Amidst the worlds of literature, film and other media there are a host of works that simply don’t exist. From novels that sweep the world, textbooks of the strange and wondrous, and instructions on how to do the impossible. Though we may never have access to the miracles within those pages, we get to see their fictitious impact, because words matter.
Here we catalogue the finest works of non-existent prose, poetry, documentation, and scripture. Join us as we list the Top 10 fictional documents.
10) The Book of Spells – Hocus Pocus
Aah, a Halloween cult classic and my all time favourite witch film. Shame we didn’t get more of this amazing film, but you can indeed have too much of a good thing. But the whole film is basically about three witches coming back from the dead and wanting to become young and beautiful. Whilst somewhat successful, they were hampered by some meddling kids… Wait, is this the right film?
So the Spellbook, the Book of Spells, the Book With A Creepy Eye, is actually a huge plot point. The witch trio need their book, whilst the aforementioned meddling kids want to get said book away from the witches. But nevermind all of this nonsense – It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus! Little else to say here, it is just a really creepy, but cool book in a Halloween classic.
9) What I Did On My Holidays – Twoflower
VIVE LA REVOLUTION! – Totally a quote by Twoflower
Okay, let me explain what I mean by that misquoted quote. Twoflower has never said anything even remotely similar to that; he’s just a damn tourist who wanted to document the rather odd things that occurred to him during his time in Ankh-Morpork. Basically, the events of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic are the reasons why this fictional book exists. Twoflower literally had no reason to write it, other than the fact he wanted to document his adventures and talk about the people he met, the places he’d seen and you know, just generally sell a book about his holiday. Wouldn’t we all like to write about our trips to Skegness and make some good money off it?
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Twoflower is such a naive little man, that he really didn’t know that the Agatean Empire really didn’t want people to care about it. In fact, they made the book illegal to buy, as it detailed his adventures in such vivid imagery. Twoflower then, was really a creative spark, which stopped an oppressive regime… All because he really didn’t think anything more of it, than “this is my holiday”. There were underground group who printed this book, which really was the start of real change in the Agatean Empire. Twoflower then, is really just a secret rebel. Down with the empire, man!
8) Enchiridion – Adventure Time
The MacGuffin of Adventure Time has some solid basing in real life, the Enchiridion of Epictetus is a manual of stoicism and ethics, translated into the land of Ooo as a combined spellbook and manual of heroism. It is given to a hero who’s heart is righteous so that they might be made a more powerful defender of the innocent, but it has a darker side too.
When combined with the jewels held across the world by powerful but oddly specific entities (like Engagement Ring Princess) the book holds spells capable of global devastation, portals to other parallel universes, and travel through time itself. At the end of Adventure Time, the Enchiridion is one that has been stolen from another dimension where it was being hideously misused.
7) Book of Vile Darkness – Dungeons & Dragons
This artifact may very well be one of the most influential and infamous in D&D history, beyond even the severed body parts of Vecna, or the skull tipped Wand of Orcus. The title is shared with source books that go into detail on the nature of evil in the many worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, and the third film which follows a noble hero concealing himself amongst a team of villains in order to reclaim his god, but the book itself…
For a player of evil intentions it is an invaluable companion, detailing all the many ways they might indulge their darkest ambitions, and perhaps even raising a few new goals they might aspire to in the future. For those of noble heart the book is anathema, painful to so much as hold, draining them of their resolve until they give in to the terrible text. Words have power, and you can to.
6) Mister Babadook – The Babadook
“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look… you can’t get rid of the Babadook”
A simple children’s book, a pop-up with a rather remarkable star, the top hatted shadow with the smiling face, the Babadook. The Australian horror is an allegory of grief, denial gives the bogeyman strength, it drives you to fits of rage, before feeding that rage with a little of it’s own power, with that the victim simply gives in to the monster’s power. And the book is right, that he will never go away…
But if you can accept the monster born of poetry, then you can overwhelm and overpower him, reducing him to an angry little pet. You can’t get rid of the Babadook, but you can find a place for him. Better not be on a bookshelf though.
5) How I Did It – Young Frankenstein
All around a funny film, even though it was also somewhat series, Young Frankenstein depicts a, well, young Doctor Frankenstein. Featuring Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, this film is all around amusing and it even knew how to have a laugh at the expense of the original… Without actually really embarrassing the originals too much. See, whilst you can have a laugh at the works your work derives, you shouldn’t ever make it look like a laughing-stock. So, whilst in the original there were untitled books about how to create Frankensteins monster, for Young Frankenstein there was a book…
… And that book was called “How I Did It”. See, in the film, Viktor Frankenstein finds this book written by his uncle, which documents how he reanimated the dead. Amusingly, this book was turned into a real book as well, but it’s mostly funny because of how aptly named it was. I mean, if you knew there was a book lying around, written by the man you are trying to replicate, that was called “How I Did It”, you’d better damn well read it. Even more amusing though, having read a Good Reads page on the real life book, the top comment just simply says “It…. Could…. Work!” Marvellous.
Whilst the above video doesn’t really do much to explain this entry… You can at least enjoy the comedy gold of Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks.
4) Sokovia Accords/Hero Registration Act – Marvel
Perhaps the only non-book document on this list, it’s effectively paperwork, a petition, but it’s a piece of inbox-litter that started one of the most heartbreaking conflicts in the Marvel Universe, both on page and on-screen. Whatever name you place upon it, and whichever pivotal event caused it to be drafted, this is the legal document that divided the super-community, called for the registration and cataloguing of all empowered entities on Earth.
Tony Stark started his crusade as the Iron Man in a bid to remove dangerous weapons from the world, and agrees with the idea that the world’s most dangerous people are known and documented. Steve Rogers watched “documented”, registered, and separated people rounded up and butchered for being different, and refused the very idea. A simple piece of legislature that caused a dangerous conflict that threatened to drive the noble heroes of the Marvel Universe.
3) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
A textbook barely referenced in fleeting moments of a leviathan book series with some far more fascinating details, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander is a simple zoological study of creatures who could only have evolved or been created in a world subjected to high levels of magic. A slim volume was released to raise money for charity (alongside Quidditch Through the Ages) back in 2001, featuring a handful of interesting animals that lend a depth to the HP Universe that set it apart from many a fantasy world.
And yet, so simple a book led to a full theatrical release starring Eddie Redmayne, Oscar Winner but also in Jupiter Ascending. Perhaps it’s testament to the amazingly rich fantasy of the world, but the throwaway detail has been transformed into a worldwide theatrical release with plans for a series in the works. Although I admit I’m not hoping for a film based on Quidditch Through the Ages.
2) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
If you’re aware of the Hitch-Hikers Guide to Europe, you’ve encountered the inspiration for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Whilst you may, understandably, be thinking of the book, or the film by the same name, the fact of the matter is that the events in the books are actually based around the in-story encyclopedia of the same name. In other words, whilst you have The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as the name of the film and book, it’s also the name of the travel guide, which gives lots of useful information to exploring the galaxy.
Known as the “Standard repository for all knowledge and wisdom”, this electronic travel book is what narrates us through the story. Interestingly, perhaps somewhat astonishingly, Douglas Adams was a man who was into computer technologies, so he created the website h2g2, which is basically the HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy for real. In other words, he created Wikipedia back in 1999, without creating Wikipedia itself. h2g2 is a website, which still exists today.
1) Necronomicon – Lovecraft and/or Evil Dead
It seems like there is a “book of the dead” in every dark fantasy, born of the original collection of written works that aid the spirits of fallen Egyptians through the land of the dead. H.P. Lovecraft perhaps redefined the nature of the tome with the Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, a text whose words we never actually read in his collected works, probably for the best as the book causes insanity, as terrible truths become apparent to the reader.
Necronomicon’s catalogue of spells may very well be what causes the dead to rise, possessed by vindictive and angry forces, very Herbert West. The Reanimator series seems exactly the inspiration for the extended suffering of Ash Campbell at the hands of one of history’s best zombie series. The Necronomicon is available in the real world as a compendium of H.P. Lovecraft’s best and/or most famous pieces of prose and poetry. Bit of a good job it’s not the real thing…
We’ve gone from cover to cover and yet there’s still so much left to read. This epic is not entirely done, and while the bulk of this work is done, we round off with a veritable epilogue of honourable mentions.
Naughty & Nice List – Santa
See, this list is a document that is compiled all year, every year, without fail… Unless the Grinch has something to say about it. Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, or jolly ol’ Saint Nick, is a man who does all he can to ensure the good are rewarded for being good and the bad are punished with a black sooty substance called coal! Goodness knows why specifically coal, but there we go.
So Father Christmas’ list is a well-known document, but the problem is he’s got to make it every year. As such, there’s no hard documents per se, not one that reminds us of previous years. Saint Clausmas is just really good at remembering if you ate your broccoli on Tuesday or if you were a naughty little scamp!
The journal in Death Note is memorable in that it’s the entire plot device of the show. The anime and manga series is even literally named about it! Someone gets the journal, writes a name and a way of killing someone and boom, they are killed in the way described by the journal. Simple really, but no matter how often you scribble in your own little notebook, it seriously wouldn’t happen… or would it..?
Joel dies through too many words. Just too many words. On Saturday 06/05/2017.
It didn’t work did it? Ah well, that’s why this is an Honourable Mention. Similar to young Saint Santa Nick, this list gets compiled throughout the series. As such, it’s not really a hard document, but by the time you finish reading or watching the series, it becomes damning evidence of you being up to no good, that’s for sure! Now let us never talk of me trying to off my colleague in such a simple, pretty inefficient way. If only we were a manga series.
[Edit] Joel: Wait… what?
The End. Finito. We’re done. Much like a highly important document, there has to be a tidy conclusion and we believe our number one choice is the definitive in fictional documents. Sure, it might not be pleasant, per se, but rarely is a document written with the intent to leave the reader smitten. If anything, it’s rather nice when people write nice documents – We’re looking at you Twoflower, you insane tourist. If you have enjoyed this work, please choose which of these GeekOut South-West publications you would like to add to your reading list from the titles below:
Which of these would you love to see in your library? Are there any fictional texts we should have listed but we just didn’t? Do you agree with the order of our list this week, or did we drop the ball on a really famous fictional document? Do you think that the Hero Registration Act should have been included, or do you think there are better choices out there? Should we have put in any other fictional texts, or did we fill this criteria well enough for your reading needs? Were there any you didn’t even know about? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.