Everyone knows the story of Back to the Future: teenager Marty McFly goes back in time from 1985 to 1955, interrupts his parents' first meeting, jeopardizes his existence in the process, so on, so forth, and what have you.
Well... actually, not everyone knows that story, or at least the finalized version. One particular person, George Gipenote , was more familiar with the draft he was given in 1984 so he could write the novelization.
And, for a while, that was it: the novelization was published, and not much attention was directed towards it since.
While "B^F"'s primary form of existence comes in the form of the Tumblr blog (which can be read in chronological order here, an ebook version was made after it finished, released on August 12th, 2012.
If you thought you knew Back to the Future before, hold on to your hats...
This book / series provides examples ofnote :
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Ryan initially believes that school disciplinarians like Mr. Strickland only exist in movies. A fan subsequently wrote in saying that their aunt works as a "Mistress of Discipline" at a Catholic school.
- Ambiguous Syntax: When Mr. Strickland asks Marty about the "emergency" call at the beginning of the book (knowing full well about it due to tapping into their phone line), Marty lies and says it's about a crippled aunt and uncle in Wisconsin, claiming, "They were in a car accident about ten years." Ryan is left confused about whether Marty meant a past event or an "epic ten-year-long car accident STILL IN PROGRESS".
- Antiquated Linguistics: Ryan constantly points out instances of the novel using these, often dubbing them "old-man-itis". He, in particular, enjoyed the use of the word "suzerainty".
- Artistic License Physics: Discussed.(SCIENCE CORNER: refraction is about changing the direction of a wave, not focusing it; please do not learn science while reading this)
- A Simple Plan: Originally, Ryan was simply going to talk about 20 pages that he had dog-eared that interested him for various reasons. Instead, he wound up talking about the whole novelization page-by-page, which ultimately (at least going by the ebook) wound up being longer than it.
- Author Appeal: Ryan suspects that Gipe liked to name-drop brand names at every chance he got.
- Big "WHAT?!": Upon reaching the novelization's take on Marty reacting to the altered 1985, Ryan wonders how long it's going to take Marty to realize the future's been chang—
- Crazy Awesome: This is Ryan's reaction to Marty worrying that Doc will wind up in "a society of robots that takes [him] prisoner":MARTY WHY ARE YOU HINTING AT OTHER VERSIONS OF THIS MOVIE THAT WOULDVE BEEN AWESOME??
- Date Rape Averted: While that bit from the film is still intact in the novelization, here it's played up instead of downplayed. It even outright uses the word "rape" in one scene.
- Deadpan Snarker: Apparently either Gipe or Zemeckis and Gale (who wrote the draft Gipe used) thought Marty should engage in some stand-up in the movienote . This is especially prevalent in the 1985 dinner scene, where Marty "throws out one-liners [at] EVERY SINGLE CHANCE HE GETS".
- Delayed Ripple Effect: Ryan discusses it here, using "metatime" as a thesis to explain how long (or quickly) the timeline takes to change in response to Marty's actions in the past.
- Doing In the Wizard: The novelization explains that the flux capacitor isn't what makes time travel possible, "its just a really good battery with a high discharge rate". Ryan even compares this to Star Wars introducing midichlorians to explain the Force.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: What does Marty do after getting the keys to the 4x4?note Marty runs out and climbs inside and begins to have sex with it!
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Ryan really loves Mr. Strickland.
- Parodied in the ebook announcement, where Ryan lists people the ebook would be the perfect gift for:It is the perfect gift for anyone who likes jokes! And reading! And writing! And time travel? And... Book Marty??
- Parodied in the ebook announcement, where Ryan lists people the ebook would be the perfect gift for:
- Everyone Has Standards: The only reason why Ryan did this at all was because George Gipe was dead.
- Faux Computer Code: When Ryan describes the brief scuffle between Marty and Biff in Lou's Cafe after George's attempt to ask Lorraine out.
- Foregone Conclusion: Page 118 ends with the 1955 Doc asking Marty who's president in 1985, and Ryan makes it a big Cliffhanger moment. Only problem? Even if you honestly don't know yourself for whatever reason, Ryan quotes the movie version of this scene at the start of the post. "Ronald Reagan, the actor?", remember?CLIFFHANGER ENDING: COME BACK TOMORROW TO FIND OUT WHO IT IS/WAS, NO CHECKING WIKIPEDIA OR YOUR MEMORY BECAUSE THAT IS CALLED "CHEATING"
- Even funnier is that one of the tags points this out:
- For Want of a Nail: At one point, we get to see what would've happened if Marty pulled the "flux capacitor" card early when talking to the 1955 Doc for the first time. The end result is that when the 1955 Doc slams the door in his face, Marty has nothing to say to convince him. Ultimately, after going back to Hill Valley and seeing "The Atomic Kid" and taking a nap, yes, really, Marty decides to drive the DeLorean to the Brown Mansion to show him.
- Freak Out: A minor change to one of Doc's lines causes Ryan to go nuts:WHAT
THAT IS NOT THE APPROPRIATE QUESTION, THATS THE EXACT SAME INAPPROPRIATE QUESTION WITH EXTRA PROFANITY ADDED IN
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND... THIS BOOK
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND... GEORGE GIPE
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND... WHY THIS PASSAGE IMPLIES THAT DOC BROWN SENT EINSTEIN STRAIGHT TO HELL
- Genre Shift: As Ryan points out, there are two instances where Marty suddenly acts like he's in a Adventure Game. And when this happens, we are treated to "Marty Quest" just to hit the point home, Text Parser and all.
- Giving Up on Logic: Discussed: the scene where Marty escapes from detention is so far removed from the realm of logic that not only does Ryan hypothesize that this exact scene caused the entire script to be rewritten outright, but also, as stated above, Ryan presents the scene as a point-and-click adventure game, as it is the only way for Marty's actions to even make some amount of sense.ALRIGHT, PENCILS DOWN. Have you figured out how to escape the room yet? Probably not! Probably because you are a human being who is not insane!
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: Ryan's reaction when the Libyans' van was decribed as an "ominous van":(Ominous Van = great band name? GREATEST band name?)
- Grave Humor: At a point in the story where Biff has yet to call Marty a butthead, Ryan reveals what he wants his epitaph to say:HERE LIES RYAN NORTH
All he wanted was to see a teen drive a car through time so that he could be called a butthead in two distinct time periods.
- I'm Mr. [Future Pop Culture Reference]:
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Somehow, the Lybians manage to miss shooting at Doc, with an AK-47, at point-blank range.
- Late to the Realization: It takes Marty a shocking amount of time to realize that by driving the time machine, he went back in time.
- And, sadly, it doesn't even take driving to his house, only to find a model home in an empty field, to clue Marty in. What does? Glancing at the "Destination Time" and "Current Time" readouts on the time circuits.Marty I want to help but you need to tell me what happened to you
- And, sadly, it doesn't even take driving to his house, only to find a model home in an empty field, to clue Marty in. What does? Glancing at the "Destination Time" and "Current Time" readouts on the time circuits.
- Literal Metaphor:
- The coverage of the most racist page in the novelization ends on this note:"a swarthy character resembling Yasser Arafat leaned out. He threw up an AK 47 submachine gun and opened fire."
And so this, the most racist page so far, ends with Yasser Arafat vomiting up machine guns.
- Also, during the scene where Mr. Strickland confronts George McFly over being bullied:"'You're a slacker!' Strickland charged."
and one of the advantages of books over movies is that WE get to imagine the action, and I choose to read "charged" in the "bull running towards someone" sense, which means I get to imagine Mr. Strickland yelling "You're a slacker!" as he rushes towards George McFly, students falling like so many bowling pins around him, and I invite you to join me because it's great.
- The coverage of the most racist page in the novelization ends on this note:
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Practically a Running Gag in the blog as Ryan has to keep pointing out that what he's describing is what actually happens in the novelization.
- Pet the Dog:
The novelizations for Part 2 and 3, as I said, are way less crazy and written for a much lower reading level. For all his faults, Gipe didnt talk down to his readers like the sequel novelizations do, and thats what makes this book interesting and those other books hella boring.
- For all the book's faults, Ryan still admits that it's a better novelization than the ones for Parts 2 and 3.
- He even goes out of his way to mention two points that the novelization does better: Doc punching in December 25th, 0000 as Jesus' birthdaynote and Marty managing to only give himself 10 minutes to try and save Docnote .
- Plot Hole:
- As Ryan points out, it's mentioned that Marty has a "new" Walkman with him as he leaves for Twin Pines Mall due to Strickland crushing his old one with a vice while Marty was in detention in an earlier scene.(when did he get it? Seriously, when) (Marty's movements have been fully accounted for since his Walkman was destroyed and he never went to the Walkman store) (I dub thee: Paradox Walkman)
- Similarly, the 1955 Doc picks up his Brain-wave Analyzer after learning Ronald Reagan is President in 1985... and it's intact, despite Doc having smashed it three pages ago:(which is also insane!! He smashed it into smithereens just three pages ago but hah hah continuity across three pages? WHY NOT ASK FOR THE MOON WHILE YOURE AT IT)
- As Ryan points out, it's mentioned that Marty has a "new" Walkman with him as he leaves for Twin Pines Mall due to Strickland crushing his old one with a vice while Marty was in detention in an earlier scene.
- Precision F-Strike: Here's the novelization's take on Doc correcting Marty's questioning where Einstein and the DeLorean went after it vanished; Ryan took it well:"The appropriate question," Doc Brown amended, "is not where are they, but where the hell are they?"
- Race Against the Clock: Unsurprisingly, Gipe manages to futz the original trope naming scenenote up by relegating the final stretch to a few paragraphs.
- Rage Quit: "Marty Quest II" comes to an abrupt end when, as Marty travels through time, Ryan gets fed up:Can you solve [the mystery of the phenomena happening when the car hit 88 mph]?
> cant say i care to!! QUIT
Are you sure you want to quit Marty Quest II?
> i say this with all sincerity: never in all my years on this lonely planet have i been more sure of anything until this very moment
Thank you for playing Marty Quest II!
- He only gets 1.21 out of 88 points as a result.
- Reality Ensues: Ryan mentions that his brother tried holding onto the back of a vehicle while skateboarding, like Marty does in the film. The end result was that he fell while the vehicle was still moving, and "got road rash on his chest SO BADLY that the pavement literally grated a nipple offnote and he had to go to the hospital".
- Rimshot: Ryan links to this SNL clip everytime Marty makes a quip in the 1985 dinner scene.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
One of the challenges with this blog is to find new ways to say HOLY CRAP THERE ARE A LOT OF UNNECESSARY WORDS, but holy crap, you guys: there are a lot of unnecessary words.
- Ryan has a theory that Gipe (thought he) was paid by the word, and really, it shows...
- What adds credence to Ryan's theory is that the last two chapters of the book speed through the clocktower scene and the ending. And in a book that averages at 17.71 pages per chapter, that amounts to twenty-four pages altogether.In the movie there's still lots of movie time left, but it seems Gipe is racing towards the finish line here? Perhaps at this point he realized he wasn't being paid by the word?? Perhaps he said "aw frig, really?" and then busted out sentences like "then the teen with the shirt on went back to future, like in the title, and his parents were all weird, THE END"?
- Show, Don't Tell: At one point, the narration says, "Doc Brown truly resembled the stereotypical mad scientist on a mission that would shake the world." Ryan calls this "a new level of straight-up-telling-instead-of-showing crappy writing that I've never even considered before", and pokes fun of it by writing similar descriptions for Captain Kirk, Conan the Barbarian, and a generic mobster.
- Unfortunate Implications:
- Page 63, the most racist page of the novelization.
- Page 199. Just... page 199.Doc "senses Marty's mental turmoil" and asks him what the deal is, and Marty says "I guess it's this whole thing with my mother" and oh boy we will have deal with THAT tomorrow! It is actually a whole thing! It's kinda awful!
- Verbal Backspace: After his "When this baby hits 88 MPH, you're going to see some serious shit" line, Doc realizes that Marty is filming this and quickly rewords his statement without colloquial language:"When a speed of eighty-eight miles an hour is attained, unusual things should begin happening in this phase of temporal experiment number one."
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Say, you know how Marty and Doc are friends? Kinda hard to tell here...Doc says that's all well and good but "what if you'd been spotted by some cop?" and Marty replies "What if I'm spotted by a cop when I'm in the time machine?" and Doc says "If that happens, you keep going, dummy."
Cant you feel the love between these two people? Its just so wonderful to read about two great friends having an adventure together
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Ryan really lays into how the novelization handles the "Marty being too forward with Lorrane at the dance" plan, where instead of downplaying that it's an assault, it emphasizes it, even going so far as to... well, let's just say Ryan labels a certain line as the worst line of the book...
- In fact, Ryan calls out that portion of the film in all contexts.
- Ryan states that by only giving himself 10 minutes to try and prevent Doc's death in 1985 in the movie, Marty acts like his book counterpart.
- Who's on First?: This is how Ryan describes the "bit" where Marty confirms with Doc about "[meeting him] at Twin Pines Mall at 1:15 tomorrow morning":Its like theyre in a whos on first routine, only instead of jokes, theres just repeated confirmation of a useless fact! I say, are they to meet at Twin Pines Mall at 1:15 am tomorrow morning? Could this be clarified somehow??
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Minor contradiction aside, Ryan is weirded out by Doc's flawed calculation between dates when explaining how long he had been working on the time machine. He then imagines a weird number system inspired by Doc's faulty math."How old are you, Ryan?"
"Oh shucks, I'm 10 years and 252 months old! Incidentally, the current time is 11:429 am, so we should probably get dinner going."
- actual conversation??
- You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: In playing "Marty Quest II", Ryan has trouble working the DeLoreannote :