B^F in Hebrew; Back to the Future: Am I Being Serious Right Now??

Dear Ryan North,

I am avidly following your excellent B^F novelization review blog. I was hoping to read along while also not actually paying for the book, so I checked the Harvard library catalog (I am a graduate student). Unsurprisingly in the bizarro-world that apparently surrounds this novelization, it was available only in Hebrew translation.

My search also returned over 100 other results - almost all academic books and articles that have nothing to do with the films, but use the title as a hilarious counterpoint to the completely serious topic being discussed. Here is a selection:


Book Back to the future : prophecy and the worlds of the T’ui-pei-t’u / Chin-Bing, Noreen Mei-lan. 1990. » Save or tag… 5.

Book Back to the future : re-designing our landscapes with form, place & density. Vancouver : Urban Development Institute, Pacific Region, 1993. » Save or tag… 6.

Book Back to the future : toward a post-nuclear ethic - the new logic of nonproliferation / Manning, Robert A. Washinton, D.C. : Progressive Foundation, [1994] » Save or tag… 7.

Book Back to the future : the Protestants and a united Ireland / Bell, J. Bowyer, 1931- Dublin, Ireland : Poolbeg, 1996. » Save or tag… 8.

Book Back to the future : a survey of essential information regarding hydrocarbons vs. HCFC-141b and HFC-134a in domestic refrigerators : Greenpeace report / Maté, John. [Washington, D.C.] : Greenpeace, 1994. » Save or tag… 9.

Book Back to the future : urgent issues for the men and women of Australia / Summers, Anne, 1945- [Melbourne] : ACTU, [1997] » Save or tag…


Book Back to the future : reclaiming America’s constitutional heritage / Evans, James R. (James Robert), 1924- Ottawa, Ill. : Jameson Books, c1997. » Save or tag… 11.

Book Back to the future : high multiples return to consumer growth stocks / Shulman, David G. [New York] : Salomon Brothers, 1995 » Save or tag… 12.

Book Back to the future : postwar reconstruction and stabilization in Lebanon / Washington, DC : International Monetary Fund, 1999. » Save or tag… 13.

Book “Back to the future" : towards an aesthetic theory of Bengt Hambræus / Broman, Per F. Göteborg : Göteborgs Universitet, Avdelningen för Musikvetenskap, c1999. » Save or tag… 14.

Book Back to the future : leveraging past successes to shape the new millennium / Harvard Business School. African-American Student Union. Annual Career/Alumni Conference (27th : 1999 : Boston, Mass.) [Boston : Harvard Business School African-American Student Union, 1999] » Save or tag… 15.

Book Back to the future : thoughts on the political economy of expanding state ownership in Russia / Tompson, William J. Paris : CERI, 2008. » Save or tag… 18.

Book Back to the future : roots of commodity trade in India : a study of the archaeological, literary, and inscriptional sources (circa 7000 BCE to 1800 CE) / Shah, Jignesh. Mumbai : Takshashila Academia of Economic Research, c2009. » Save or tag… 19.

Book Back to the future : Israeli literature of the 1980s and 1990s / Abramovich, Dvir. Newcastle upon Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. » Save or tag…

Could this last one be ABOUT the Hebrew translation??

In conclusion, thank you for your review blog, it is basically the best thing on the internet.



This is a super short one! I don’t particularly mind that the entries are of differing lengths. After all, it’s not like there’s going to be the same amount of material to cover on every page. So fair play Ryan.

He’s looking at the start of Page 4 here. This opens with a description of Marty. It reads

the infuriatingly good-looking face framed by medium-length brown hair simply stared 

Writes Ryan, "Oh, Mr. Gipe, I think we can all agree there’s nothing simple about it." I’m afraid I’m not quite clear what the implication is here. If anyone can explain the joke - please let me know!

So yeah, not a particularly exciting one to be reviewing. But there’s some great stuff coming up, with the beginnings of Ryan’s obsessions with MR STRICKLAND.


So of course this entry starts out with more Strickland. Just because Ryan is completely and utterly obsessed. It’s not even funny at this point. Is this how the rest of the blog is just going to go? Ryan posting about Strickland and me becoming increasingly annoyed? I really hope not.

I really like Ryan’s notes about how 

The gig, innocent or evil, would not be attended by McFly this afternoon.

is a HELLA WEIRD line, because c’mon Gipe what’s that even supposed to mean? What is this spectrum of innocent and evil upon which all gigs lie? Is it like a binary thing where you are absolutely one or the other, because they don’t even really seem like absolute opposites. OLD MAN GIPE STRIKES AGAIN.

Ryan of course forgives Strickland for not being down with coolkid slang. This comes as absolutely no surprise. For Ryan, Strickland can do no wrong.

There’s a great line from Gipe where Marty has to make up an excuse about his parents, and he opts for

They were in a car accident about ten years.

Yup, this line isn’t even finished! And it’s still in the book. Ryan’s confusion at this is a genuine laugh out loud moment.

Strickland replies to this in classic Strickland style with a “curt”

Bull droppings!  

And Ryan leads us out in similar curt style with Anyway the page is over

I suppose that means I should finish in kind here then.



Ryan starts out by adding extra emphasis to the original source text. I guess I’m ok with that, as it makes it a lot funnier. But it means we can’t consider Ryan a Gipe-purist.

It also allows me to do this:

I added the emphasis there because somehow it wasn’t already added in the book?  For some reason?

See how I added my own emphasis there? I think it really improves this section of the text.

Yet MORE Strickland love follows. Wow, this book really centres on the whole Strickland guy - I barely recall him from the movies at all.

There’s a funny bit of discussion around how Marty and Doc argue pointlessly about what time to meet at the Twin Pine Mall. Some actually really decent literary analysis here (a FIRST for Ryan?!), so good job on this.

We round off with even more Strickland! 

He licked his lips.

Ok that is a decidedly creepy line.



By the way, if you can think of better titles for these things than just numbers let me know because I SURE CAN’T.

Anyway, today Ryan lets us know that via a fan confirmation, it turns out that a “school disciplinarian” is a real thing. Not just a thing from the movies.

But like we totally knew that already, right? C’mon right - get back to the book already!

In the words of Strickland himself: QUIT SLACKING!


Right out of the gate this starts with yet more Strickland adoration. Because why not? <3 He even compares him to Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller, which is a fair enough comparison. Yay for mean 80s disciplinarians! 

We then have Marty shouting “Doc!” for the first time, which is a bit of a landmark moment. But more importantly, this sees the beginning of Ryan’s counting of things! (“DOC COUNT: 1”)

Of course, this can only mean one thing - starting a counter of our own.


Expect this number to rocket up as we go through Ryan’s blogs. It’s one of the very best things about the blog, really. 

There’s like two more paragraphs of Strickland loving, before Ryan closes with just

I <3 Mr. Strickland

We know, Ryan, we get it already!


This isn’t a proper entry in the blog, as Ryan isn’t really reviewing Gipe’s book. But diversions are FUN! And this definitely still counts. Let’s check it out anyway.

In this post, a fan gets in touch to say that he has a portugese copy of the book and it’s just as wacky. Writes Ryan,

Against all odds, this tumblr has somehow become… EDUCATIONAL??

I’d love if the same thing could happen with this blog. However, I understand that the odds of this happening are very low since it’s so far removed from any kind of source material.


*refreshes inbox constantly* 


Finally, some plot is happening! I’m totally sharing Ryan’s joy about this. So far we’ve just had clunky character descriptions and weird as hell nuclear explosions. So here we go!

“No!  Don’t let it be that!” is a great weird Marty moment. This is kind of a character Ryan extracts from the Gipe novel, that is diametrically opposed to the cool 80s dude of the Movie Marty. This is like the first instance of Book Marty popping up, so it’s worth noting here!

There’s even MORE weird writing stuff going on (because of course there is) and then it finally happens.


Ryan like LOVES Strickland. I don’t really get why - the character always annoyed me in the movies. I guess there’s just a combination of a unrelenting disciplinary figure with a bald head and a bad attitude that Ryan finds especially endearing. 

Can I just say again how much I love Mr. Strickland?  He is a strict guy whose name sounds like Mr. Strict Land.  His entire role in the films is to roam the land and be strict.  You guys, he is basically the best?

Here Ryan is explicitly communicating with us, the reader, and asking us to weigh in on Strickland ourselves. Look, he is asking, how could you possibly not love this guy?

Let’s just go along with the Strickland love for now though. If anything, I find Ryan’s affection incredibly sweet.

I was gonna do a cool photoshop mockup of like Ryan and Strickland in a heart or something. But Valentine’s was literally a week ago. And also I couldn’t really be bothered! So yeah, I’m not gonna do that.

Next up, what can only be described as “more Strickland”!


Ryan actually reviews two pages today. He’s picking up the pace, and that’s just fine. He’s still giving the book a good thorough treatment and picking out the best bits. I mean, like we’d really wanna read a word-by-word analysis, right? (Though that DOES give me an idea for a sequel blog to this one…)

Looks like Gipe has a wacky way of describing Marty here, using such phrases as listening to “stereo rock music.” I love Ryan’s use of “PRO TIP” here. PRO TIP: If you are writer you should also do this because it is legitimately awesome.

Another character gets introduced at this point - Mr Arky. Apparently, he’s only in the book though. I like the fact that this obscure character from BTTF canon has now been immortalised in Ryan’s blog forever now. And also this on blog too! So that’s cool.

Jennifer is apparently an “attractive 17-year-old” which is just writing once again. LOLGIPE.

So there wasn’t much to say today, but there’s some GREAT stuff coming up soon.

3rd post

Hooray, we’ve finally reached page one of the actual book Ryan’s reading!

He wonders what the best way would be to open a novel of BTTF. Before realising that NOPE, crazy ol’ Gipe doesn’t have anything like that in mind, As Ryan says,

The correct answer is to KILL EVERYBODY.

So the opening paragraph of that book is like some super horrible graphic description of an explosion. Ryan’s reaction - HAH HAH HAH WHAT - pretty much sums it up perfectly.

Then there’s a somewhat gratuitous picture picture of a nuclear explosion that doesn’t really add anything. Like, i know what an explosion looks like dude!

Ryan then comments how odd this is, because explosions never get referenced in the book like ever again. Which is a fair enough point. But should that necessarily be a criticism? Explosions are awesome.

There’s a great Dinosaur Comic that discusses this very idea [explosions as punctuation]. So clearly Ryan is up for it!

He admits this is probably in there due to early script stuff that didn’t make the cut. Sounds fair enough to me.

I hope you guys are still finding this interesting, as we’ve got a long long way to go! 

Tomorrow, we meet Marty!

2nd post

Today Ryan writes about the wacky cover of SSP:BTTF:ARZF:TNBGGBOASBRZABG.

He begins,

The cover uses an off-model version of the logo

I like that Ryan just happens to be able to notice that. I don’t think I’m so into anything that I’d be able to identify by sight alone that it was off-model. I mean, the BTTF logo in the pic looks just fine to me. But what do I know, eh?

I wouldn’t quibble with this except the phrase “high-spirited” sounds like your grandfather wrote it, and “modern teenager” doesn’t help matters

Here, Ryan is subtly setting up something that will become one of the main themes of BTOTHEF, namely WACKY OLD MAN GIPE SHENANIGANS.

We’re not even into the first page of the book yet and Ryan’s established that it’s mad as hell. And it’s only going to get weirder.

Coming up next, the FIRST PAGE and NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST.

1st Post

So off we go! This is the first page we’ll book looking at.

For the record, I’m going to go by strictly what’s in each Tumblr post, rather than in the e-book version. This is mostly just because it’s easier to link to and things, but also because pages differ on e-books depending on your font size and so on. So if you’re reading along, click the link above to join in!

Here, Ryan explains the history of his copy of BTTF: The Novel. It belonged to his brother-in-law. Exactly how his brother-in-law came into possession of this book remains a mystery, but it doesn’t matter really because the book is HELLA NUTS.

There’s a tragic bit here about how the author, George Gipe, was “stung to death by bees” (this can happen, Ryan adds solemnly). A bizarre death for the author of an absurd piece of writing.

Ryan is, of course, still with us, but perhaps we can take a moment to speculate how he might meet his demise. The in-canon ending for Ryan has him flying into the sun to protect his intellectual property, which seems about as likely as anything.

North notes that the full title of the book is “Steven Spielberg Presents: Back To The Future: A Robert Zemeckis Film: The Novel by George Gipe based on a screenplay by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale” which abbreviates nicely to SSP:BTTF:ARZF:TNBGGBOASBRZABG. Since this blog is a Richard Cook Review Of Ryan North’s Review Of SSP:BTTF:ARZF:TNBGGBOASBRZABG I guess I should have called this blog ARCRORNROSSP:BTTF:ARZF:TNBGGBOASBRZABG?

To be honest, I’m considering it. But I reckoned BTOTHEBTOTHEF was long enough already…