20 Feb 2011

The Last Ringbearer - Tolkien's epic told from the other side

Spanish Cover for The Last Ringbearer
J.R.R. Tolkien's magnum opus The Lord of the Rings is a tale of courage, bravery and the triumph of good over evil. With the focus on the alliance of Hobbits, humans, Dwarves and Elves fighting against the forces of Mordor, the reader is given a very once sided view of the events surrounding the War of the Ring. As the old saying goes, 'history is written by the victors'. Now, you can look at the other side of the story in The Last Ringbearer, an alternate version of Lord of the Rings written by Russian palaeontologist Kirill Yesov.

Though The Last Ringbearer was penned in 1999, the story has recently come under fire from the Tolkien Estate. Once the novel was translated into English by Yisroel Markov last year (non commercially), the Tolkien Estate are claiming copyright infringement. According to Markov, pressure from the Tolkien Estate is the reason why no English version of The Last Ringbearer has been attempted before.

You are still able to download a PDF of the English translation for free here. I recommend you do so before the legal ramifications mean that the translated text gets pulled. Whereas Markov insists that the text, as a non-commercial translation of a derivative text that was published outside of normal copyright laws, it does infringe on copyright. The Tolkien Estate, however, heavily disagrees with this.

(via Blastr)

What do you think? Should this be considered fan-fiction for all intents and purposes? If it is freely available and not sold or published, should it stay in circulation?