by Andrew Koval
10 Fake Books from TV and Film
- “From Outer Space” by Jose Chung
(The X-Files Television Series; Season 3 Episode 20)
The author in this episode (Jose Chung) speaks to special agent Dana Scully on writing a book on alien abduction whereby he will create a brand new literary genre the non-fiction science fiction. So this features the book as a means by which to evolve genres. Mr. Chung then goes on to say he is not interested in the topic and that he is doing it for the money. We do receive excerpts from this fictional book on non-fiction science fiction:
”Evidence of extraterrestrial existence remains as allusive as ever, but the skies will continue to be searched by the likes of Blaine Faulkner hoping to someday find not only proof of alien life but also contentment on a new world until then he must be content with his new job.”
“Others search from answers from within. Rocky relocated to Alcum, California preaching to the lost and desperate.”
“Seeking the truth about aliens means a perfunctory 9 to 5 job to some, for although Agent Diane Lutsky is noble of spirit and pure at heart she remains nonetheless a federal employee. As for her partner Rainier Muldrak, a ticking time bomb of insanity, his quest into the unknown has so warped his psyche one shudders to think how he receives any pleasures from life.”
“Chrissy Georgio has come to believe her alien visitation was a message to improve the condition of her own world and she has devoted herself to this goal wholeheartedly.”
“For although we may not be alone in the universe, in our own separate ways on this planet we are all alone.”
- “Under the Hood” by Hollis Mason
From Dr. Manhattan’s soliloquy “Hollis Mason, a retired costume hero writes a book. In it he calls my arrival the dawn of the super hero. I am not sure what that means.”
“Under the Hood” is a fictional non-fiction autobiography. This book details the crime fighting of a costumed hero. What we know is that the book coins at least one concept to include in the vernacular of the day “the dawn of the super hero.”
The colorful enigmatic book jacket grabs the attention of potential readers for those interested in history and the social sciences.
- “The Corpse Danced at Midnight” by J. B. Fletcher
(Murder, She Wrote Television Series, 1984)
Featured throughout the series and made into a movie within the series, so double-duty as fake tv book and fake movie adaptation.
The main character Jessica Fletcher’s 1st novel is “The Corpse Danced at Midnight” and is part of a series of novels. Ms. Fletcher is a retired English teacher who became a bestselling mystery writer/novelist with a good eye for detail who lives in a small town with a very high murder rate and when vacationing also seems to find murder.
- “Micro Chip Logic” by John Valentine
(The Twilight Zone Movie, 1983)
John Lithgow takes on the role of John Valentine in this remake of a Twilight Zone classic segment Nightmare at 20,000 feet.
Stewardess: “Micro Chip: Logic: The Liberation of the Left Brain, science fiction fan huh?”
John Valentine: “Textbook, computers.”
Stewardess: “Do you really read this stuff?”
John Valentine: “I wrote it.”
Stewardess: “My goodness. So you did. I tell you what, we will put this away and you try and get some sleep.”
Herein the stewardess believes that if Mr. Valentine puts his book away he will be more at ease (though John’s source of agitation is flying and the turbulence the plane is experiencing). This exchange speaks to the perceived power of the book.
- “The Book of Evil” by Unknown
(Saturday the 14th, 1981)
Before the “Scary Movie” films were the “Saturday the 14th” series spoofing horror movies like Friday the 13th.
John and Mary inherit a house that houses “The Book of Evil.” Their son accidentally unleashes the evil depicted in the pages of the book of evil. A theme advocated with this fictional book is book as magic. The calligraphy on the first page reads:
“Whoever shall open this book releases into the world all the evil therein.” Further pages in the book read “It gets bad on Friday the 13th. But it gets worse on Saturday the 14th.”
The vampire in the story has been searching for the text for 300 years. In the film this “large old book” has the power to unleash and destroy evil. John and Mary discuss the book and Mary says:
“Maybe it’s a cookbook. You know how I am about my apple turnover recipe.”
- “The End of the World” by Milton Angland
(Ghostbusters II, 1989)The author predicts on Dr. Peter Venkmen’s show, World of the Psychic, that the world will end at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. This book must be credible as the author is publishing the book and the sales profits will not be in until the world had already ended. If anything one has to respect the honesty of this author.
No particular book was exhibited to represent “The End of the World” by Milton Angland.
- “A Match Made in Space” by George McFly
(Back to the Future, 1985)
This piece is a science fiction love story. Reasonable speculation leads one determine themes within the text are the myth of romantic love and the myth of technology as protector and savior.
This book is inspired by George McFly’s experience with an alien (his future son Marty in a radiation suit) one night while in his bedroom awoken in his sleep. Later, McFly’s work went on to become a movie and video-book.
- “Handbook for the Recently Deceased” from Handbook for the Recently Deceased Publishing
The movie Beetlejuice provides an interesting text.This handbook was found in the Netherworld waiting room by the recently deceased Adam and Barbara Maitland. According to one character in this film:
“It’s all in the Handbook.”
And the Maitland’s netherworld caseworker cites that there is a section in the handbook titled “The Intermediate Interface Chapter on Haunting.”
- “Old Custer” by Eli Cash
(The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001)
Eli Cash played by Owen Wilson wrote a historical fiction novel on the premise that George Custer survived through the Battle of Little Big Horn and recounts his life after that battle.
This is Cash’s second novel. We are given an excerpt from the book:
“The crickets and the rust-beetles scuttled among the nettles of the sage thicket. “Vámonos, amigos,” he whispered, and threw the busted leather flintcraw over the loose weave of the saddlecock. And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight.”
- “The Hobb’s End Horror” by Sutter Cane
(In the Mouth Madness, 1994)
Author Sutter Kane disappears and his newly published book brings forth the apocalypse, as everything that Mr. Kane writes comes to life.
In the film this book was a bestseller and had people clamoring to get a copy and is also made it to a movie.Thankfully, it was just a fake book in a film!
Andrew Koval earned his Masters of Science in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2011. His interest in library work began when he volunteered as a Page at his high school library in 2002. In 2007 he interned with his college library and learned book repair. He has previously worked in public libraries as a youth services intern, library assistant, young adult librarian and library director. Further, he has served as a librarian at a private catholic university where he taught information literacy. Andrew currently works in publishing.
His special interests include government documents, the archiving of ephemera, information and communication technologies, genealogy, reference services and library marketing.
Sources for screenshots include: