Ursula K. Le Guin, Gifts
New non-fiction/scholarship:
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (50th anniversary edition)
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion (new Ted Nasmith artwork)
Charles Vess, The Book of Ballads
Godzilla (the Raymond Burr version)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition - 5 discs plus Minas Tirith polystone sculpture)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Special Extended Edition - 4 discs)
Neverwhere (BBC miniseries)
Peter Pan
Shrek 2
2005 Tolkien Calendar: The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary (illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien)
The Sandman 2005 Calendar: Endless Nights
Women of Enchantment 2005 Calendar (art by Kinuko Y. Craft)
Lemony Snicket Calendar of Unfortunate Events 2005 Calendar: Thirteen Alarming Months!
Weird and Wonderful Toys and Games
Lord of the Rings Etched Wine Glasses
"Mini Mates" LotR figures
Edgar Allan Poe Action Figure
Killer Rabbit Bunny Slippers
Spiderman swinging ornament
General Shopping Site Links
Things from Another World
Wicked Cool Stuff
Archie McPhee Online
Wonderfully Wacky: Baron Bob Gifts
KB Toys
Accoutrements (wholesale only but great descriptions!)

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