J.J. Abrams, world’s most productive human, collaborated on an upcoming book called S. Mystery abounds, of course, but now Abrams has explained a little more about the concept behind the story. “To be clear, Doug Dorst is the writer of S,” Abrams reminds the Times.
But working on this project was different from anything I’ve ever been involved in. The multilayered conceit of the thing almost makes it a play interacting with a book. That is, there is the novel itself (“Ship of Theseus”), which stands alone as its own story, and then there are the notes in the margins: a conversation and investigation and mystery and love story between two people, which is both connected to and separate from the central text. Then, there is the editor of the book, who appears in an introduction and in footnotes. So there were many characters and points of view to balance. It felt less like film or TV, and more like concocting something insane and very special. Doug truly outdid himself. As did the publishers. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.
Abrams says he’s a fan of Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Harry Potter, and Chris Ware, but also that his bookshelves are mostly filled with “ridiculous volumes” of magic books, how-to guides, and science texts. “My friend Sarah Vowell once looked at my bookshelves and asked, in that voice of hers, ‘Do you have any chapter books?’” Oh, burn, Sarah Vowell! Apply ice directly to the burn.