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."
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!
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!
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??
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)
On this page Marty asks Doc what his plans are, and Doc says he’s gonna wait till the cops are gone from the parking lot, go back to his van, pick up the plutonium pellets there and take a look at the future. How far?
Doc shrugged. ”I figure I’ll take it slow at first,” he replied. ”Maybe I’ll go about thirty years, just to get my feet wet. Then maybe I’ll take a look-see at the 22nd or 23rd centuries…”
"Well, good luck," Marty said.
The 22nd and 23rd centuries part stands out as being weird, but whatever, maybe it’s cool that the temporal expanse of Back To The Future can get enlarged a bit! The time machine is good at travelling through all through time, we don’t need to limit ourselves to within a claustrophobic plus or minus 100 years of 1985!
Doc says “It’s funny, isn’t it? I had to wait thirty years to catch up with you. Now you’ve gotta wait thirty years to catch up with me. Ain’t life weird…” and then he winks and closes the door and drives off.
Then Marty presumably walks home and goes to bed and the next morning wakes up and thinks it’s was all a crazy dream! But then he pinches himself and it’s not! So he pulls out his record company submission form from the trash and puts it in a mailing envelope (“Why not? My music has been wowing them for three decades. I’m a cinch to win.”) and then goes downstairs his house and family is all different!1 Weird!
END OF UPDATE
1. So! Let’s talk about Marty. Specifically, let’s talk about this sequence of events:
The Marty we’ve been reading about (Marty Prime) goes back in time at the Twin Pines Mall.
Marty Prime has some adventures that change things (the name of the mall, the circumstances of his parents meeting, his family’s history)
Marty Prime goes back to the present, goes to the Lone Pine Mall, and watches himself go back in time again.
See the problem? Whether or not you buy my meta-time explanation of Back To The Future’s time-travel mechanics (though you TOTALLY SHOULD because it TOTALLY WORKS), Marty has returned to a future where at least SOME things have changed: we know for sure the name of the mall has, and we know for sure that Doc’s spent the past 30 years trying to act natural while knowing he’s totally going to invent a time machine and meet Marty and wear a bullet-proof vest someday! And if you don’t buy my theory of changes to the timeline themselves take time, then you’re arguing that EVERYTHING in 1985 has already been altered, and we’re already fully in this Improved 1985 that Marty created for himself.
Either way, the world we’re in isn’t identical to the one that Marty left at the beginning of the story. And that’s a problem. It’s actually a huge problem, because it means the Marty going back in time NOW isn’t the same Marty that left at the beginning of the story, and time travel is basically the poster child for sensitivity to initial conditions.
This new Marty has had different experiences, from things as small as the name of the mall to as large as what his family does for a living and whether or not they hire their old high-school bully and sexual assaulter to wax their car (yes this happens, no I dunno why). Due to different life experience, this Marty is a different person than the one we met at the beginning of this story. Let’s call him Marty 2.
Marty 2, being that different person, is absolutely going to have different adventures in 1955 than Marty Prime did. There’s a few ways these adventures could turn out, especially considering how narrowly Marty Prime avoided disaster when he was running through them:
Marty 2 doesn’t get his parents back together, and so he ceases to exist. RESULT: Marty 2 and Marty Prime were never born, which causes major damage to the space-time continuum.
Marty 2 does get his parents back together, but slightly differently, as Marty 2 would interact with Doc differently, blabs about the future differently, steps on different bugs, etc). This results in a new, again altered 1985 where Marty 2 watches Marty 3 go back in time. RESULT: a loop, potentially infinite. The timeline may never stabilize into a solid reality ever again, and Marty 2212626 could watch Marty 2212627 go back in time. This is probably a bad thing.
Marty 2 doesn’t mess with his parents meeting at all, and so has a different adventure in 1955! At the end of this, either he returns or he doesn’t.
If he DOESN’T return, then no Marty returned to 1985, INCLUDING THE MARTY PRIME WHICH CREATED HIM. RESULT: Paradox, Marty 2 ceases to exist (and maybe the entire universe does too? I dunno)
If he DOES return, then he still altered 1955 as he must interact with Doc to get the machine to work, and we’re left with the again-altered 1985 where Marty 2 watches Marty 3 go back and all the potential for infinite loops that presents.
So either Marty is never born, Marty’s successful trip back to 1985 gets erased (undoing all the work Doc and Marty have put into it and maybe destroying the universe in a paradox), or the timeline starts looping, never reaching a stable new reality. Those are really the only options we’ve got, and none of them are great! They all kinda suck, actually!
"But Ryan!" you’re saying, "The movie doesn’t show any of these catastrophes happening! So there’s got to be a different way.”
And this is true. When we reach a conclusion from a set of facts that doesn’t match up with reality, our only option is to look at our reasoning and find the flaw in it. And I totally slipped in an unfounded assumption earlier on you guys when I was talking about the sequence of events. It’s this part:
3. Marty Prime goes back to the present, goes to the Lone Pine Mall, and watches himself go back in time again.
Here’s the thing: we only saw Marty 2 travel through time. We never were told his destination. And I submit to you this hypothesis, this wham-bang anagnorisis that changes everything now and forever:
Marty 2 didn’t go back in time.
At least, not like Marty Prime did.
Doc’s a smart guy, and he’s had thirty years to work out the consequences of what happened during that week in 1955. He would’ve gone through this reasoning and made all the same conclusions we did here. So what’s the third way? How do we solve this? There’s two solutions:
Step 1: Kill Marty McFly.
Step 1: use these thirty years to design a different time machine, one which rather than travelling within one timeline, allows you to also travel sideways to a different timeLINE.
Step 2: (Optional) Kill Marty McFly.
Option 1 is the cleanest, but it’s pretty clear why Doc didn’t chose it. If he had, all he had to do was send Marty 5 billion years into the future, when the sun’s a red giant. Poof: Marty McFly killed instantly in a causality-free way, he never goes back in time, and we avoid the undesirable outcomes of “Marty never born/universe destroyed” or “Timeline constantly in flux”. Instead, Marty dies, Doc never got warned about the terrorists so Doc dies too, and the timeline stabilizes at the cost of both Doc and Marty’s life.
Option 2 is trickier, but it’s the only thing that gets us to what we were shown happening in the movie and book, so it must’ve been what happened. Here’s how it goes down.
Doc uses the thirty years head start he has to design a new DeLorean, one that looks the same but operates slightly differently. Rather than go back in time along one timeline, it takes a step sideways and sends you back in time in a parallel timeline. That means that Marty 2 goes to Hill Valley X, and Doc doesn’t have to worry about Marty anymore. Our Doc’s timeline has finally stabilized, with Marty 2 disappearing and replaced by Marty Prime, who watched this whole thing happen.
But Marty 2’s not dead! He’s in 1955 in Hill Valley X, where he can mess up all he wants and it’ll only affect the future of Marty X, who is causally unrelated to him. This is the critical part. Marty 2 no longer can mess up his own birth, only Marty X’s birth. Let’s say he ends up keeping Marty X alive and then makes it back to 1985. When Marty 2 arrives in 1985 in Hill Valley X2, he’ll watch Marty X2 (as both the town and Marty X himself were altered by Marty 2’s actions) travel through time.
The problem is this: if Doc X lets Marty X2 go into ANOTHER new parallel timeline, this whole mess repeats, only instead of a constantly-shifting timeline we now have a messy and potentially-infinite explosion of parallel timelines. That’s probably not wise. So instead Doc X (perhaps informed by a note Bulletproof Vest Doc hid in the machine) punches in a different demonstration date of 5 billion years in the future, and Marty X2 quickly burns to death in the heart of our dying sun.
And that’s it! Both timelines are now stable AND we’ve eliminated the chance of them being altered by killing off an alternate Marty as he makes his first trip in time. Things are stable, the timeline avoided both catastrophic destruction AND an infinite series of Marties, and all it cost us was the life of one Marty X2 McFly.
I’d say that’s worth it, and it seems like both Doc and Doc X agreed with me.
(It’s worth noting that the book and the movie both gloss over this point and skip right to the scene of Marty 2 arriving in 1985 Hill Valley X2, which I can only assume was for time concerns.1)
END OF FOOTNOTES
1. “But Ryan,” you’re saying, “if that’s true, why does Marty 2 react to Marty X’s family with such surprise?” and the solution is obvious: as we skipped over Marty 2’s household (recall we only get to see Marty X2’s family), we can conclude that his family life was different from the X2 universe too, hence his surprise.
END OF FOOTNOTE FOOTNOTES
OH SNAP I JUST REALIZED YOU COULD TOTALLY ARGUE THAT THIS IS WHAT THAT STUPID “DOC FLIPS A MYSTERIOUS SWITCH" SCENE ON THE LAST PAGE WAS ABOUT!! Doc’s putting the time machine back to "travel within one timeline" mode in preparation for his trip to the future, because he wants to be able to return to the very same timeline he departed from. It all fits! HOT DAMN, GIPE! YOU WERE ONE STEP AHEAD OF US ALL THIS ENTIRE TIME!!
Some odd choices and one truly inscrutable one await us on this page! SO LET’S BEGIN:
Doc does his “Well, what the hell” line to Marty, and you know how we just saw a firefight, with terrorists, INVOLVING ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADES, down here at the mall? Well the cops in this book are better than movie cops, because they totally noticed when that happened too!
Nearby, the police had poured out of their cars and were busily rounding up the terrorists.
(And you could argue putting that “the terrorists” in bold is unfair but COME ON Gipe went out of his way to give them names and motivations earlier on! He gave himself OPTIONS when it came to referring to these van dudes and has squandered them all, alas, alas)
Anyway these book cops aren’t THAT much better than the movie cops because they entirely miss out on the only other people standing around in the deserted parking lot by a van and don’t so much as glance in their direction, allowing them to run away with ease:
"Let’s get out of here," Doc Brown said. "This is going to be impossible to explain."
"I’m with you," Marty said.
Together, they ran toward the mall core and disappeared into the shadows as even more police cruisers turned the corner into the mall.
As they sped away in the step-van, the two men discussed their adventures…
And man wouldn’t it be awesome if that was the ending to the whole book right there? Wouldn’t it? No? Okay I can see your point and I respect it.
Marty admits to “screwing up a little”, Doc asks how, and Marty explains the whole “this used to be Twin Pines mall tilll I ran over a pine tree in the past by accident” thing, ending with “I guess that’s why they call it Lone Pine now.”
Doc Brown smiled. “You’ll probably notice a lot of things like that,” he said. “It’ll be your own private joke with Hill Valley for the rest of your life.”
That’s how the conversation ends, with Marty just trailing off with “Yeah…”, and I’m pretty sure you can read a lot into that. I, for example, read it as Marty being worried that he’s changed so much he won’t recognize anything, and concerned that all his relationships and friendships he remembers have been destroyed or altered beyond recognition with strange new ones in their place. But whatever!
Okay so here’s the part I don’t get AT ALL:
A few minutes later, they reached the DeLorean and Doc got inside.
"Won’t start, eh?" he said.
Doc reached under the ignition, flipped a hidden switch and smiled as the engine roared to life.
"What are your plans now?" Marty asked.
What the hell? What’s that switch doing there? HERE ARE POSSIBILITIES:
That switch was always there, and Doc built the DeLorean with a “will deke you out by failing to start for a little while the first time, and then actually fail to start the second time” switch in the machine. BUT WHY??
All cars have this switch - for some reason? - and I am dumb about cars (possible, I don’t spend too much time thinking about cars and missed that you can totally floor a manual transmission car more than once in an earlier post)
Past Doc somehow knew that the car had trouble starting (perhaps he started it a few times) and so resolved to build a switch in when he built it again, which Present Doc is now taking advantage of? But it doesn’t make sense! NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE
Doc reaches the top of the clock tower and looks down to Marty, who has finally found the end of the wire. And given how difficult this task was for poor Marty, I kinda imagine his waving to be less “hey look I found it” and more the kind of hands up in the air waving that Kermit The Frog might do if he just won the lottery:
Looking down, he saw Marty, five stories below, waving the paddle plug which he had just located.
Doc throws down the rope, Marty ties the cable to it, and Doc pulls it up. So far, so good. Marty still wants to warn Doc about The Terrorists (and yes he is still referring to them them as The Terrorists; it’s amazing) so he tries again:
Marty cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted as loudly as he could. ”I gotta tell you about the future, Doc! Please listen to me!”
The words were lost amid a new rush of wind which nearly tore the rope from Doc’s grasp.
"The future!" Marty yelled. "On the night I travel back in time, the terrorists show up and get you -“
That’s the clock tower! It’s tolling ten o’clock, and Marty is so pissed that Doc can’t hear him anymore that he expresses his anger at reality exactly how Miss Piggy would:
Kicking angrily at the ground, Marty waited, knowing he hadn’t a prayer of being heard.
Hahah Book Marty, the more you act like Muppet Marty the more I like you!! Keep kicking that ground!
Anyway in the movie Doc yells “Go! Look at the time, you’ve got less than four minutes!” and Marty takes off in the car. In the book, Doc just “gestures wildly towards the DeLorean, then at his watch” and then finally yells “Run, boy, run!!” Then Marty drives off and instead of Doc cheering “Yaaaay!” and kissing his hands like he does in the movie (which always struck me as an adorable and sincere response) Doc stands around and talks to himself because everyone in this story talks to themselves because whoever wrote the screenplay thought that’s the only way to show what a character was thinking:
"Good," he whispered. "Now all I have to do is make sure he’s not barreling down the street for nothing."
Doc creeps along the clock tower edge and has some time to talk some more to himself:
"I’ll be alive in 1985," he said, realizing even as he said it that he was whistling past the graveyard. "I’ll be alive in ‘85 - so I’m safe now."
The words came out but he knew they were fallacious. His being alive in 1985 was predicated on his not climbing clock towers in 1955.
"Well," he gasped. "Let’s just get it done."
And I can see why they didn’t include that in the movie: it’s a line that raises a lot of questions about time travel that you don’t really want to be distracted by right now. Plus, it phrases them in a “I’m gonna survive” way, when a more dramatic way to present them is in a “if I fall and die it’ll be a paradox and the timeline gets destroyed” way instead, so it’s not even an optimally-phrased distraction!
IDIOM KORNER: “whistling past the graveyard” is an expression that means “trying to stay cheerful in difficult circumstances”. I have heard this expression used by my parents and grandparents and not once by a radical teen, but that may just be the kind of teen company I keep, so I am HOLDING BACK on the old man itis tag… THIS TIME.
Marty says he’s late because of the dance and because he had to change (not saying “I’m not going back to the future in some zoot suit” like he does in the movie, a line I loved because it underlined how bad Marty was at history AND YET HERE HE IS IN HISTORY, HOW IRONIC)
In the movie, Marty explains how everything’s great now, and shows Doc the picture. Marty says “He laid out Biff in one punch. I never knew he had it in him. He never stood up to Biff in his life!” and there’s this REALLY WEIRD MOMENT where Doc looks up and says “Never?” and there’s a pause and Marty says “No, why, what’s the matter?” and Doc ignores him.
You guys, I could never figure this part out. Did Doc know of another time when George punched Biff? Well I guess I was the slow one because what Doc’s doing here is spelled out completely: he’s worried about the timeline being changed but decides not to say anything! In Booktopia, of course, the characters say everything the can, and Marty starts by saying he thinks his dad might even go to college now:
DOC: “Then that’s something else you’ll be able to worry about between now and the time you get back to 1985.”
DOC: Well, if he does go to college, thanks to you, it’ll change his life.
MARTY: For the better, I hope.
DOC: Maybe, but suppose while he’s there, he meets some coed who’s more attractive to him than your mother? That could cause you to do a quick fade out. Or suppose because of college expenses, your mom and dad decide to hold off having kids for a couple years? If that happens, you may find that you’re twelve or fourteen years old in 1985 instead of seventeen. How do you like them apples?
And hahaha, amazing, Doc ending that speech with “How do you like them apples” is AMAZING. I love it. What I DON’T love is how crazy that paragraph is!
CRAZINESS ONE: What Doc’s saying makes sense (college is a big life change, and many high school relationships don’t survive it) HOWEVER the “quick fade out” thing is weird and only fits with my variable-speed metatime theory if Doc’s wrong about how quick it would be. But on the other hand, it’s only in the book and Doc is a Crappy Doc here! Either way it’s a weird thing to introduce in the middle of a “let’s travel through time really dangerously” climax! I guess it’s there so we can think “oh no even if this works Marty might STILL be pooched” but I really feel like that robs tension rather than heightening it. Marty’s no longer driving through time to save his life as he knows it; he’s just driving through time to MAYBE do that. It seems wimpier, somehow?
CRAZINESS TWO: Oh my gosh Doc sex doesn’t work that way!! If I delay having kids by a few years, THE CHILD THAT IS BORN IS A DIFFERENT KID. Totally different egg, totally different sperm, brotimes! It’s not like every couple has a few kids waiting inside them all queued up in an orderly line ready to pop out, and if George decides to engage in just one extra OR EVEN ONE FEWER session of "Just George" Alone Time Sex Fun Times, Why Are You Knocking On The Door, Somebody’s In Here before he and Lorraine conceive, Marty as we know him won’t ever be born. Heck, the birth of ANYONE is so hugely statistically improbable compared to all the alternate children that could’ve been born instead that to draw attention to how unlikely it is, even in a really stupid way, seems like a super bad idea?
CRAZINESS THREE: hah hah hah, “how do you like them apples?” I STILL LOVE IT
Page 225 starts off Chapter Thirteen! SECOND-LAST CHAPTER, EVERYONE, and it’s gonna go fast because we’ve only got 20 pages left in the book. 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”? PERHAPS THERE IS BUT ONE WAY TO FIND OUT?
So, we get this porny phrase:
Town Square was deserted except for a small pack of dogs and [Doc] was ready to go.
Like in the movie, Doc checks the time first on his old-timey pocketwatch (circa 1890! Oooh snap unintentional foreshadowing!) and then on the watch he’s wearing on each wrist one by one, which is nice. Then Marty finally shows up, driving towards him at “precipitous speed” and I always thought “precipitous” meant “steep” like a cliff but it can also mean “sudden” or “dramatic” so hooray! We all learnt a vocabulary word! Maybe you already knew that, but I didn’t and since I like to assume I’m the bro with the best vocabulary in this town, I’m gotta totes assume we ALL learned a thing here.
Doc is PISSED. So pissed that he’s talking to himself:
"Good," he grunted finally, satisfied that the vehicle was his Packard. "But why drive like that, dummy? Why crack up in the wrong car?”
A moment later, Marty was available for the answer.
And yep, I’ve got NO IDEA what “crack up” is doing there either! Gipe’s certainly not using it to mean “laugh” or “go crazy”. Maybe he’s using it to mean “go quickly”? Because maybe that’s what the expression meant in the time of Charlemagne? Because old man itis?
Doc scolds him for being late (that’s what it says: “scolded”! Can’t you see what great friends these two characters are?) and Marty’s availability for the answer lets us learn that he was driving fast to see how fast he could go, and it’s a good thing too, because there’s a bump on the road that he now knows about. He’ll just drive on the left-hand side for that part. Is this information relevant? Nope! But there it is anyway! Enjoy!
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.”
Can’t you feel the love between these two people? It’s just so wonderful to read about two great friends having an adventure together
Marty does the “Have you ever been in a situation where you know you have to act a certain way, but when you get there, you don’t know if you can go through with it?” line, Lorraine says “Like on a first date?” and Marty nods and Lorraine says “I don’t worry about that!” and “threw her arms around his neck, reached up and kissed him passionately" and it’s weird because if her arms are around his neck I’m not really sure which backup arms she’s using to reach up?
Then we’re back with George in the bathroom! Dixon and his friends won’t let him out (“you’re gonna stay there and stew in your own stink” he says: gross). And at this point, we just deal with logistics for the rest of the scene.
LOGISTICS 1: GETTING NEW CIGARETTES
Dixon says he’s lost a very valuable cigarette, George doesn’t get it and promises to buy him a whole pack, Dixon asks when, George says tomorrow, Dixon says he wants them now, George says “there’s no place at school I can buy them and most of the stores are closed”
New cigarettes: not achieved
LOGISTICS 2: KEEPING GEORGE PRISONER
George says it’s silly to keep him prisoner and their dates will miss them, Dixon agrees, and so works out a plan where two of his friends hold George prisoner while one goes out and gets reinforcements and envisions a system of watches of ten minutes each so that everyone can enjoy the dance while keeping George stuck there.
Keeping George prisoner: achieved!
George sits down in defeat and sees it’s ten after nine. He is LATE and possibly DOOMED.
Back to the car!
In the movie, Lorraine kisses Marty once, freezes, retreats slowly and says “This is all wrong”.
In the book, SCREW THAT LORRAINE IS GOING TO TOWN!!
Lorraine continued her passionate assault on Marty for perhaps a minute
And then when she finally realizes something is wrong in the movie, all she says is “I don’t know what it is, but when I kiss you, it’s like I’m kissing… my BROTHER. I guess that doesn’t make any sense, does it?” and Marty says “Believe me, it makes perfect sense.” Nice little gag, right? Short and tight and to the point? Well if you are drinking every time Gipe uses too many words then I’m sorry but you are dead and have been for weeks.
CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK IT OUT:
LORRAINE: This isn’t right.
MARTY: Doing this? [“he murmured”, which sounds a little like he’s… into it?]
LORRAINE: No. What’s wrong is we’re not doing it right. I don’t know what it is… but when I kiss you, something’s wrong…
MARTY: With you or with me?
LORRAINE: I’m not sure. Something’s missing. It’s like… I’m kissing my father. I guess that doesn’t make much sense, does it?
MARTY: Believe me. It makes perfect sense. Maybe you got it reversed, but the picture is right.
LORRAINE: What do you think it is?
MARTY: Uh… I don’t know.
LORRAINE: Damn. It seemed too good to be true.
At this point Marty and Lorraine hear footsteps. Marty’s worried because he’s not grabbing at Lorraine right now and the whole plan with George involves him grabbing at Lorraine! ”Should [I] make a quick grab at Lorraine now” he asks himself, and WILL HE MAKE THAT QUICK GRAB? We will find out… LATER I GUESS.
Marty suggests to Lorraine that they sit this dance out, and Lorraine nods, “a seductive smile illuminating her features.” She goes to sit but Marty steers her outside, saying “Outside is better”, and if you want a line that says “let’s go make out”, that certainly is… one of the options you could choose?
ONE PROBLEM: Mr. Strickland is blocking the way!
Mr. Strickland kept a sharp watch for who left the dance area and how long they stayed away. He seemed to have a computer in his headwhich told him exactly who was missing and how long they’d been gone. As a result, Marty and Lorraine had to hang around the entrance, waiting for Strickland to look away before they were able to leave.
After five minutes of waiting around Marty and Lorraine manage to slip into the car (told to us, again, in the most retro way possible, so old-fashioned that it slips around and becomes cool again: “It was ten of nine when they slipped into Doc Brown’s Packard.”)
This page sucks a little because that bit I quoted above is all the Strickland action we get, and the dude never even refer to any of the LITERALLY HUNDREDS of teens present as slackers! And it’s another weird moment in the novelization as I can’t imagine the movie taking five minutes to show Marty and Lorraine waiting around for Strickland to glance away, but whatever, it works Strickland into the story where he otherwise wouldn’t be so I am so down with this!
TRUE FACTS: I am, in fact, always so down for more Strickland action. If someone wants to tell the story from the point of view of Strickland where he borrows the time machine and then follows around Marty and Doc and returns the machine whenever it’s needed just in the nick of time and then he hides behind the curtains and whisper “slackers” at them so you get to see the whole movie from HIS point of view, I would be SO DOWN with that, and I would be ESPECIALLY so down with that if the story then explains why Strickland apparently hasn’t aged any between 1955 and 1985, because TURNS OUT it’s the 1955 Strickland that saw what a slacker Marty is and then discovers Marty’s actually from the 80s so he travels to 1985 Hill Valley and sends the car back to 1955 via the remote control left there by Doc and then he gets a job at 1985 Hill Valley High JUST TO HASSLE MARTY WHICH IS WHY HE’S SUCH A JERK IN THE FIRST SCENE OF THAT MOVIE, HOLY COW IT ALL FITS brb writing some fanfiction now
Inside the car, Lorraine says she’s “almost eighteen” does the “It’s not like I’ve never parked before” line and tells Marty he looks nervous and puts her hand on his leg!