The Fellowship of the Ring and the Palantir

The Fellowship of the Ring and the Palantir

I Palantir 1-small I Palantir 2-small I Palantir 3-small

Last week, I posted a few fanzines that I’d picked up in a SF collection a few weekends ago. These originated from the estate of a Chicago area fan who appears to have been pretty active in the 1960’s and 1970’s, even publishing his own fanzine. He apparently attended a number of SF conventions, including many Worldcons, during that period. Among the material are several program books and other ephemera from cons during that time, including the 1960 Worldcon, known as Pittcon. One of the more interesting items I picked up which has a convention tie-in is a copy of the Fantasy Press edition of E.E. “Doc” Smith’s The Vortex Blaster, which is inscribed by Doc to him, reading, “At the Pittcon 1960. Ain’t we having fun? With very best regards, Edward E. Smith, PhD.”

Among the events at that Pittcon was the organizational meeting of the first organized group of J.R.R. Tolkien fans, The Fellowship of the Ring. The FotR went on to publish the first Tolkien fanzine, I Palantir (the first issue of which contained the first piece of Tolkien fan fiction), edited by Ted Johnstone and Bruce Pelz. Among other contributors was Marion Zimmer Bradley, who had pieces in issues 2 and 3 (the latter under the name Elfride Rivers). I Palantir lasted four issues, from 1960 through 1966, before folding.

I don’t know if this Chicago fan attended that meeting, but it’s quite possible. Among the fanzines I acquired from his collection are the first three issues of I Palantir, which I’ve posted images of above (the second issue has a cover by George Barr). Unfortunately, the collection is missing the fourth issue to make it a complete set. As someone who’s been a big fan of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy since I read it as a teenager, and who’s spent over a decade now playing Lord of the Rings Online, I’ve really enjoyed looking through these and getting a glimpse of the early days of Tolkien fandom.

Doug is a collector of pulps, as well as of pulp, science fiction and fantasy art. He co-founded and co-organizes the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention. For many years his Tattered Pages Press published the pulp fanzine Pulp Vault, as well as other books on the pulps. He was one of the authors of The Adventure House Guide to Pulps, and has edited several pulp anthologies, including the Best of Adventure series. His book, Uncovered: The Hidden Art Of The Girlie Pulps, an in-depth study of the spicy pulps and their art, was named ForeWord Magazine‘s 2003 Popular Culture Book of the Year. In 2013, Bob Weinberg, Bob Garcia and he collaborated on The Collectors’ Book of Virgil Finlay, a collection of Finlay’s gorgeous art. His last post for us was A Treasure Trove of Alarums and Excursions.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tony Den

One has to appreciate these kinds of fanzines. In a way they may be considered as modern (if 1970’s is modern..) pulps by some.

I took a look on eBay and found something called The Crystiellion which happened to be Vol II Issue 4 – going for USD50!. By appearances The Crystiellion was the successor to Palintir.

John ONeill


Unlike the pulps, most of these fanzines had tiny circulation, and in most cases only a handful of copies still exist. As a result collecting fanzines can be a very expensive proposition!

There are a number of great online resources for folks interested in fanzines, including several efforts to digitize and preserve them. E-fanzines ( is a great online archive, and there are others.

Major Wootton

Doug, as the author of an ongoing series of columns for Beyond Bree* on the 1965-1969 Days of the Tolkien Craze, I would earnestly ask that you consider digitizing these fanzines for, as John O’Neill hints. They are indeed a part of Tolkienian history, but a part almost inaccessible — although, indeed, you can see one of the best fanzines (from a Tolkienian point of view) at, since someone kindly scanned the issue of Niekas with an outstanding long interview with Tolkien.

I’d love to be able to write a column on these fanzines.

Dale Nelson

*Beyond Bree is the monthly newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest Group of North American Mensa, and is one of the few Tolkien ‘zines that has kept going for so many years. My series documents just such things as the fanzines you have acquired, as well as more mainstream evidences of interest in Tolkien. Among the Days columns was a series on the early Tolkien conferences. The Days of the Craze series is approaching 30 installments.

Feel free to get in touch with me, if you wish: extollager at gmail dot com.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x