|The book called simply "S" written by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. If you've never heard of it until today,|
then maybe you're a narcissist and should look beyond yourself once in a while. The world isn't always
about you, you know? :).
I have to admit, the marketing behind "S" is unabashedly cool. The book trailer is perhaps one of the finest ever produced (embedded below and with over 2 million views), which is worthy of the likes of someone who makes his living pleasing nerds with special effect laden extravaganzas featuring edgy and compelling stories. For one, "S" is only one letter. Anyone that hears it that's not in the know instantly asks..."What do you mean? Is that a book?" Why yes it is. And second, it comes in a beautiful black slipcover: a distinguishing trait usually reserved for only the most successful authors after a career of writing best sellers. But J.J. doesn't need to be known as a writer who sells books. These days, authors dream of only Hollywood. Having someone that's already conquered Hollywood turn to the arguably banal medium of print is something that the editors of the Big Houses would fall over themselves to acquire. So yeah, it received the best treatment possible.
So am I going to buy "S"?
So what's in this book that has a title only one letter long?
Not many people know, and that's just like J.J., is it not? That's the hook that brings you back. That's why LOST was so successful. He's a master of withholding information and frustrating people. A review posted on USA Today said it was filled with paranoia, conspiracy theory, love, and mystery. But there's also (apparently) way too much going on in the narrative (another J.J. trait).
For the bargain savvy book hunter looking for an excuse, "S" has two books in one! The reason for this is that Mr. Abrams wanted "S" to be a celebration of "the book as an object." To elaborate, here's a bit from an expose printed in The New York Times:
Inside a black slipcover stamped with the title, there’s an old library edition of a novel titled “Ship of Theseus,” published in 1949 by a certain V. M. Straka. The author and novel are the fictional creations of Mr. Abrams and Mr. Dorst, but the book’s edge-worn spine, labeled with a faded Dewey decimal sticker, is scuffed, and its corners dented. In used-book selling parlance, the condition of “Ship of Theseus” might be rated “good,” were it not for the tens of thousands of words tattooed in the margins of its yellowed pages by at least two different hands, both in pencil-lead gray and a riot of inks: black, blue, red, orange, purple and green.
Tucked among the pages, readers will find handwritten letters and notes, a college newspaper clipping, a purple mimeographed telegram, photocopied book pages, postcards, an old photograph, a map scrawled on a coffee shop napkin, and even a throwback decoder ring.So basically, the fun of "S" is having the book itself; to physically hold it and stroke its cover saying, "My preciousss." Okay, maybe that goes a bit far, but you get the picture. I guess I have only one question: Is S by J.J. Abrams the One Ring for nerds, or is it just the biggest money grab in literature for this Christmas season? Ultimately and somewhat unfortunately, I think this is the "true" fun of "S": that it's going to make coffers overflow with coins (but they won't be your coffers). And who doesn't like the sound of a register ringing when you're the seller and not the buyer?
Well played J.J., well played.