TIW: [Letter discussing geographical location of Middle Earth, as well as the copyright issues related to a paperback printing of the ]authorized text of The Lord of the Rings, with in-line commentary by Greg Shaw

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[page 12] _BRUCE ROBBINS_ Box 416-B 1627 Magnolia Cleveland, Ohio 44106 Middle-Earth is a Scandinavian term meaning simply "World of Men", thus clearly placing Tolkien's world on Earth; I presume to think before the dawn of history. I got this datum from Lin carter's masterpiece of scholarship in XERO 7-9. I have written Lin for permission to reprint it with additional observations by me. So far I have had no reply--I would just as soon have you or Dick Plotz reprint it with my additional comments. Actually, the copyright situation works _for_ Tolkien in so far as a movie version is concerned. Say, for example, that Disney decides to do his own (sickening) version of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. First, he'll have to follow the plot of the public domain version strictly; any deviation can be interpreted as plagiarism of the copyrighted version. Burroughs fans will remember the Charlton comic JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN, which was forced to cease publication and destroy all remaining stock. As you may know, the book JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN is in the public domain. Charlton meant to produce a comic which adhered to the book --in a couple of minor places they didn't so it was possible to interpret the comic as plagiarizing copyrighted Tarzan books. Secondly, even if Disney does make the movie, not only will he lose the possible profits by not being allowed to show the movie in England and elsewhere, you can be darn sure England will not allow Disney to show any other of his movies in Commonwealth countries until he pays royalties for profits made on the showing of the Tolkien movie in the USA. I think Tolkien is pretty well protected from having his work distorted on the screen in a big way. (Small companies might venture unauthorized Tolkien movies, but their creations would hardly cause tne damage Disney could inflict.) -/I wish you hadn't made that last comment; I just realized how extremely likely it is that the Underground Cinema people could turn out little flicks based on Tolkien at any time --and it will cost me a fortune to go to all the showings to check; gaa!/- The fifth printing of Ballantine's HOBBIT still has the same old cover, which Tolkien himself has criticised. It has thicker paper too, to make it look worth the outrageous 95¢ price tag--hell, many a 75¢ Ballantine original is longer than THE HOBBIT. The _third_ printing of the Ballantine FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING still has the inscription upside down. Some "Authorized Publisher" Ballantine has turned out to be. And while I'm at it, Ballantine has still not answered Wollheim's open query in YANDRO some issues ago as to what Ballantine is doing with the extra 20¢ per volume they're charging--just exactly how well is Tolkien faring financially by Ballantine? And lest one think it was a noble act on Ballantine's part to publish an authorized edition of Tolkien--they were forced to--Ballantine and Houghton Mifflin have been publishing together for years. Were it not for this 1iason Ballantine may well have done what Ace did. [page 13] Hooray--a thesis on Tolkien! Here's one thesis that ought not gather dust--perhaps you could arrange to publish it when completed. -/I'll sure try./-

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