From Hobbit to Wobbit

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By Community Editor

In 1975, OPRF High School student Paul Erickson was playing Dungeons & Dragons in the basement of his parents' house. He never dreamed he would become a published fantasy author, but 37 years later, the Tolkien enthusiast has published a full-scale parody of The Hobbit in paperback. The title is The Wobbit: A Parody.

Erickson's love of Middle-earth began in the seventh grade at Mann School when his class was assigned to read the The Hobbit. That summer he read the parody classic Bored of the Rings, mostly, he says, "because it was shorter than any of Tolkien's actual books." He did eventually read all four of the "Ring" books.

In 2008, he lost his job like a lot of other people. To keep from getting depressed, he said, he started writing the parody just for fun. The Wobbit: A Parody is a satire of the banking crisis that caused his unemployment, complete with dwarf bankers, wizard project managers, and hobbit consultants.

"It was exciting, becoming a part of the Oak Park tradition of fantasy writing, like Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Mars books," Erickson notes.

Last December, Erickson received an email from German publisher Piper Verlag asking if the publishing rights were available. This October, the German translation went on sale as a paperback and four-CD audiobook. Since Erickson doesn't speak German, he can't tell you how it is. Fortunately, there is an English version.

The book is available at The Book Table, across the street from the Lake Theatre, where The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey happens to be playing. It's also available at as a paperback or eBook.

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