I read this book about 6-Nov-2001. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1969. This note was last modified Wednesday, 11-Feb-2004 00:30:12 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
While the cover and copyright credit this to "the Harvard Lampoon", the title page (and the author's statement on the back) credit it to Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney.
What a classic. To begin with, the packaging is a perfect parody of the old Ballantine paperback that I'm used to. Featuring the black-cloaked pig with red glowing eyes riding on the large evil pig, and carrying the glowing toothbrush in his left hand. The map is pretty special too, showing clearly the location of Fordor, Gonad, and The Stye. Also the Bay of Milhous.
I'd been meaning to reread this as part of my LotR reread, but I got delayed several books. First Grunts crept in there, and then I had to do something to take the taste out of my mouth. But I'm finally here.
"Five-eleven's your height, one-ninety your weight. You cash in your chips around page eighty-eight." (Bromosel's fortune, as delivered in Riv'n'dell). Actually, it's more like page 96, but who's counting?
I'm still not too fond of the lower bits of humor, which abound. "No gag to low, no joke to old", seems to have been the selection principle. Still, they keep things moving along very nicely (which is how the entire trilogy fits into 160 pages)
To me this seems like a loving parody, rather than a nasty one. Certainly many of the people who like it also like the original. I do know people who don't like LotR much, who love this because they think it skewers the weak spots. I don't really see that; if there's a weak spot, it's political, and this doesn't address that level at all.
It's also the source of "Look! The Winged Victory of Samothrace!", hard by "'Floop,' suggested the tar pit."
So; definitely not a book for those unfamiliar with LotR. Seems to appeal to a considerable number of those who like it, and those who don't. And it's back in print, though not in the packaging I talk about in this article. And I can't find a copy on ABE that's even asking more than $10, so I guess the three first-editions on the shelf here aren't going to make me rich.