By Marty Mulrooney
Back In Time: The Unauthorised Back To The Future Chronology by Greg Mitchell and Rich Handley offers a detailed history of the Back to the Future mythos throughout the ages. A follow-up to A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back To The Future Lexicon (which Alternative Magazine Online positively reviewed earlier this year), this companion tome provides the complete history of Hill Valley’s complex timelines, ‘as presented in the films, cartoons, novels, comics, video games, card game and even McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes.’
Thank you all for picking up the book. I hope you find it as illuminating as I did while writing, and not nearly as stressful.
Introduction by Greg Mitchell
It was more than obvious that A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back To The Future Lexicon by Rich Handley was written by a huge Back To The Future fan, and this follow-up (written by Greg Mitchell and Rich Handley) oozes with equal enthusiasm. In lesser hands, such a book could be dry to the point of becoming dusty – instead, it’s a treasure trove of trivia and facts, painstakingly researched and strongly presented. Both the staunch and casual fan will find much to enjoy here, with content that spans far beyond the core film trilogy. To give some idea of the scope of ‘Chronology’, Chapter I is titled ‘Prehistory to 1 B.C’ and Chapter XV is titled ‘2015 A.D. and Beyond’!
The information contained within showcases real-life historical events entwined with the rich fictional universe of Back To The Future. The timeline doesn’t attempt to cram everything into a ‘canon’ sequence of events either – oddities, alternative realities and retcons are noted and celebrated. For example, did you know that in the early 1930s Emmet Brown invented an Automatic Flapjack Maker ([RIDE] – Simulator: Back To The Future – The Ride)? Or that Doc Brown had a short-lived superhero alter-ego called Mega Brainman? Out of context, such titbits might not particularly make you want to bite. However, these trivia entries (shown in bold to make it easier to pick them out) always accompany a synopsis of an event that occurred on a certain date. These stories are wonderful, especially for those who never got a chance to watch the animated TV show, or play the Telltale Games episodic video game series etc.
- Earl Hays Publishing Co. publishes Grays Sports Almanac: Complete Sports Statistics 1950-2000, containing the results of five decades’ worth of sporting events. Edited by Paul Grumrine, the book is compiled by Ben Flores, Tom Hoffarth, Sharon Jaeger, Norman Rubinstein and Mickey Bell [BTF2]
NOTE: The almanac’s credits appeared on the actual film prop’s title page. In BTF2’s first-draft screenplay, the book was titled 2015 Sports Almanac: 50 Years of Sports Statistics 1965-2014; in the film’s novelisation, it was called Grey’s Sports Almanac 1950-2000. In reality, Earl Hays is a prop-production firm specializing in mock product design and packaging. The names listed in the book were presumably those of the company’s employees at the time of filming; Tom Hoffarth is still employed there as a sales representative.
The ‘40 breathtaking interior sketches from artist Pat Carbajal, produced exclusively for this volume’ more than live up to their description – they’re stunning, showing scenes from a variety of mediums in a realistic style that matches the original films. For example, it’s great fun to see scenes from the cartoony video games done in a realistic style. One of the best pictures shows the destruction of the DeLorean by a train in Back To The Future Part III – the level of detail, as the car smashes into thousands of pieces, is astonishing.
In short, if you enjoyed A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back To The Future Lexicon (and if you’re a Back To The Future fan and didn’t read it, go and do so now!), you’ll want to check out Back In Time: The Unauthorised Back To The Future Chronology. It might even have a slight edge over its predecessor – it’s a thinner and more concise book and the key code system is slightly less intimidating. What initially comes across as a bit of a hard sell – What’s a chronology? Do I really need to know all of this information about the Back To The Future universe? – soon becomes indispensable and fascinating. An investment that will no doubt pay back dividends over time, this is truly (along with Lexicon) as authoritative as it gets. Well worth your time and investment, both now and far into the future. After all, that’s the power of love!
8.5 OUT OF 10