Beyond Bree

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Title: Beyond Bree
Publisher: Tolkien Special Interest Group of American Mensa
Editor(s): Nancy Martsch
Date(s): 1981-date
Frequency: monthly
Medium: print
Fandom: Tolkien
Language: English
External Links: Beyond Bree
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Beyond Bree is a Tolkien newsletter published by the Tolkien Special Interest Group of American Mensa. It was first published in March 1981 under the title, Tolkien S.I.G. News, and assumed its current title for the June issue.[1]

Content lists are available online at the Beyond Bree website.

Beyond Bree is published once a month. A typical issue is 12 pages long, contains short articles on J.R.R. Tolkien and his works; reviews of books, games, films, events by, about, or inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and his works; reviews of books, games, films, events by, about, or inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and his works, and general fantasy which might be of interest to the Tolkien fan. Also readers' views; fan publications, news, art, occasional poetry and puzzles. We seldom publish fiction. Since we are too widely scattered to meet in person, Beyond Bree carries news of conventions and gatherings where the Tolkien fan might find others of similar interests. And, if readers have questions about Tolkien or his works, we try to answer them.[2]
The first issue of "Tolkien S.I.G. News", as it was then called, was published March 1981. It consisted of three pages. The name was chosen from a name-the-newsletter contest. "Beyond Bree" was proposed to reflect the Hobbit saying "Strange as news from Bree, not sure as Shire talk." (The title "News from Bree" belonged to another newsletter at that time, hence could not be used.) "Beyond Bree" suggests not only Tolkien's world, but the world of fantasy beyond Bree and beyond.
"Beyond Bree", a paper magazine, has been published every month since 1981, a record few fan newsletters can match. It has grown from the original six subscribers to over a hundred. We have readers in the United States and more than a dozen foreign countries.[3]

Reactions and Reviews

Beyond Bree is the probably one of the most respected and regularly published Tolkien fanzines to date. Most issues contain fantasy book reviews as well as listings for Tolkien conventions, book news and other events. Nancy has permission by many editors to reprint freely from other Tolkien fanzines, so it is a good way to keep up with esoteric products and news, and Tolkien fannish events. Nancy always includes at least a page long fanzine review column (many of which she receives in trade). All are 12 pages, 8" x 11", English.

(January 1995) A music theme permeates the issue as it starts off with a nice article on Middle-earth music by Gene Hargrove.[4] He feels that Tolkien's songs are meant to be chanted to free rhythm rather than in measured fashion, and follows up the article with the types of musical instruments and styles found in Tolkien as well as Tolkien's feelings on musical settings. What follows next are lists and reviews of (usually) rock groups and songs named from the works of or inspired by Tolkien (some lyrics are reproduced). The issue also includes a rather dubious article on Tolkien's influence on "Stairway to Heaven". Letters, some of which contain references to Tolkien on the Internet.

(February 1995) It's Beyond Me (guest edited by Todd Jensen) takes center stage as this year's humor issue. First off we find A. Appleyard's "Translations from the Auld Elvish" which attempts a serious translation from the Elvish of "A Unicef clearasil" from Bored of the Rings, yielding hilarious results. News reports, limericks, poem, a letter, filksong and some fun artwork fill out the rest of the humor part of the issue. Also included is a rather large (but not difficult) crossword puzzle.

(March 1995) This issue has an extensive review of The War of the Jewels and comments regarding Christopher Tolkien's role in producing a publishable, cohesive Silmarillion. Letters discuss Tolkien's problems with his cosmology which he came to realize later in life. More Tolkien music comments: from more lyrics and song titles to music that evokes a Middle-earth feeling. A frustrated teacher, Robert Acker, finds that The Hobbit was not well taken in his South Carolina school (a different teacher gave up and let the students watch the video) and Nancy goes on to suggest that the culture might be too different to interest kids or that they may not have experience with fairy tale stories. A short article follows, showing that the color red was used in the Shire to show authority and importance. A letter in the letters column describes the germ of a story about Shakespeare coming across The Red Book of Westmarch and the subsequent attempt at a play. Hmmm.[5]


  1. ^ Beyond Bree: Back Issues: The First Decade (accessed 17 November 2012)
  2. ^ Beyond Bree: Index (accessed 17 November 2012)
  3. ^ About "Beyond Bree" and Bree Moot (accessed 17 November 2012)
  4. ^ Available online here
  5. ^ rec.arts.books.tolkien, posted 4.24.1995, accessed 11.12.2012