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A Look at Books

Banes at 12:00AM, Aug. 17, 2023

I was thinking about the power of books in fiction - like, secret journals, diaries, and such.

In the show Supernatural, the brothers found a lot of information, help, and intrigue in their father's journal of his monster hunting exploits. I will say that it got harder to believe later that the father, who was out of the picture so early in the series, had so much information in his journal connecting to the bigger developments that happened later. As far as I remember, they didn't lean on the book so heavily that it broke the suspension of disbelief.

The Necronomicon, in the Evil Dead series, is a book printed in blood and bound in human flesh (yeeeeech!). The passages within have horrible power to open a gateway, allowing demonic monstrosities to come to our world. In some of the movies there's a recording of some seeker of dark knowledge, reading passages from the book. Just playing the recordings can be enough to rain Holy Heck down on us.

One of my favorites, that I bring up way too much, is Back to the Future Part 2. A book of sports statistics becomes a massive mcguffin when it's brought back in time to change the course of history. The bulk of that movie is about the race for that book. Oh La La, indeed!

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there is some wonderful stuff involving Indy's fathers “Grail Diary”. Dad was missing for part of the movie, and Indy was able to follow the information Father Henry collected over a lifetime of research. That's what's handy about a “Magic Book”: we get to learn secrets at the same time as our heroes do, because someone else did the work of amassing that knowledge.

There are probably some big ones I'm missing - I guess if I had a favorite, it would be a close tie between Back to the Future 2's Sports Almanac, and the Grail Diary from Indiana Jones.

I'm reminded of a comedic version from American Pie, that had a hidden book full of powerful sexual knowledge. Very funny stuff.

There's great power and mystique in a book, and the idea that hidden insights or answers are out there if we know where to look. When characters find the secret knowledge within, it can be quite exciting.

See you next time!

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PaulEberhardt at 3:12AM, Aug. 18, 2023

Can't do that with a wiki, although asking the computer in Star Trek comes close (and the Hitchhiker's Guide, too, of course). The thing is that the really hidden knowledge is to be found in old books. Nothing can beat a dusty old tome in terms of mystery and exciting stuff to discover.

usedbooks at 4:29PM, Aug. 17, 2023

The Octavo.

MOrgan at 11:55AM, Aug. 17, 2023

Don't forget the Junior Woodchucks Guide that Huey, Dewey & Louie would consult in various adventures.

Banes at 9:54AM, Aug. 17, 2023

@J_Scarbrough - That's great stuff. Great title, too, haha. I also like the book of every planet and known phenomenon, plus other advice, that was documented in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Very fun!

J_Scarbrough at 8:59AM, Aug. 17, 2023

I sort of lampshaded this trope way back in the first season of VAMPIRE GIRL, in which the Wizard consults his REALLY BIG BOOK OF STUFF to see what could have been done to help Levana achieve her desire to be transformed into a mortal.

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