Bored Of The Rings
by The Harvard Lampoon, fantasy (1969)
Gollancz, £6.99, ISBN 0-575-073632-4

Horny elf babes, dumb boggies (not hobbits), stupid plot contrivances - JRR Tolkein never has it this cool. In the current cash-in in the Ring mania, it is only fair that they reissue this too, Bored Of The Rings, The Harvard Lampoon's rude, often irreverent, and pretty hilarious parody of the Rings trilogy.

Needless to say, readers unfamiliar with Lord Of The Rings will not be as entertained compared to those who are. Unless, of course, the readers familiar with Rings are those humorless fusspots who will then, of course, won't get it one bit.

What's the Ring? Well, Dildo Bugger found it while trying to rob a dragon, and now he leaves it to his unappreciative nephew Frito. What's the Ring? Goodgulf the Wizard has many ideas, but none of them come close to being rational. But in the spirit of WTFness, Frito, his boggie friends Spam, Moxie, and Pepsi, plus Goodgulf the Wizard, of course, travel to Riv'n'dell. There they will be joined by Legolamb the Elf, Arrowroot the Ranger, Bromosel the Other Human, and Gimlet the Dwarf. Mission? Destroy the Ring by dropping it in the Zazu pits of Frodor. But not if evil Sorhead has his way! Bwahahaha.

Forget the simpering, asexual dwarf Brady bunch we call hobbits. The boggies, well, in the words of Douglas C Kenney and Henry N Beard (they make up the Harvard Lampoon), "... their faces have a pimply malevolence that suggests a deep-seated fondness for making obscene telephone calls, and when they smile, there is something in the way they wag their foot-long tongues that makes Komodo dragons gulp with disbelief... It is plain that boggies are a relative of ours..."

The humor here isn't classy, but it is hilarious. There is a scene of an Evil Elf-Maid seducing Frito that is priceless ("But I'm so small and hairy, and... and you're so beautiful," Frito whimpers) in its rude irreverence. Where the original Rings bloat in self-importance, Bored Of The Rings swiftly punctures the bubble. It's so cool.

But the story does become rushed towards the end. Let's face it, cramming lampoons of The Two Towers and Return Of The King in three or four chapters can't be anything but a rushed job. The humor falters, but still, what the heck. This book has novelty keeper all over it, perfect for people like me who would love to have something to keep me laughing and not taking the whole Rings culture too seriously.

Rating: 85

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