Fictional book

From Academic Kids

A fictional book is a non-existent book (or one created specifically for a work of fiction) that sometimes provides the basis of the plot of a story, or a common thread in a series of books or the works of a particular writer or canon of work.

The Necronomicon in H. P. Lovecraft's books serves as a repository of recondite and evil knowledge in many of his works and the work of others. Despite the evident tongue-in-cheek origin of the book, supposedly written by the "Mad Arab Abdul al-Hazred," who was supposed to have died by being torn apart by an invisible being in an Arab marketplace in broad daylight, many have been led to believe that the book is real.

A large portion of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is a reproduction of portions of the samizdat publication allegedly written by Emmanuel Goldstein and known simply as "The Book", although its actual title is The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.

The story of Phillip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle revolves around another mysterious and forbidden book, written by the title character (Hawthorne Abendsen), named The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. Dick's book describes a alternate history where the Axis Powers were victorious in World War II and the United States has been divided between Japan and Nazi Germany. The book-within-a-book is an alternate history itself, depicting a world in which the Allies won the war but which is nonetheless different to our own world in several important respects. Towards the end of the story, Abendsen admits to writing The Grasshopper Lies Heavy under the direction of the I Ching.

Guillaume Apollinaire's short fiction "L'Hérésiarque" ("The Heresiarch" or "The Heretic") describes two heretical Christian gospels written by the excommunicated Catholic cardinal Benedetto Orfei. Orfei's heresy is that the three figures of the Trinity -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- were incarnate in Jesus' time, and were crucified alongside him. Orfei's first work is The True Gospel, describing the human life of God the Father, an embodiment of virtue about whom little is known. Orfei's second work describes the human life of God the Holy Spirit; the title of this work is not mentioned, but is referred to only as his 'second gospel.' In this 'gospel,' the Holy Spirit is a thief who willfully indulges in all manner of vice, including violating a sleeping virgin who then gives birth to Jesus Christ, or God the Son. Later, both the Holy Spirit and the Father are arrested as thieves and crucified, the latter unjustly. Orfei's heresy is intended to illustrate man's contradictory but coexistent aspects of sinner and martyr.

Fictional books and authors figure prominently in several short stories by the Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. A few of Borges's fictional creations include Herbert Quain (author of April March, The Secret Mirror, etc.), Ts'ui Pen (author of The Garden of Forking Paths), Mir Bahadur Ali (author of The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim), as well as the imaginary Encyclopædia Britannica of the story "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius." Borges's most famous and beloved fictional book, however, is Don Quixote! This Don Quixote is written by the fictional symbolist poet Pierre Menard in Borges's "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote." In this story, Menard undertakes an independent word-by-word and line-by-line recreation of Cervantes's classic novel. The story itself takes the form of a review of Menard's work for a literary journal; though Menard's Quixote is still unfinished, the imaginary reviewer concludes that Menard's circumstances and the intervening history between Cervantes's 16th century Spain and Menard's fictional present produce a Quixote that is more pleasurable to read and deeply richer in meaning: though Menard's Quixote is identical on a word-for-word basis to Cervantes's original, Menard's is superior! This ironic conclusion is often read as a commentary on the nature of accurate translation, but more significantly as an illustration of the manner in which the meaning of a text is determined as much if not more by the reader than the author.

In Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby, the characters are searching for all the remaining copies of the book Poems and Rhymes Around the World, which contains a poem that can kill anyone that it is hears it spoken or thought in their direction.

Bill Watterson placed fictional children's books in his comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, saying that he could never reveal their contents for they were surely more outrageous in the reader's imagination. For several years, Calvin (perpetually six years old) demands that his father read him Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie as a bedtime story. Occasionally, his father's patience snaps and he introduces new variations, which at least reveal what the original story is not: "Do you think the townsfolk will ever find Hamster Huey's head?" In the strip's last year, Calvin announces that the author, Mabel Syrup, has produced a sequel, Commander Coriander Salamander and 'er Singlehander Bellylander.

The comedic courtroom drama My Cousin Vinny features a brief appearance by The Cologne Handbook.

The innersleeve notes to the album Secret Treaties by the band Blue Öyster Cult mention "Rossignol's curious, albeit simply titled book, the Origins of a World War, spoke in terms of secret treaties, drawn up between the Ambassadors from Plutonia and Desdinova the foreign minister. These treaties founded a secret science from the stars. Astronomy. The career of evil." This was probably written by producer Sandy Pearlman.

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