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Home » Books & writing

A Peek Inside J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S.

Submitted by on October 29, 2013 – 8:15 am 3 Comments

Some of you may have heard about the book called S. that J.J. Abrams collaborated on with Doug Dorst. Abrams came up with the idea and Dorst wrote it.

According to the press release, Abrams saw an abandoned book at the Los Angeles International Airport with a note inside asking the book’s finder to simply enjoy it and leave it somewhere for someone else. It sparked in the filmmaker the idea to do a book project that involves “two strangers connecting through a book.”

The result is this gorgeous tome, out today, that’s more than just a book. There’s the novel itself, called Ship of Theseus, written by a fictional author named V. M. Straka. Then there’s the story that unfolds in the margins, via notes and letters and other pull-out elements that two college students, Jennifer and Eric, leave for each other in the book as they try to solve the mystery of Straka’s life and work.

I haven’t read this yet—it was embargoed and only came out today—but it’s so beautiful I had to share some pictures of the contents.

It came in a sleeve with a seal. (The sleeve is black; the lighting makes it look lighter.)


It’s made to look like a library book.


It was first checked out on Oct. 6, 1957, and last on Oct. 14, 2000. That’s a decoder wheel.


Between the pages you’ll find all kinds of inserts, such as a newspaper article and a telegram…


…and postcards (with writing on the back)…


…and old photos…


…and letters from Eric to Jennifer…


…and from her to him…


…even a hand-drawn map on a napkin from a place called Pronghorn Java.


As you can see, the pages and items have been aged to look like an old book holding old artifacts. The whole thing reminds me of Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine series from the ’90s, which I loved.

Just flipping through the book and discovering these things tucked inside was exciting enough. I’m looking forward to digging into this treasure on all the different levels. S. is also available as an eBook and audiobook, but I don’t think reading this book would be as fun without the tactile experience.

Anyone else excited about this?

Amazon | IndieBound

Official trailer:



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