Raise money for the SFWA medical fund, send John Kessel to watch “The Hobbit”

Nebula Award winning author and NCSU professor John Kessel, who grew up enjoying picking up L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz books as they were published at the beginning of the last century and was of an, er, “advanced” age by the time Tolkien finally got to work, off-handedly quipped that “I know the world does not care, but nobody could pay me enough money to go see ‘The Hobbit.’ Well, maybe someone could, but nobody is going to.” Well… Brent Winter suggested an eBay auction and Kij Johnson a Kickstarter, adding that to work, it would have to be collected for a charity, and John offered that the SFWA Medical Fund would do just fine. So! Let’s do this.

NOTE: I am not an agent of SFWA and am not collecting any money. Only pledges. Pledgers please use the SFWA form to donate to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund. (And then come back here and add your pledge, so we know your donation is meant to spur on this effort!)

How is this going to work? We’re going to collect pledges for donations to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund. Once pledges reach certain levels, additional “scenarios” are unlocked. Here are the tiers as agreed to by Prof. Kessel:

  • $250 — Prof. Kessel goes to see The Hobbit (the upcoming Peter Jackson version, in a movie theater before the end of the year, no cop-out home screenings of the Bass-Rankin animated classic) — REACHED (Brent Winter)
  • $500 — Prof. Kessel will write 500 words on the film — REACHED (Jason Erik Lunbderg)
  • NEW: $750 — Prof. Kessel will either before or after the film eat Denny’s The Hobbit-themed Ring BurgerREACHED (Mark Mzyk)
  • $1000 — Prof. Kessel will dress as Gandalf when watching the film — REACHED (Karen Anderson)
  • NEW: $1500 — Prof. Kessel will watch the entire Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings trilogy and write 500 words on this experience — REACHED (Anonymous #3)
  • NEW: $2000 — Prof. Kessel will channel his inner Leonard Nimoy and perform 30 seconds (on video, of course) of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” — REACHED (Anonymous #3)
  • $2500 — Prof. Kessel will dress as Galadriel when watching the film (and yes there will be documentary evidence) — REACHED (Anonymous #3)
    • BONUS: If we reach $2500, there’s also a “Dial-a-Rant” offer from Melinda Thielbar for the biggest pledge

As to whether or not Prof. Kessel can “pull off” Gandalf? Witness:

Kessel as Wizard

I’ll keep pledges and totals updated here, until/if we get a bigger/better place on board to do this. OK. Let’s go! If you want to pledge publicly, just comment here on the post, or mention @bullspec on Twitter, etc. Privately/anonymously, email me at sam@bullspec.com — happy pledging! It’s a short turn around time, but let’s have all pledges in by the end of Monday December 17 — so John knows what to wear and whether or not to skip second breakfast (or at least elevensies) to save room for that Ring Burger! (And to give us some time to prepare the correct costume…)

UPDATE: 18 December 2012, 10:40 AM EST: TOTAL: $2500 from 65 pledgers:

  1. William Badger, $10
  2. Tom Caswell, $10
  3. Sam M-B, $10
  4. Laura Haywood-Cory, $10
  5. Kij Johnson, $10 $20
  6. Vivian Lee, $10
  7. Paul Celmer, $10
  8. Anonymous #1, $50
  9. John Kessel, $20
  10. Jim Kelly, $20
  11. Christie Yant, $20
  12. Anonymous #2, $25
  13. TL Stinson, $10
  14. Matt Wimberly, $10
  15. Brent Winter, $20 (Film)
  16. Emily Howson, $10
  17. Melinda Thielbar and Richard Dansky, $50
  18. Alex Ronke, $15
  19. Diane Kurilecz, $10
  20. Shelly Rae Clift, $25
  21. Susan Katz, $10
  22. John Morillo, $10
  23. Tony Harrison, $20
  24. Barbara J. Webb, $20
  25. Stacie H., $5
  26. Julie Day, $15
  27. Carrie Cuinn, $20
  28. Jason Erik Lundberg, $25 (Essay)
  29. Dee Lalley, $20
  30. Rebecca Wright, $10
  31. Elizabeth Bourne, $100
  32. Steve Burnett, $50
  33. janetl, $25
  34. John Bowker, $20
  35. Meagen Voss, $10
  36. Mark Mzyk, $20 (Ring Burger)
  37. P Nielsen Hayden, $20
  38. Karen Burnham, $25
  39. Arian Hormozi, $30
  40. Marti Dell, $20
  41. Kevin McNeil, $100
  42. Dario Ciriello, $10
  43. Ada Milenkovic Brown, $10
  44. Juliette Wade, $20
  45. Karen Anderson, $29.90 (Gandalf)
  46. Fuzzy Gerdes, $25.10
  47. Elise Mattheson, $20
  48. Pat Knuth, $20
  49. Madison Roberts and Richard McLane, $20
  50. Madeleine Robins, $25
  51. Bandit, $10
  52. Nicholas Stoute, $10
  53. Jeff Kapustka, $25
  54. Kate Maddalena, $5
  55. Kevin J. Maroney, $25
  56. Warren Buff, $20
  57. Simon Goldenberg, $20
  58. David Afsharirad, $20
  59. C.C. Finlay, $25
  60. Mia Nutick, $50
  61. Tina Black, $25
  62. Nightowl Pictures, $20
  63. Brooke Wonders, $15
  64. Nathaniel Williams, $10
  65. Anonymous #3, $1090 (LOTR, BALLAD, GALADRIEL)

UPDATE: THANKS EVERYBODY! Thanks especially to our Nth hour anonymous donor who contacted me and asked how much was left, and indeed, pledged it all. Unbelievable. New post soon, check for the tag KesselHobbit for photos and video to come. Now we have some work to do on wardrobe…

UPDATE: From John: “I just came back from choosing the gown I will wear as Galadriel tomorrow afternoon at Denny’s, and then at the 4:15 or 4:30 showing of The Hobbit at the North Hills theater. I need to thank all of the people who pledged to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund in order to make this humiliation possible. You have done some real good for a worthy cause, and you should be proud of yourselves when you are not feeling ashamed for putting me through this. There will be photos and videos, I am told, and I must say with all due modesty that I am stunning in white. Review to follow.”

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73 Comments on “Raise money for the SFWA medical fund, send John Kessel to watch “The Hobbit””

  1. stinson says:

    I’m in for $10! How much do we need to raise to get John to eat the Ring Burger at Denny’s on the way to the film?

  2. brentwinter says:

    I’m in for $20, which puts us over the top! You, John Kessel, are about to go on An Unexpected Journey!

  3. howsonee says:

    Emily Howson, in for $10. (Sorry, John!)

  4. We pledge $50!

    Melinda Thielbar and Richard Dansky

  5. Alex Ronke says:

    Alex Ronke pledges $15. Hurray for Hobbits!

  6. Damian and I are gonna go to a matinee next Monday, Dr. K. Come along and I’ll live-tweet the whole thing.

  7. Susan Katz says:

    I’m in for $10.

  8. John Morillo says:

    John Morillo pledges $10 (thanks, Stinson)
    I think if we hit the 1k mark John should have to go see the Bills play, too. In Buffalo.

  9. Tony Harrison says:

    I’m in for $20

  10. Barbara J. Webb says:

    I’m in for $20!

  11. Stacie H says:

    I’ve got the “I’m still a student” $5.00, already on the way.

  12. johnkessel says:

    I guess I ought to start shaving my legs.

  13. Sam says:

    Too funny. I took his class as a free elective about 10 years ago. Term paper was on LOTR, lol. (my choice)

  14. I’m in for $25.

    John, I don’t know if you remember, but when I took your Fantasy survey course back in 1995 or so, one of our assigned texts was The Hobbit!

  15. Dee Lalley says:

    I’m in for $20.

  16. I’m in for $10. Go, John, go and eat that Ring burger! I will admit that I have nibbled on a “Hobbit Slam,” and nobody even paid me to do that.

  17. Elizabeth Bourne. says:

    John Kessel, everyone knows men in skirts are sexy. You will make a lovely Galadriel. I’m in for $100.

  18. We’ve pledged $50. – Merrie and Steve Burnett

  19. janetl says:

    $25 — I want to see Galadriel!

  20. John Bowker says:

    $20 from me! If every charity offered such enticements, we’d have the world’s problems licked by the time Jackson finished the third film.

  21. Mark Mzyk says:

    All right, I’m in for $20 to get us over the ring burger. Hard to believe it’s been 5 years since I had Kessel as an advisor.

  22. Twenty bucks here. But we want a photo of him eating the Ringburger.

  23. Count me in for $25. Can’t wait to read the film report!

  24. Kevin McNeil says:

    I’m in for $100. Sorry John, but it’s for a good cause.

  25. I’m SO in! $10 pledged!

  26. Okay, I just donated $10 to the SFWA emergency medical fund.

    Here is why I think John Kessel should see The Hobbit:
    When I was John Kessel’s writing student, he said he almost called out a politically uninformed person who was answering political questions badly in an interview at NC State, but then realized the person was Sean Astin aka Samwise Gamgee. Clearly John Kessel has issues of long standing regarding hobbits and needs to have his consciousness raised.

  27. I have donated $29.90 to the SFWA medical fund. That is the current retail cost of the New Zealand $1 coin commemorating Lord of the Rings.

  28. Fuzzy Gerdes says:

    I have donated $25.10 (to make the math easier again).

  29. Elise Matthesen says:

    I just sent $20.

  30. Pat Knuth says:

    I just donated $20. to the SFWA Medical fund.

  31. Put another $20 on the barbie. I mean, in the SFWA EMF.

  32. bandit, Albuquerque says:

    I’m in for $10 (more if I get a gig soon…)

    BTW – I am impressed Prof Kessel has contributed, although one would think he would want to “go Galadriel” just to show the world what he is made of :^)

  33. john kessel says:

    You guys are all amazing. A lot of people will benefit from this, and I am humbled. I just hope I give entertainment value.

  34. johnkessel says:

    You guys are amazing. This is going to do a lot of people some good; I am humbled. I just hope I can provide commensurate entertainment value. (And that I don’t get arrested, or lose tenure).

  35. Nicholas Stoute says:

    and here I thought opinions were free…

    $10

  36. Jeff Kapustka says:

    Count me in for $25 for these most worthy causes!

  37. [...] Raise Money for the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund And send John Kessel to watch The Hobbit. If enough money is raised, he’ll dress like Galadriel. [...]

  38. [...] Acclaimed SF writer John Kessel is willing to go see The Hobbit dressed in a Galadriel costume–if we can raise $2500 for the SFWA Medical Fund. The details of the fundraiser, including its hilarious genesis, are here. [...]

  39. How can I resist? One of my fond memories is studying THE HOBBIT in Professor Kessel’s class, when we were both so much younger. $25,

  40. Simon Goldenberg says:

    I pledge $20 – and I want to know what is John’s problem with The Hobbit? -Simon Goldenberg

    • montsamu says:

      I don’t think it’s so much a “problem” as just not being lined up, rearing to watch.

      “I’ve been conflicted about Tolkien for a very very long time. I’ve taught The Hobbit a zillion times, the trilogy much less often. I an admire his skill and invention in the abstract, but it has never in my life grabbed me. Basic problem is that I didn’t read him until I was 30. The idea of stretching a simple book like The Hobbit out to three 2 1/2 hour movies strikes me as overkill beyond my capacity for patience. When they passed out the Tolkien jones, and even more the Peter Jackson jones, I was out of the room. There are things I like about The Hobbit, but not enough. I know that lots of, probably most, people feel very differently about all this, and I’m okay with being on the outside of this one looking in.”

  41. David Afsharirad says:

    $20

  42. C.C. Finlay says:

    $25. Can’t wait to see him do that wafty, floaty Galadriel thing too. (Thanks, John — you’re one of the good guys.)

  43. Mia Nutick says:

    $50. Don’t forget the lip gloss.

  44. Tina Black says:

    $25.00 toward expanding John’s wardrobe. I recognize that hat — he’s had it for over 30 years! How do we send the money?

  45. In for $15 at the eleventh hour because this project is just too fabulous. I wish we could all be there to witness the inevitable post-Hobbit rant. A Kessel rant is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. MOONS HAVE CYCLES, YO.

  46. Nathaniel Williams says:

    I sent $10 to SFWA back on the 12th. Want to make sure it’s counted.

  47. Congratulations, Everybody! And well-done!

  48. montsamu says:

    UPDATE: THANKS EVERYBODY! Thanks especially to our Nth hour anonymous donor who contacted me and asked how much was left, and indeed, pledged it all. Unbelievable. New post soon, check for the tag KesselHobbit for photos and video to come. Now we have some work to do on wardrobe…

    UPDATE: From John: “I just came back from choosing the gown I will wear as Galadriel tomorrow afternoon at Denny’s, and then at the 4:15 or 4:30 showing of The Hobbit at the North Hills theater. I need to thank all of the people who pledged to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund in order to make this humiliation possible. You have done some real good for a worthy cause, and you should be proud of yourselves when you are not feeling ashamed for putting me through this. There will be photos and videos, I am told, and I must say with all due modesty that I am stunning in white. Review to follow.”

    By “tomorrow” at the time, John means Wednesday Dec 18: https://www.facebook.com/events/463461110383308/463466150382804/

  49. I have never had so much fun picking out a dress.

    I will be live tweeting this afternoon. Follow @mthielbar or #KesselAsGaladriel for updates and live pictures!

  50. I am pleased to report that the staff at the local Dennys were absolute dolls and treated Our Lady with the respect she deserved. Merrie Burnett lent a circlet that absolutely made the outfit, and of course many thanks to Steve for the wig.

    You guys are the best, and the SFWA medical fund is indeed a great cause. Well done to all of you!

  51. [...] this year, science fiction writer and North Carolina State University professor John Kessel declared that “I know the world does not care, but nobody could pay me enough money to go see The Hobbit. [...]

  52. [...] hour video there!] and of course the RTSFS holiday party. We also had a good bit of fun in December raising $2500 in pledges toward the SFWA emergency medical fund to send John Kessel to watch The Hobbit [...]


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