HEADS UP: this whole scene with Doc is not in the movie. So as movie viewers, WHAT DID WE MISS??
Well, it’s mostly Doc thinking to himself, about… himself. He’s reminding himself of who he is and how he got wherever he is right now! We each do that each morning right?
"Well, Ryan, as you know, the internet is a vast global telecommunication network upon which you post comics of talking dinosaurs, and this pays your bills. Your entire life is improbable."
-Me, each morning
WRITING TIP: this sort of thing is done when a writer wants to dump backstory on the reader. In terms of bad writingness (see what I did there? Talk about bad writing and then use the bad term “bad writingness”? thank you thank you I’m here all week) it’s not as bad as the “Excuse me Professor, but could you explain about yourself / the invention / some plot point” that I loved (to wince at) in The Da Vinci Code, and while it’s awkward, the obvious alternative (talking OUT LOUD to someone else about yourself) can be just as clunky. If you’re not careful when you go down that route, you end up with the X-Men explaining their powers to each other 24/7:
WOLVERINE: My indestructible adamantium claws will tear through this steel door like a knife through butter!
CYCLOPS: And if that fails, an optic blast from my strange mutant eyes should do the trick!!
WOLVERINE: I agree, bub.
- Every X-Men comic I read growing up
So anyway Doc reminds himself that he’s got lots of clocks and THAT’S NO ACCIDENT, because he’s doing experiments with time: travelling through it, to be precise!
And we all know he’s doing that because we’ve seen the movie and we’ve read the (abbreviated) title of this book, “Back To The Future”, which tells us probably at some point there will be a future that is returned to — but even so, it’s interesting how casually this idea of time travel is introduced to the reader. Doc’s like, “Yeah, I’m working on a time machine and it’s no bigs”, but if you’d somehow started reading the book without knowing what it was you’d freak out. Anyway!
Doc reminds himself of his past failed experiments leading up to this one, and we’re lucky because the English language I’m writing this in has a word that describes them perfectly: insane! They include:
Doc then tells himself the story about when he explained his theory of time to a newspaper (“It’s like the skin of an orange. A change in the texture at any point will be felt over the entire skin.”) (DID YOU KNOW: this is the worst explanation / metaphor for “the past changes the present” I have ever seen. Why is it presented in terms of “texture” of a point on the orange? Oranges don’t even work that way! You gloss over it and think “yeah that makes sense” because you know what he’s going for but then you re-read it for your crazy B^F review blog and you think “wait wait, what??”). Then Doc fixes his hair and checks out his DeLorean:
…the sleek stainless steel DeLorean with its gull wings shone back at him like a giant Christmas tree ornament. How appropriate, he thought, that the vehicle which would propel mankind into the past and future should be such an extraordinarily beautiful piece of machinery. There was no doubt in his mind as he closed the doors.
"It will work," he said softly. "And I’ll be famous."
In honour of this page, I have composed a poem:
Book Doc is concerned with fame,
"I’ll be famous," he proclaimed,
"All will know my family name",
Yo Doc, pretty sure this is lame