Houghton Mifflin, the American publisher of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy is suing an obscure Washington state author, accusing him of trying to steal from Tolkien's work and estate.
The suit was brought by the publisher when they found out Michael W. Perry's THE LORD OF THE RINGS DIARY: A CHRONOLOGY OF J.J.R. TOLKIEN'S BEST-SELLING EPIC, which retells the history of Tolkien's mythical Middle Earth in chronological order, was planning on publishing this year.
Said Wendy Strothman, the representative for Tolkien's estate in the U.S. and executive vice president of Houghton Mifflin, to the Associated Press, "[It] amounts to a retelling of THE LORD OF THE RINGS in a different form. That is not something the estate condones. It thinks if people want to read THE LORD OF THE RINGS ... they should read the original."
As for Perry, he calls his book a serious work of scholarship, with criticism and commentary on Tolkien's original work. But, oddly, in a note to Houghton Mifflin lawyers last fall, when Perry was not trying to get sued, Perry said of his own work, "To be honest, DIARY makes for dull reading. It isn't exciting and it isn't literary and it wasn't intended to be. It's like a dictionary, it packages facts about RINGS in the most useful possible format."
As of now, a U.S. district judge has temporarily blocked the publishing of DIARY while she reviews the matter.