Whoah, have you ever wanted to OWN some DATA? Well GOOD NEWS, friend!
This super rad ebook costs $2.99 and you can get it for Kindle and also in the ePub format that works on iPads, Nooks, and Kobos and pretty much everything else too. All versions are DRM-free. It is the perfect gift for anyone who likes jokes! And reading! And writing! And time travel? And… Book Marty??
Things NOT included:
It’s a pretty awesome ebook if I do say so myself and if you liked this blog you’ll like reading it again in a more convenient format, I’m pretty sure!!
(through commerce i mean)
LAST PAGE, EVERYONE
Doc shoots Marty down about trying out his car (“That can wait.”) and says to bring her along anyway, since this concerns her too!
Marty felt a strong surge of apprehension. ”What do you mean?” he demanded. ”Does something happen to her? To us? Do we turn into assholes or something?”
Doc gets his big “no, you and Jennifer turn out fine. But your kids! Marty something’s gotta be done about your kids.” line, only with a period at the end instead of the way Christopher Lloyd exclaims it, so I guess it’s not that big of a deal after all. And Jennifer, oh Jennifer, you are so sheltered, so naive:
"Our kids?" Jennifer asked, her head swiveling between Marty and Doc Brown. "What kids? We aren’t even engaged yet…”
Marty asks if she would like to come along to 2015, Doc interrupts to say “We better hurry” (why, Doc? You’ve got a time machine - you’ve got all the time in the world!). Jennifer accepts the fact of this time machine incredibly easily and says, “Sure. Why not?” and they get into the DeLorean. Unlike the movie, where Doc’s got his crazy glasses and is refuelling the Mr. Fusion as he talks, here they’re just standing around talking at each other, so props to the movie for making this scene visually exciting!
When Doc Brown jumped behind the steering wheel, Marty reached over to touch his arm.
"You’d better back this thing up, Doc," he cautioned. "We haven’t got enough road to get up to eighty-eight."
And right now you’re all saying this:
But give us one last messed up line for old time’s sake, Gipe!!
"Where we’re going, we don’t use roads," Brown smiled.
Perfect! Now cram in the Mr. Fusion in the last second after all, and take us home!
He pointed to a new switch on the dashboard labeled MR. FUSION HOME ENERGY CENTER, hit it, and grinned with satisfaction as the DeLorean rolled about a hundred yards down the street, blased off into the sky trailing a thin flume of silver smoke, and then disappeared.
Thank you all for reading this book with me. If you go back to that first page eight months ago, you’ll see my plan was to hit the 20 or so dog-eared pages and be done in a month. But as I read I kept noticing new crazy things and so we ended up hitting every page in the book to one degree or another over the better part of a year! This was among the craziest books I’ve ever read, and I’m glad we could go on this journey together.
Those of you who haven’t seen the movie: GO WATCH IT NOW. Send me your feedback, and I’ll post some updates here!
Our final tallies for our “Doc!” and “Butthead” and “Great Scott!” counters were pitifully small, but the counter that I never actually started but let’s pretend I did for the number of brand names Gipe namedropped is EASILY in the mid double digits. We’ve all hopefully learned something about storytelling and writing, or at least how the natural charm of Michael J can save a script which could so easily tip into terribleness. And I’ve learned that a careful reading is its own reward!
Just now I’ve put up a reformatted ebook version of this site up for sale (only $2.99! which is as cheap as Amazon would let me sell it for because it’s so big because of all them crazy pictures!). I’ll make a post about this shortly. This is from Amazon, so you can IN THEORY buy Gipe’s book and my Crazy Reading Guide side-by-side and it’ll make kinda the best present ever if I do say so myself!
Up next: I dunno! 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 didn’t talk down to his readers like the sequel novelizations do, and that’s what makes this book interesting and those other books hella boring. For a taste, here’s how Book 2 (written by Craig Shaw Gardner, a man who isn’t dead, which means I’d also feel bad about tearing his work to shreds so publicly) describes some of the scenes we’ve already gone through with Gipe:
Everything - but everything - was different now!
The truck was a clincher. It was a new Toyota Four-By-Four, jet-black and gorgeous. And his parents had said it belonged to him!
Marty McFly still couldn’t believe how much had changed.
That’s how the book begins. The jump in style and in how the book talks to the reader like they’re six years old is jarring, especially when you consider how Gipe started his book by KILLING EVERYONE IN A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION. Hot damn.
Here’s the Jennifer bit, again holding our hand to make sure the six-year-olds aren’t left behind:
"Marty—" she said with a bit of a frown, "you’re acting like you haven’t seen me in a week!"
"I haven’t!" Marty answered without thinking.
She looked at him even more strangely.
"Are you okay? Is everything all right?"
That’s right! Marty realized there was no way she could know about everything that had happed to him. He had spent a whole week back in 1955, but he’d actually come back to 1985 at almost the same time he had left. So, to somebody who had stayed put in 1985, instead of jumping around in time like Marty and the DeLorean, it was like he hadn’t been gone at all.
How do you explain something like that to someone without sounding absolutely crazy?
Marty leaned over the top of the door just enough to see the wheels were rotating ninety degrees to flatten beneath the bottom of the car.
That meant the tires were no longer touching the ground.
That meant they had to be flying!
Doc gunned the car into the sky.
Marty and Jennifer looked at each other.
Nobody would ever believe this.
AHHHHHH, please oh please give me striving and failing for greatness any day over “shooting low and nailing the target”. George Gipe also wrote the novelization for Gremlins, but I’ve never seen that movie nor have I spent my formative years thinking about it, so the book to movie comparison blog is a task I leave to one of you. I wish you luck!
My name is Ryan North. I write Dinosaur Comics at qwantz.com, I write the ongoing Adventure Time comic book series at Comixology and your local comic book store WORLDWIDE, I co-edit Machine Of Death whose sequel book is coming out next summer, right now I’m buying things with Andrew Hussie’s credit card and he with mine, the awesome shirts I designed are here and my main tumblr is here and my Twitter is here. I’ll have some more exciting projects for you soon!
Jennifer (“as gorgeous as ever”, Gipe assures us) interrupts Marty’s car sex scene with her “How about a ride, mister?” and Marty says “Jen! Are you ever a sight for sore eyes! Let me look at you!”
In the movie, Jennifer says “Marty, you’re acting like you haven’t seen me in a week!” and hah hah it’s because he’s been gone for a week! That worked out really well!
Okay Gipe, let’s mess this up for no reason!
Jennifer was somewhat taken aback by the unexpected display of emotion. It wasn’t as if they had been separated for a long time, having seen each other only the evening before. [Editor’s note: wiiiiiiiiiiiiiink]
"Are you O.K.?" she asked. "You’re acting like you haven’t seen me in a year.”
As a writer, why would you do this? Changing “week” to “year” ruins the gag of him actually not seeing her for a week and you gain nothing by it. It’s just bad writing! But it turns out there WAS a reason:
“I feel like I haven’t seen you for thirty years," Marty smiled.
"That’s a long time to be deprived," she smiled back.
Oh it’s because he travelled thirty years but it’s still stupid because from Marty’s POV has only been a week, so this thirty years thing is demonstrably a worse version of the same idea! Once again, it’s like this book takes place in a crazy alternate universe where everything sucks just a little bit more than it needs to??
ANYWAY at this point they are kissing and OH SNAP remember when Marty got clockblocked? This time he’s…
In contrast to that picture, Doc’s book outfit is different from the movie: rather than Future Clothes and Trademark Opaque Future Shades, he’s got all sorts of different time periods going on, which I kinda like because it hints at all sorts of different adventures we haven’t seen!
Inside sat Doc Brown, wearing a cowboy hat. When he got out of the car, it was possible to see that he was dressed in a bizarre mixture of clothing types that included striped plastic pants, a cape and a strange variation on a Roman tunic.
Then he delivers his wham line of “Marty, you’ve got to come back with me - BACK TO THE FUTURE!” (it’s the title of the story, see) but the book entirely deflates it with what comes next. Seriously, this is right after the big dramatic “Back to the FUTURE!” line:
"Why?" [Marty said.]
"It’s important." [Doc said.]
Haha yep there goes that momentum! Marty whines that he doesn’t want to go (“But I’ve got Jennifer here. I was just gonna try out my new wheels.”) and every kid who ever wanted to see the future (yes I am raising my hand here) is wanting to punch Marty for being more interested in a STUPID CAR FROM THE PRESENT when he could go drive FUTUREMOBILES. It’s Luke Skywalker whining about power converters all over again! (That is from a different movie called “Star Wars” and if you haven’t heard of it, he’s a dude who fights another dude, I dunno)
The cover of A Match Made In Space is described here as “a bedroom with a space alien very reminiscent of Marty’s Darth Vader speaking to a young man cowering beneath the covers” which is awesome mainly for Gipe’s insistence that he put “space alien" in there in case we go away thinking A Match Made In Space is about an illegal Darth-Vader lookin’ Foreign National who is scaring a dude.
The movie goes through this quickly, and it’s almost too quick! Lorraine says its his first book, George says to his kids if they put their mind to it they can accomplish anything, and them BAM we’re busy with the 4x4. I guess I always wondered if the book was actually any good and if it sold. How is George an accomplished author if his first book is just coming out today?
Well FEARS: ASSUAGED, thanks to this Brady-Bunch level dialogue / entire scene!
"Holy cow," Marty said. "You wrote that, Dad?"
George nodded proudly. ”My first novel,” he said. ”I sure hope it sells.”
"Of course it’ll sell," Lorraine gushed. "After all, it’s not like you’re a nobody. You’ve been selling stories ever since college."
"That’s right, Dad," Dave added. "You’re the one who’s always telling us to have confidence and a positive attitude. Where’s yours now?"
"You’re right," George said. "I’m sure this book is going to do just fine."
Hold on hold on this sappy heartwarming family moment isn’t over yet!
Then, turning to Marty, he put a strong hand on his shoulder and said: “And that tape of yours is going to do just fine, too.”
Cue the audience saying “awwwwwww” in unison!
At this point Biff (“standing with a deferential smile during the previous conversation”, this dude has been transformed) gives Marty the keys to the 4x4 (Gipe taking this for-real-last-chance opportunity to drop some more brand names as he reminds us it’s “a tricked-out black Toyota SR5 truck, as shining and beautiful as when it sat on the showroom floor”), and Marty runs out and climbs inside and begins to have sex with it!
He ran to it, got inside and caressed the upholstery,
oh baby don’t stop
oh BABY, KEEP CARESSING, JUST GO NUTS WITH WHAT YOU CARESS, TELL ME WHAT YOU CARESS NEXT
every switch and dial within reach
that’s it, I’m done, Marty be sure to clean up the seats when you’re finished
An interesting difference between the movie and the book: here in booktopia, George asks for two coats of wax, and says the coat last time was a little sloppy:
"Yessir!" Biff replied in a voice that was friendly and eager to please. "You’re the boss, sir!"
Meanwhile in the movie, George asks for two coats of wax, Biff says he’s finishing up the second coat, and George says “Don’t con me” and Biff says “I’m sorry, I was just STARTING the second coat”. So movie Biff still has some of his jerky ways about him (old Biff remains an echo of his formal self!) while in the book, new Biff is completely transformed (/ old Biff COMPLETELY KILLED) and he just wants to do a really really good job.
Anyway remember when Lorraine almost got raped by Biff? George and Lorraine do! They think about it with a smile.
"I’ve had to keep Biff in line ever since high school." Then [George] added with a smile: “Although if it hadn’t been for Biff, your mother and I would never have met.”
"Yeah, Dad," Linda interrupted. "You’ve told us a million times already. You beat him up when he was bothering Mom and that’s how the two of you fell in love.”
"It was more than that," Lorraine added. "Your father literally came to my rescue." She sighed. "It was so romantic…"
Again, this works way better in the movie because the sexual assault was played down as much as is possible AND Linda and Lorraine don’t have this back and forth. Here in the book, where the word “rape” was used and her dress was torn open by Biff, this whole exchange is just really really strange. You can read it like George and Lorraine never telling their kids the full details, but Lorraine is still really into this night. Lorraine I don’t know what your deal is!!
Hey, remember how Marty kept going for those time travel laffs while he was in the 50s? He’s not the kind of guy to leave well enough alone, so at least he’s being consistent here in the 80s:
“Whatever happened to the other guy?" Marty asked.
"What other guy?" his father asked.
"The guy I was named after."
"Oh," Lorraine murmured. "We never saw him again. He vanished into thin air." Then, looking at Marty closely, she said "I don’t remember ever telling you about him."
”Well, you must have. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known, would I?”
And man this exchange is winky and terrible and only exists so Marty can lord his time-travel knowledge over his family, but it could’ve been worse. In the first draft of the movie, George goes back to a photograph of that night, looks at Marty in the photo and says something like “Naaaahhhhhhh, it couldn’t be!” and then the movie ends which is even winkier and terribler (and YES if you understood “terribler” it is so a word). This first draft also solves the “two Marties" problem by having Marty 2 walk into a bathroom and TOTALLY DISAPPEAR, an event glossed over by Doc in one line and never mentioned again which is so unsatisfying that I can see why they simply ignored the problem in the final draft rather than try to attempt an explanation!
While everyone is reminiscing about Lorraine’s Busy Night, Biff walks in with a book called A Match Made In Space!
SPOILER ALERT: GEORGE MCFLY WROTE IT :0
SPOILER ALERT 2: OMG WHAT IS GOING ON WITH HIS HAIR IN THAT AUTHOR PHOTO
SPOILER ALERT 3: THERE’S, LIKE, A WING AT THE BACK??
Lorraine puts her arm on Marty’s shoulder (familiar physical contact suggesting an easy relationship between these two characters! YES) and then says “Tonight’s the big night, isn’t it? Isn’t tonight your big date with Jennifer Parker? She’s such a nice girl. I really like her a lot.” Gipe lets us inside Marty’s head and then shoots down his own rhetorical questions:
Marty could hardly believe this was his mother talking, even taking the physical transformation into account. Could this be the same woman who continually bad-mouthed Jennifer? Obviously not.
In both the movie and the book, Marty says that he can’t go because the car’s wrecked. In the movie, everyone freaks out and is all “Wrecked? When did this happen? How come nobody told me?” and then they go outside and see the car is fine. In the book, nobody freaks out but instead they take this opportunity to awkwardly hit us over the head with what happened, in case we’re all as slow as Marty:
"Wrecked?" Dad said.
"He’s been like this all morning," Dave explained. "It’s like he went to bed and woke up in a different house with strange people.”
Wait wait, it gets better:
That was indeed the case but Marty didn’t say so.
Wow, Brother Dave sure is speaking naturally, and just like who had no idea what just happened would speak! They all calmly go out to see Biff waxing the car:
There in the driveway was a sparkling new BMW. Next to it stood Biff Tannen, polishing diligently. His expression also seemed subtly altered, devoid of the usual arrogance and belligerence. As he worked, he whistled a happy tune.
Out loud, Marty says “Geez,” and then “to himself” (though how his family standing right beside him knows which is which is a mystery) he says “What a difference a belt in the chops can make”.
So! Altered Biff: the dude goes from manager (of at least George McFly) to owning his own car-detailing business which as a self-employed dude (reviewing this crappy book = TOTALLY MY JOB) I can see as a step up. And he’s given up on a lot of his anger too, which is great! And here in the book he’s whistling a happy tune, which shows he’s even happier. So, hooray! Happiness!
But, maybe things aren’t so great? It makes me think of those dystopian science fiction futures where people get their minds messed with. Is Biff really happy? Or is his business in trouble and he’s putting a brave face on his faltering life? It’s pure speculation, obviously, but it’s a troublesome part of the ending because if Biff’s life isn’t unarguably improved like the McFly’s lives have been unarguably improved, then Marty has kind of done an ultimate dick move on Biff: improved his own life at the expense Biff’s. He’s used Biff (intentionally or not) and there’s all sorts of consequences we don’t see: for example, if Biff had kids in 1985 Prime that he didn’t have in this new 1985, there used to be some alive kids running around that aren’t running around anymore because WHOOPS THEY NEVER GOT BORN, HOPE THOSE STRAWBERRIES WERE WORTH IT MARTY
Something to think about, I guess! I know that Crispin Glover (dude played George McFly) argued to have something be wrong in this ending, to show that maybe messing with time wasn’t the greatest idea and there were unintended consequences. He got overruled, but that would make this ending even (arguably) darker!
All that aside, YES the fact that George and Lorraine hire to wax their car the man who tore her dress and tried to rape her in high school seems INCREDIBLY WEIRD no matter how you slice it.