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Dust Jackets

Posted by on January 25, 2012

The 1977 film Capricorn One posits a flight to Mars being faked on a film set.  What Dr. Robert Pritchard’s book presupposes is, what if it were a hoax?  What if this movie was, in fact, never filmed, and the true hoax was not the flight to Mars but that someone hoaxed a movie about a fake flight to Mars?  And then, later, it came out that it had only been a hoax that someone had hoaxed the Mars flight hoax, and in fact the movie about the hoaxed Mars flight really was made, except that it was called something else—Damnation Alley perhaps?

Some sinister cabal invented the story of a Hollywood studio making Capricorn One in order to hide the truth, that Damnation Alley was the real film about a hoaxed Mars flight.  Yet today, there are any number of people who believe they have seen the movie, who have fully convincing memories of the movie, who genuinely believe a movie with the name Capricorn One was released in 1977, about a faked flight to Mars, and that Damnation Alley was a film set on a postapocalyptic Earth.  Imagine the shock and horror with which they will greet the news that both of these movies were hoaxes, imagine how confidence in our public institutions will collapse, the monetary system will collapse as people stop accepting paper money, riots will break out in all major cities in the country.  Imagine, then, the relief with which people will greet the news that it was actually this book which was the hoax, that Capricorn One and Damnation Alley were about a faked Mars mission and a postapocalyptic Earth respectively, and not the other way round.

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Robert nodded, but he couldn’t shake off a lurking feeling that there was something he’d forgotten to do, something important.  This is how begins the haunting story of Robert Pritchard, a man rendered amnesiac by an infestation of rare microworms that burrow in the brain.  In the tradition of Beckett, Joyce, and Tristan Shandy, comes the harrowing tale of someone so forgetful that he forgot to write his own autobiographical novel.  Thus you, the reader, will find 300 blank pages following that previously quoted opening sentence, which actually wasn’t even written by the author but was copied out of another book by the writer of this dust jacket blurb.  Beautifully written, achingly evocative, this harrowing exploration of amnesia explores, in exquisite blank pages both marmoreal and lapidary, the nature of the self, of consciousness and memory, in what the New York Times called, “the tour de force of the decade!”


Dust Jacket: History’s Most Seminal Dust Jacket Blurbs is “a triumph!” says Dust Jacket Quarterly: the Magazine of Dust Jackets.  Compiled and edited by the famous blurbist Dr. Robert Pritchard, this book collects such jewels as dust jacket blurbs to the Code of Hammurabi, the Symposium of Plato, the Summa Theologiae, and, most importantly, Gossip Girl 3: All I Want is Everything by Cecily von Ziegesar, in which Serena simultaneously dates superstar Flow and vegan Aaron, while Blair learns her mother is pregnant and must make a life-altering decision about Nate.  Among the fascinating essays are a dissection of quid pro quo blurbing between Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, an analysis of glucose metabolism in the amygdalae and hypothalamus when patients at Dr. Pritchard’s laboratory in Tashkent were exposed to blurbs from I am Number Four (including a statement from Skadden, Arps LLP explaining why he cannot be held legally responsible for their deaths), and a history of blurb compilation books featuring the origins of the blurb compilation book in ancient Mesopotamia, its long dormancy in the Middle Ages when the dust jacket blurb was kept on life support in the form of Post-It Notes stuck to the covers of illuminated manuscripts by the Venerable Bede, its revival in the Renaissance when scholars, with the examples of the great blurbs of classical Greco-Roman antiquity before them, created such masterpieces as blurbs to the sonnets of Petrarch (“Boffo!”) and Dante’s Divine Comedy (“I couldn’t put it down!  Or pick it up, since it’s so heavy!”), and the current post-war Golden Age of Blurbs, when the blurb as its own literary form truly came into its own.  No longer must blurbists cringe when novelists and poets tout their wares, because the blurbist is their equal and more.  Written entirely in the form of an epic dust jacket blurb, this book forms its own incredibly long blurb, a masterful synthesis of form and content that will render this book-blurb an essential component in any subsequent compilation of history’s most seminal dust jacket blurbs.


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