Cracking open JJ Abrams’ puzzling S.?

This is amazing! As of this post, Wikipedia has zero entry for S. the puzzling new novel-and-stuff-in-a-box due out from JJ Abrams and novelist Doug Dorst on Tuesday October 29. If you’re reading this post, a week or so from now, we guarantee that fans will have built a Wikipedia page for it. How about Ship of Theseus? That’s the name of the “used book” inside the Abrams box, called S. Wikipedia only has its long-standing entry for the ancient paradox known as Ship of Theseus, presumably part of the puzzle Abrams is laying out for us. (And,  yes, Abrams has a big Wikipedia entry and Dorst has a mini-bio, as well.)

On Sunday, the New York Times reported on the release, saying in part:

This being Mr. Abrams, “S.” is not a normal book. Inside a black slipcover stamped with the title, there’s an old library edition of a novel titled “Ship of Theseus,” published in 1949 by a certain V. M. Straka. The author and novel are the fictional creations of Mr. Abrams and Mr. Dorst, but the book’s edge-worn spine, labeled with a faded Dewey decimal sticker, is scuffed, and its corners dented. In used-book selling parlance, the condition of “Ship of Theseus” might be rated “good,” were it not for the tens of thousands of words tattooed in the margins of its yellowed pages by at least two different hands, both in pencil-lead gray and a riot of inks: black, blue, red, orange, purple and green.

Tucked among the pages, readers will find handwritten letters and notes, a college newspaper clipping, a purple mimeographed telegram, photocopied book pages, postcards, an old photograph, a map scrawled on a coffee shop napkin, and even a throwback decoder ring.

PLEASE, we’d love to hear from you when S. lands in your hands. What do you think?

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  1. I just signed the book out of the library. I was intreuged by the writing in the margins and all of the other stuff crammed into the book.

    I do have a question thought; should I read the book and the margins together or separately???

    • Jane Wells

      I read it all at once. The margin notes, although they look random, are linear and are tied into the story line.

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