J.J. Abrams’ Stranger Mystery Project Could Be The Upcoming Novel S.

By David Wharton | 8 years ago

Yesterday J.J. Abrams unleashed a mysterious teaser video onto the interwebs. That’s hardly unexplored territory for a guy who loves mystery and obfuscation, but it caught many by surprise simply because, based on his packed schedule with Star Wars: Episode VII and his assorted TV projects, it was hard to believe the guy had time for anything else. Now it looks like the mystery of Abrams’ “Stranger” video has already been cracked, and no, it’s not a new Lost spinoff.

Before we go any further, let’s revisit that oh-so-intriguing teaser video:

OooOOOOoooooh, spooky. Nick pointed out several possibilities for what Abrams’ “Stranger” could be yesterday, from a new TV series to that Rod Serling-based miniseries we reported on a while back. But the folks at Bleeding Cool make a pretty solid case that the Stranger video is instead teasing the upcoming book S., written by Doug Dorst and based on a story by Abrams. As is typical with many Abrams projects, however, S. isn’t nearly as straightforward as your average novel.

Abrams and Dorst’s S. was first announced way back in 2011, when the New York Times reported on the existence of the project, the involvement of Abrams and Dorst, and not much else. At the time, they didn’t even have a title available, just that it was scheduled for fall 2012 from publisher Little, Brown. Obviously the book now revealed as S. missed that window, but given Abrams’ schedule, that isn’t surprising at all.

A bit more info became available this past May, when Little, Brown editor Joshua Kendall confirmed the title at the Book Bloggers Conference. More interestingly, he also revealed that the book would involve “20 to 22 pieces of ephemera in the ‘real world.’” What the hell does that mean? Perhaps these items will have their locations hinted at within the book itself, and will reveal or tie into the narrative within the book. I’m thinking a mix between a traditional novel and a scavenger hunt. It’s precisely the sort of crazy, metafictional thing Lost did so well with its real fake books such as Bad Twin or its numerous alternate reality games.

Little, Brown confirms that S. will be releasing on October 29, which would make sense with the timing of this week’s cryptic teaster video. The publisher’s website describes S. like so:

At the core of this multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure is a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds—through the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that bring this tale vividly to life.

At the Book Bloggers Convention, Kendall handed out mysterious postcards from Brazil…


…which had the following written on the reverse…


The cards were also identified as “The first clue to the mystery of S.”


And as the folks at Bleeding Cool point out, the font on the postcard blurb sure does look like the same font on the Stranger video.


Looks to me like the mystery is solved. Okay, it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, but it definitely seems like Stranger video is pointing toward the release of S. What do you think? Are you intrigued by S. or would you have preferred if the video were teasing a new Abrams TV or film project?