When I first bought my copy of Lord of the Rings (the Ballantine paperback) , it had a green box on the back cover with a message from Professor Tolkien saying that another edition of his work had been published without his permission, and that “those who approve of courtesy to living authors, at least, will purchase this edition, and no other”. The blurb was even parodied, along with the rest of the book, on the back cover of Bored of the Rings.
I was puzzled until I saw, in the back pages of the 1966 Ace edition of Silverlock, an ad for the Ace edition of Lord of the Rings. I sought out and eventually found copies of the Ace editions. Later, I learned that Ace was, indeed, the offending company, that they didn’t pay royalties, and that they hadn’t even published all the Appendices. This state of affairs tallies with what’s currently in Wikipedia’a write-up:
Okay, with that as background, I was looking through my copy of Silverlock and saw the Ace ad recently. Here’s what it says:
What? Not only is that, from what I’ve been told, all lies – they had no agreement, weren’t paying any royalties, and were not unrevised and unabridged – but it implies that someone else was publishing pirate editions even earlier. Is this just one of those cases of displacement where the liar imputes his motives to someone else, or was there, indeed, a prior offender? And how could Ace lie like that with a straight face? How did they think they would get away with it? It’s not like this is an obscure market, or LOTR an obscure book – it had already won the International Fantasy Award ( http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?14350 ) But I can’t find any reports of an earlier edition.