The Hobbit

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[page 2] THE HOBBIT has indeed appeared in paperback, as has been widely rumored. It is published by Ballantine Books and sells for 95¢, as do the Ballantine Ring books also. The cover, which announces it as the Authorized Edition, has an oval-shaped surrealistic painting of a Hobbit-hill with a stream in front of it along side of which are two flamingoes @flamingos@ being stalked by a lion, and a very alien tree overlooking the entire thing. It is mentioned as many as five times that this is the authorized edition. Twice appears this 'Statement From the Author': "This paperback edition, and no other, has been published with my consent and co-operation. Those who approve of courtesy-at least, to living authors-will purchase it, and no other." This seems unnecessary to me since Tolkien still holds all rights to the Hobbit, but perhaps it's only a dig at Ace. Included in this edition are the two maps from the hardcover edition, that is, Thror's map, and the map of Wilderland. There are no other illustrations. According to the advertisement at the back of the book all three volumes of the Lord of the Rings are also in print and may be ordered for $1.00 each. I also noticed that the page numbering is changed just as in the Ace LotR, and no doubt the Ballantine LotR will have an even different numbering system. This will undoubtedly confound readers of indexes or articles about the books, for now there will be 3 different numbering systems for LotR and 3 for the Hobbit. As Rick Brooks has pointed out, there is a definite and immediate need for some mathematically inclined Tolkien fan to work out conversion formulas. In conclusion I think that Ballantine has produced an attractive and tastefully done book, and if their LotR is done as well, they are to be commended. ---Greg Shaw

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