25 April 2011

Fictional Guidebooks

One of these books does not exist at all, two are imaginary books from movies and only exist because they have been subsequently published and one is a regularly published book.
Well done if you spot them all correctly.


Handbook for the Recently Deceased
is the book seen in the movie 'Beetlejuice'. It is used by the dead couple (killed in a Volvo crash) who haunt their old house. A movie memorable for the performances of Michael Keaton as Betelgeuse and Winona Ryder as the beautiful young Goth who is able to see the dead couple. Versions of this handbook have actually been published, possibly several, and it is not valuable.

The Traveller's Guide from Death to Life is a real book. I photographed the cover then gave it away so I am not sure what it is about. I suspect it is a modern abridged edition of the 100 year old book by Mrs. Menzies published by the British Gospel Book Association. There have been many editions. It appears to use travel as a simile for the life of salvation:
"...As the railway passenger finds the line laid, the stations built, the ticket printed, the train ready for him, and he has only to present the price named for his ticket; so in the journey to heaven, all is done for him even to the price of his ticket, which he has but to ACCEPT as a free gift from God to him, and his Salvation is perfectly secure."
The book is rare in this edition but probably of modest value. The cover is enigmatic. Who are these ramblers and why is the young woman resting her foot on a rock? My theory is that the world has ended and they are the only ones left alive.

Tobin's Spirit Guide is of course the fictional guide book from the movie 'Ghostbusters'. It provides information about miscellaneous ghosts, spirits, spectres, demons, deities, etc.and is used by the ghostbusters to look up the history, strength and weaknesses of supernatural beings. A useful book that has spawned several terrestrial books. It can be bought for £20 or less but there are copies (print on demand) at £800+ with outfits like Aphrohead and Quarter Melon.

The Orange Catholic Bible has nothing to do with the protestant Ulster order but is a fictional book from Frank Herbert's Dune. Created in the wake of the crusade against thinking machines known as the Butlerian Jihad, the Orange Catholic Bible is the key religious text in the Dune universe and is described thus in the glossary of the 1965 novel:
ORANGE CATHOLIC BIBLE: the "Accumulated Book," the religious text produced by the Commission of Ecumenical Translators. It contains elements of most ancient religions, including the Maometh Saari, Mahayana Christianity, Zensunni Catholicism and Buddislamic traditions. Its supreme commandment is considered to be: "Thou shalt not disfigure the soul."
As fas as I know it has never been published but I found this mocked up image at the Naomi Bardoff blog (thanks) which is related to the Invisible Library.
Last word from the Dune bible: 'Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man's mind.' Tell that to them in the valley...


Jay Robert Nash said...

Got 3 out of 4. Never got the Dune thing. I will give it another go. Thanks for a great post.

Leo Ladenson said...

Ghostbusters was directed by Ivan Reitman.