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Blank Book


(permanent link) added: 2011-03-27 15:55:01 sponsor: Earnest (last reply: 2011-03-30 14:21:30)

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The proofreader really needs to lay off the sauce.

This is when a character picks up a book and sees it is essentially empty. It's just a cover (possibly even without a title) pasted onto a blank book, or one filled with nonsense words like Lorem Ipsum over and over, or that just simply stops partway through. Why is this book blank? There's a few less than good reasons for it.

Type 1: It may be that the character is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine of some kind and the book being empty (or filled with unintelligible and unreadable gibberish) is a sign that the Master of Illusion got sloppy or the dreamer can't remember it right.
Type 2: It's also possible that the character is in some kind of stage filled with prop books, or the book is a deliberate fake intended to deceive.
Type 3: Lastly, someone (or thing) may have "stolen" the contents of the book and left it completely wordless in the process. In fact, some words may literally fly off the page or drip off as wet ink.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • A Calvin and Hobbes strip invokes this trope. Calvin uses this as an excuse for not doing his homework: "I tried, but the book publisher didn't use the proper print fixative. Needless to say, when I picked up the book all the letters slid off the page and fell on the floor in a heap of gibberish!"

Film
  • Cast a Deadly Spell. A man steals the Necronomicon and sells it to mobster Harry Borden. After Borden pays for the book and the man leaves, Borden opens the book and discovers its pages are blank - it's a fraud.
  • It's been a while, but I'm fairly certain this happened in the second Neverending Story.
  • This happened with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in the film version of Sphere. It wasnt blank, but just stopped where the reader was too scared to read past that page while he was a child.
  • Pleasantville: The library's books are mostly blank until the male lead exposes the locals to the concept of reading for pleasure, at which point new words appear.

Literature
  • In Tanya Huff's The Keeper, the protagonist tries to restore a decayed journal, but a "word spider(?)" got into the word-restoring tupperware the book was in and caused the words to literally drip off the book, much to her horror.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Tom Riddle's diary is effectively blank until someone writes into it. After Harry destroys it with the Basilisk venom, it goes blank for good, though not before bleeding ink.

Western Animation
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, when Bruce Wayne was trapped by the Mad Hatter in a Lotus-Eater Machine, one of his first clues something was wrong with the perfect world was that all the books were unreadable.
  • The Justice League cartoon had an episode where Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Flash got transported to an alternate universe where the Silver Age heroes John Stewart read about as a boy are real. Midway through, John gets suspicious that the world isn't all it seems, and goes to a library, where he finds all the books are blank.

Live-Action TV
  • When Willow's Superpowered Evil Side emerges in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she absorbs the text from all the magic shop's books on dark magic. Her friends later try to find out about the magic she's using, but the books are now blank.
  • In the Dark Oracle main heroes every episode find the eponymous comic book with blank pages. As time progresses, pages begin to fill up.

Real Life
  • In the line of "prop books", a social climber's library may be filled with shelves of these, there to look impressive rather than be read.

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