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)
"Next Saturday night, we’re sending you back to the future - with a bang! This calls for a toast.”
Doc says, busting out the title drop AND some glasses. Marty is down for drinking, but they’re toasting with water and doesn’t Doc know that if you toast someone with water they’re doomed to a watery grave?? Or… or maybe he DOES know?
"To me! To you! To Ben Franklin! And to your girlfriend for writing this note."
"I’ll drink to all of that," Marty agreed.
They drank silently.
"Yeah, Jennifer’s really great," Marty smiled.
Haha I love Book Marty for being so awkward here. First he shows pervy Doc her picture and then he brings the conversation around to her again. Looking for authority-figure approval of your lady friend, Marty?? Doc already said that she’s “not bad”: what more do you want??
Anyway Doc does his “you’ll have to stay here to prevent serious repercussions to the future” bit and we get some patented Gipe “quotes” (“[Marty] didn’t really accept Doc Brown’s notion that he was such a ‘threat’ to society”) but all the good stuff is on the next page so HERE WE GO (IN ABOUT 24 HOURS) (THIS POST WILL BE MORE SATISFYING IN THE FUTURE WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT 24 HOURS TO TURN THE PAGE)
OKAY, before we go ahead with today’s pages, I got an email from Drew that speculated that that whole “Doc paints green and feels better" thing was a JOKE added in by Gipe, because Doc had already painted the canvas red, and what does red plus green make? BROWN. Like - like Doc Brown. Hah hah hah oh my god.
You guys, I’m torn between “we are staring too deeply into the abyss and finding patterns that aren’t there” and “oh god OH GOD what if this is true and the book has become SO CRAPPY that my brain is now rejecting it and insisting that there’s got to be some unknowable yet non-crappy explanation for everything within??” and BOTTOM LINE: the abyss stares also, I guess?? I will say this now: if there’s a future scene where Doc sees a fly land on McDonalds burger and nudges Marty McFly and says “Remind you of anyone??” then I am abandoning this blog because GUESS WHAT the words describing that scene are the lyrics to the song you sing to end the Earth.
So! BACK TO THE STORY. Marty doesn’t want to be trapped in 1955, but Doc Red And Green Combined Subtractively says to look on the bright side! He could’ve been sent back to:
But instead he’s here, where we’ve got “3-D movies, hi-fidelity music [we all know how big Marty is into Sound Reproduction], Frank Sinatra, instant coffee…”
and Marty shoots back that 1985 is awesome because of:
and I love this because Doc says “I don’t even know what you’re talking about” which has got to be true, and also, yay, a Burger King shout out! Then Doc raises a pretty good point, especially for someone during the cold war!
But this time is so much safer. Here, you know there’ll be a 1985. In 1985, do you know there’ll be a 2015?
and it’s a nice moment, ruined in the next moment when Marty says he’s got a girl waiting for him in 1985, and shows Pervy Book Doc (who packed a Playboy to take with him to the future in case there wasn’t anything good to JO with in 2015), and Doc ogles Jennifer and declares her “not bad.”
JENNIFER PARKER: a solid 7 / 10??
Anyway FORESHADOWING AHOY because Marty is basically begging Doc to get 1.21 gigawatts of power and Doc says “The only power source capable of triggering that kind of energy is a bolt of lightning." like in the movie, but of course KEEPS TALKING:
"And not a minor-league bolt, either. It would have to be a real wall-shaker, something big enough to stop a clock.”